Editor's Note: Kevin Thorne, a photographer who regularly contributes to SCR, was looking for photo subjects during the off-season when he visited Clay and Mitchell Stimpson, a father and son team from just outside Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Stimpson family races Street Stocks at several tracks in the area, including quarter-mile Bowman Gray Stadium, billed as the oldest continually running NASCAR track in the nation. We let Kevin's lens and Mitchell Stimpson's words describe the family's racing involvement.
As told to Larry Cothren:
We run at Bowman Gray Stadium, Caraway Speedway, Friendship Motor Speedway, and Ace Speedway. My dad never drove but has always filled the position of car owner. I ran my first race in May of '87. My brothers Lee and Kenneth had been running for a couple of years by then. I had helped them and got the desire to drive. We went to Bowman Gray as kids and when my brothers got interested, it was just a natural progression that I got involved. It's been a family and friend based operation since then, and I am really blessed. Dad is the head wrench, and my brothers and I all have friends that help us. We all try to help each other as much as possible. I couldn't run the way I do without them. I do general maintenance but the major things are left to my crew chief, Timmy Tuttle, and my two uncles, Carl and Paul Davis. My two brothers set the car up. I tell them what I'm looking for from a driver's standpoint and they put it under me.
I have so many people helping us that are hard-core racers. That inspires me to run hard and show them that their work is worthwhile. In addition to the ones I've already mentioned, we have Brian Burnette, David Sumner, Alan Hinkle, Chris Collins, Todd Pegram, Chris and Daniel Schadt, Daren and Dathan Reich and Butner Racing. But my number-one helper and fan is my daughter, Lauren Stimpson. We all live close by one another. I live in Yadkinville. My family lives in Lewisville, and my teammates are from Winston-Salem, Pfafftown and other communities close by.
The old car in the barn is a 1983 Malibu that I drove for Dad when we started. I won rookie of the year in 1991, after moving up a division, and won my first few races in it. My brother Kenneth won the championship in 1988 with it. We plan to restore the Malibu with our original paint scheme, but we will never run it again. It won't take long and Dad will have it looking like it did in the early '90s.
The 1972 Nova, which Dad is standing beside of here, is a locally manufactured chassis we bought from two of the best drivers to runBowman Gray. The car has over 50 feature wins on it. We keep it as ourprimary car to eliminate adjustments and changes. If it works, leave it alone.
The 1979Nova on the right is ourback-up car for Bowman Gray, and it's the car my oldest brother, Lee, won his races in. We have a tendency to keep recycling them and keep them running good. The first three times I drove it I finished with two wins and a second place. Beside the white '79 Nova is the 1999 MonteCarlo, and this is the car we use atother tracks. It, like all of our other cars,is a converted Late Model Stock, which my Dad has re-fitted to accommodate an in-line six-cylinder engine.
I own the '72 Nova and the black '99 Monte Carlo. My dad and mom own all of the other cars. Dad furnishes all of the engines.