Jimmie Lewallen was an American racecar driver from High Point, North Carolina, USA. He completed in NASCAR's Strictly Stock/Grand National division from its first race at Charlotte Speedway in 1949 until 1960.
Lewallen began his racing career in motorcycles in 1934. He switched to racing cars in the late 1930s when he delivered illegal moonshine to other parts of North Carolina. Many early NASCAR drivers were moonshine runners. He raced at a one mile dirt track in High Point, until he went off to war in 1941. He served in the European Theater Operations (ETO) until 1945, including the Battle of Normandy. He was wounded twice and received numerous awards.
He resumed racing after he returned home from the war. Lewallen attended an October 12, 1946 meeting that formed NASCAR. The meeting was held at the Rex Hotel on Peachtree Street in Atlanta Georgia. Around twelve people attended, including Bill France, Sr., Red Vogt, and Raymond Parks. Bill France offered him a chance to "buy into NASCAR" for $500.00 but Lewallen turned him down, saying "it would never amount to anything".
Lewallen raced in NASCAR's first stockcar race at Charlotte Speedway in 1949. He finished sixteenth and earned $25. Lewellan won the Modified championship at Bowman Gray Stadium in 1950. Lewallen drove a second car for Petty Enterprises in 1953 at West Beach Speedway, finishing second in the race behind teammate Lee Petty. He had three consecutive Top 10 finishes in the series points from 1953 until 1955. His best career race finish was second, which he accomplished four times. While Lewallen never won in the Grand National, he won dozens of races in NASCAR's Modified and Sportsman divisions. Lewallen raced for various owners throughout his career. He raced in various divisions until 1975. He helped found the "Old Timer Racing Club". Lewallen died from cancer on October 16, 1995 at a Winston-Salem hospital.
Jimmie Lewallen, Bill Blair and Fred Harb are the subject of the upcoming independent movie "Red Dirt Rising", which is based on the book "Red Dirt Tracks: The Forgotten Heroes of Early Stockcar Racing" by Gail Cauble Gurley.