Michael Lee “Lumpy” Lemke
(8/17/1955 – 02/25/2018)
Michael Lee Lemke, AKA Lumpy, passed away on Sunday, February 25, 2018 after a brief illness surrounded by his family in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He was born on August 17, 1955 to Leroy and Betty Lemke in Shawano, Wisconsin.
Lumpy lived in the Green Bay area all of his life residing in nearby Denmark, Wisconsin where he started his own salvage yard, A-1 Foreign Auto Parts, and was operating it on a daily basis through the early part of his illness.
His passion for cars was more than his business, it was a major part of his life as he became one of the more respected technical directors in short track auto racing not only in the Midwest, but worldwide.
In 1984, he and longtime friend Bob Abitz, broke away from working on race cars to become full-time tech officials at Wisconsin International Raceway in nearby Kaukauna, Wisconsin. Not only did they work on creating a level playing field on the track, but they also came up with many innovations together that is still used in short track racing tech today.
Their work led them to work at many other tracks like Slinger Super Speedway in Slinger, Wisconsin, Madison International Speedway in Oregon, Wisconsin and Lake Geneva Raceway in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
Not only did Lumpy work at various tracks but also was the tech official for the ARTGO, MARS, and ASL series. He also served as a Tech Advisor for ASA Racing.
In 2007, he was part of the group to help create the ARCA Midwest Tour (formerly ASA Midwest Tour), where he has already completed their rules package for its upcoming 12th season. He was the original and only tech director.
His expertise went worldwide on January 31, 2010 when he wrote the rules package and oversaw those rules in the ASA sanctioned Free State 500, the first American style stock car event, at the Phakisa Freeway circuit in Welkom, Free State, South Africa. Along with his duties at the track, he was also able to experience a safari, cuisine, and culture in a once in a lifetime visit.
Along with the ARCA Midwest Tour, he was also serving the same role in the Midwest Truck Series, Norway Speedway in Norway, Michigan, State Park Speedway in Wausau, Wisconsin and Marshfield Motor Speedway in Marshfield, Wisconsin, along with being the lead tech director for the annual Oktoberfest Race Weekend at the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway in West Salem, Wisconsin.
He also served on the ABC Body Committee and helped developed the LST and ACE motors used in asphalt Super Late Model racing. He also worked with other tech directors and promoters advocating a similar rules package for all Super Late Model competitors across the United States and Canada. He has been a featured speaker at the RPM Promoter’s Workshop and partnered with Five Star Race Car Bodies in hosting three Tech Seminars and Promoter Workshops.
Lumpy is survived by his dear parents, Leroy and Betty Lemke of Ocala, FL, brother Steven ( Dar) Lemke Green Bay, brother David (Kathy) Lemke of Green Bay, sister Kim (Dimitri) Lemke/Bourtzakis of Daytona Beach, sister Debbie (Tony) Dailey of Naperville, seven nieces and nephews, Heidi Lemke, Danny Lemke, Josh Lemke, Drew Dailey, Matthew Dailey, Jaime Lemke and Tricia Cottrell, and two great nephews Jaylen, Landon and one great niece Madisyn, as well an outstanding number of Lumpy’s racing family!!
Lumpy will be missed by his family, drivers, teams, promoters, and fans in the racing community. His unique character will forever be engraved in people’s memories for the rest of their lives. With his trademark hats, hairstyle, cigarettes, seven and seven’s, opinions, and common phrases, Lumpy was one of a kind.
Not only will adults remember him, but every child of a driver or crew member that he friended in tech line who he titled as an honorary car owner or crew chief.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, March 9th at Faith Lutheran Church, 2235 S Webster Ave, Green Bay, WI with visitation at 1pm followed by a service at 3pm. A celebration of life party is scheduled for Saturday, March 10th from 12:30-3:30pm at the Radisson Hotel and Casino in Green Bay, WI. Hotel reservations can be made at either the Radisson or Wingate by Wyndham hotels.
The family would like to thank the doctors and staff at St. Vincent Hospital and Unity Hospice for their care and professionalism.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to Unity Hospice in Depere, WI or to the nearest Shriner’s Hospital in your area.
The checkered flag has fallen Lumpy and you have cleared post-life tech into Heaven. As you have always told drivers and teams, “Thank you for coming. Have a nice day!”