About Bill Lester

Up Close with Bill Lester

Birthplace: Washington, D.C.

Residence: Windermere, Florida

Wife: Cheryl

Children: Two sons, William Alexander IV (Alex) and Austin Richard

Degrees Held:
BS in E.E./C.S.
U.C. Berkeley

When Bill Lester was chosen to drive the No. 8 BHR Dodge in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, one of his biggest dreams came true. After years of hard work, he finally got his chance to drive full-time in a NASCAR national touring series.

Bill's path to NASCAR racing fame has been very different from that of most of the drivers that he competes against. Bill earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1984, and used that to join the Hewlett-Packard Company (H-P).

While working for H-P, Bill won the SCCA Series Northern California Region Rookie of the Year title, and the SCCA GT-3 Regional Road Racing Championship in 1985 and 1986 respectively.

Then in 1989, Bill began racing in the International Motor Sports Association's (IMSA) GTO Series and several other sports car series in the United States. He would race just about anything to get track time and a chance to showcase his talents. During the late 1980's to the middle 1990's, Bill amassed four starts in the 24 Hours of Daytona and several starts in the SCCA Trans AM Series.

After many years with the Hewlett-Packard Company as a Project Manager, and racing on the weekends, Bill finally had a long conversation with his wife, Cheryl, and decided to go after his dream of becoming a professional racecar driver. So he quit his job in the high-tech industry, and began concentrating on his dream.

In 1999, Bill got his first big NASCAR chance when he got the opportunity to race at Watkins Glen, New York, in the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series. He had a solid run, starting in the 24th position, and moved into the top ten before finishing 21st after an on-track altercation with another competitor.

Then in 2000, Bill again got the call to drive in a NASCAR Series on a road course; only this time, it was in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. On that day, he started 31st and finished in the 24th position.

Shortly after that run, the doors started opening up for Bill and his career in NASCAR began to take off. His performance that day led to him making five starts for BHR in the Truck Series in 2001, before getting the nod to drive full-time in 2002. Bill raced for BHR for 2 seasons - 2002 and 2003 in the #8 Dodge Ram with Dodge Dealers as his primary sponsor. He completed those 2 seasons ranked 17th and 14th, respectively. This was a phenomenal result given that Bill had never raced on the majority of the tracks at all and was also brand new to oval track racing.

In 2004, Bill signed on with Bill Davis Racing to drive the #22 Tundra as Toyota made it's debut in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. During his 3 years with BDR, Bill amassed numerous top 5 and top 10 finishes and gave Toyota back to back Pole Positions in 2005 at Kansas Speedway and Kentucky Speedway. It was also during this time that Bill landed on the cover of Black Enterprise magazine and filmed his first TV commercial to promote the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. But Bill's most significant achievement to date was making his NASCAR Nextel Cup debut in 2006. Driving for Bill Davis Racing, he raced at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March and Michigan International Speedway in June.

2007 brought Bill a new opportunity driving for Billy Ballew Motorsports and his Chevrolet Silverado team. Expectations were high and Bill was anxious to get his first NASCAR win firmly believing that together with BBM, they could accomplish this goal. What was not anticipated were the financial shortcomings that the program experienced. Adequate sponsorship failed to materialize and 15 races into the season, the quest ended.

Disenchanted with the financial obligations required of racing in NASCAR, Bill returned to his sports car racing roots in 2008. He joined forces with the Rolex Daytona Prototype (DP) team of Southard Motorsports, based out of Powell, Ohio. Partnered behind the wheel of a Lexus/Riley with sports car star Shane Lewis, the team finished 16th in points despite not competing in every round of the championship.

In 2009, Bill joined the BMW/Riley DP team of Orbit Racing out of Riviera Beach, Florida. Co-driving initially with former Indy car star Darren Manning, Bill later partnered with former Indy car star Ryan Dalziel to achieve a 3rd place finish at the Brumos 250 at Daytona. This would be Bill’s first Rolex Grand-Am podium finish. However, due to financial limitations, the team did not compete in every race but still managed to finish 14th in championship standings. Again, due to financial limitations, this result was accomplished without the benefit of running every race in the championship.

After a change in ownership, Bill drove the same DP but for the newly created Starworks Motorsport team out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in 2010. Partnering with no less than 6 different drivers through its abbreviated season, Bill and the team finished 13th in the championship this year.

Clearly frustrated with competing for underfunded teams, in 2011, Bill was invited to drive for Autohaus Motorsports of Delray Beach, Florida. However, this was a Chevrolet Camaro Grand Touring (GT) team, not a DP, but key was that it was factory-backed by General Motors (GM). This would ensure proper financial and technical support to complete the season. Paired with young factory GM driver, Jordan Taylor, the team won at Virginia International Raceway on May 14th and collected 3 other podium finishes on its way to a close 2nd place finish in the championship standings.