|The Graybeard Report by Doc Lehman||
|THE GRAYBEARD REPORT 1-11-07|
By Doc Lehman
Things about dirt Late Model racing I remember and miss (Part One):
Seeing my first dirt Late Model race in 1965.
Watching Ohio’s Bob Cannon annihilate the Late Model field at the first Pete Jacobs
Memorial at Wayne County in 1971. Cannon started near the rear and lapped the field.
Meeting Earl Baltes for the first time in 1972 at my uncle’s (Wellman Lehman) house a
month or two prior to the second WORLD 100.
My first WORLD 100 a couple months after meeting Earl Baltes in 1972. (Verlin Eakers
Walking into my uncle’s house late one morning in the early 70’s and finding David Pearson
sitting at the kitchen table telling off-color jokes to my aunt prior to Pearson competing with
the Late Models at Wayne County that evening. Pearson won that night.
Going to the local county airport in the early 70’s with my uncle to pick up Tiny Lund who
my uncle brought in to race with the Wayne County Late Model regulars.
My first trip to Atomic Speedway (now KC Raceway) circa 1971 or ‘72 for the Sprint Cars
and seeing the Late Models steal the show.
Mansfield Speedway when it was dirt in the 1970’s and everything was painted orange and
the large fields of racers there every week.
‘Date nights’ during the early 70’s at Wayne County, Lakeville, Mansfield.
Watching Jim Gentry, Lloyd Wirt and Dean Alexander practically own Lakeville Speedway
during the late 1960’s-early 1970’s. It seemed like only those three could win features and
usually from the tail.
Freaking out in 1970 when Ken ‘Jake’ Jacobs quit racing Sprint Cars and went into a Late
Model full time. He then proceeded to win, win, win all over Ohio in his Hulman-Moody
Watching a recent high school graduate named John Mason win the Wayne County
championship in 1972 and having to be driven to the track each week by his girlfriend (and
future wife) since Mason’s overabundance of speeding tickets motivated the local judge to
keep his driver’s license for a short time.
Meeting and getting my photo taken with Miss Ohio 1973 who came to Wayne County to
hand out trophies (her name was Karen Sparka, she was blonde, you get the ‘picture’).
Visiting Lernerville Speedway for the first time in 1973 and meeting my uncle’s good friend
Don Martin. I recall Herb Scott kicked butt that night, a name I always saw in the racing
papers at that time.
Tom Jarrett’s domination of Wayne County, Sharon, Expo, etc… during the 1970’s.
Meeting Bob Wearing, Sr., in the mid-1970’s and quickly finding out just why he was called
‘Mr. Invitational’ way back then.
Taking a girl friend ‘back home’ to see her mother in Clarksburg, WV in 1976 and driving
down Route 50, glancing to my left and seeing a pack of Late Models coming around a turn
at a dirt track. Crossing the medium strip and heading back to the exit, I discovered
Pennsboro Speedway for the first time, bought two pit passes and watched the Spirit of ’76
race. Damned if I can remember who won but do recall Dorus Wisecarver being there and
chatting with him.
Watching a longhaired, bearded Brad Malcuit switch from asphalt to dirt and winning races,
special events and championships all over Ohio in the late 1970’s.
Meeting Bill Moore who, with Bert Emick, my uncle, Jean Lynch, Earl Baltes and others,
started the All Star Circuit of Champions Late Model division in 1980. Bill needs in the
Meeting Carl Short for the first time at the first DTWC in 1981.
Jim Dunn. So much class and decency.
My first trip to Brownstown in 1981 and watching Don Hobbs kick the ‘big boys’ butts.
Meeting Robert Smalley in 1983 and spending an hour with him at a race at KC Raceway.
Kenny Brightbill won.
Concord when it was dirt!
Having dinner with Cale Yarborough in Daytona and spending the entire time talking about
dirt Late Model racing.
Having a steak dinner one night in Phenix City, AL in the early 80’s with Freddy & Grassy
Smith and Don Gross and spending a couple hours talking about the sport, the history and
Meeting and speaking with Rodney Franklin for the first time at Sharon Speedway. Good
guy, good friend.
One night in the mid-80’s watching Keith Berner, after a lap or two into the feature, get
blatantly ‘taken out’ and put on the tail. During the caution driver Dave Ledford, who was
standing in the infield with me, approached Berner’s car, stuck his head in the window and
told Berner to: “Now go out there and kick their asses!” In one of the best races I have
ever seen Berner did just that, he won!
My lifelong friend Dave Ledford’s first ‘Super’ Late Model feature win after years of wins
and championships in Limited Late Models.
©2007 Doc Lehman/LMS
Note: This article originally appeared in the December 2006 issue of Dirt Late Model.
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