|The Graybeard Report by Doc Lehman||
|THE GRAYBEARD REPORT 2-13-07|
By Doc Lehman
Things about dirt Late Model racing I remember and miss (Part Two):
….Witnessing the birth of Bret Emrick’s announcing career at Lakeville & Wayne County.
….Jim Fleming. Fats Coffey. Billy Teegarden. Vern Lefever. Eph Davis. Earl Hill. Roy
….The loss of Jim Dunn. The dirt racing community was stunned for months.
….With every other track in three states rained out, watching Black Jack Boggs pull into
Coshocton Speedway for the first time one dreary Friday night to the sheer delight of the
crowd. Boggs, arriving late from a rain out at Sharon (I think), couldn’t get out of his own
way in the heat. In the feature, starting last, he went to the front, battled Butch Hartman
side-by-side for ten laps, and won.
….The demise of the NDRA.
….Watching Skip Furlow beat Jim Gentry by six inches in the inaugural STARS sanctioned
Buckeye Nationals 100 at WCS in 1984. Nearly 90 Late Models were signed in.
….USAC (dirt) Late Models.
….The ‘Charlie & Donnie’ show with the All Star Circuit of Champions Late Models.
….Watching Kenny Brightbill at speed at Eldora with one hand holding the roof down and
one hand on the wheel.
….CJ Rayburn’s talent, personality and (continuing) impact.
….Watching the birth of Mike Balzano’s ‘national’ career with the All Star Circuit of
Champions Late Models.
….Publishing DIRT TRACK REPORT magazine (starting in 1985) for nearly three years.
The (*harrumph*) first magazine devoted to dirt Late Model racing.
….Meeting Bob Memmer for the first time.
….Watching two young kids, Bart & Bret, taking care of business on their old man’s #75
Late Model. Butch Hartman won a lot of races with those two youngsters turning wrenches.
….Meeting a young Kevin Claycomb and his family at Pennsboro. Class, class, class.
….Meeting long-time pal Mike Farr for the first time (I would go to war for Mike.)
….My first race as ‘Executive Director’ (chief crap catcher) of STARS at Muskingum
County Speedway. I wanted to puke blood. Charlie Swartz won.
….Some young Tennessee driver named Scott Bloomquist calling and going over virtually
every page of the rulebook prior to the DTWC.
….The first ever dirt Late Model race at West Virginia Motor Speedway. After hot laps
dozens of drivers, with pop rivets scattered about, had to re-enforce their roofs to keep them
from tearing off due to the speeds.
….Keith Altiers and his family.
….Watching Charlie Swartz and Jack Boggs mentally torture tech inspectors everywhere
….Watching Ben Hess, who I first got to know when he was but a toddler (we were
neighbors for a short time) win the ASCoC sanctioned Jim Dunn Memorial at Muskingum
amidst mayhem, consternation, tempers, shrapnel and Charlie Swartz.
….My first race as promoter of Wayne County Speedway on opening day. I wanted to puke
blood. It rained earlier that day and was c-l-o-u-d-y. We ran. Made a buck and a half.
Donnie Moran won.
….Dave Markos. Russ Petro. Tye Long. Wayne Maffett, Sr. Tom Jarrett.
….The bank calling the office early one Monday morning in October of 1987 informing that
there was a gentleman at the bank wanting to cash a check drawn on the Pennsboro
Speedway account. The amount? $60,000. It was Larry Moore.
….Ray Fricke, former owner/promoter at Crystal Raceway in Michigan. What a gentleman.
Grilled a good steak, too.
….An airplane ride with Carl Short at the wheel!
….W.H. Barney. Extraordinary photographer and person.
….Jim Gentry’s first STARS win.
….‘Babysitting’ Cale Yarborough, Davey Allison, Michael Waltrip, Lake Speed, Rusty
Wallace, Geoff Bodine, Rodney Combs and Joe Ruttman for a day when they came to WCS
in ’87 to race Late Models in a DirtROC show. All except Speed flew to town in Cale’s
….Watching Yarborough win the dash, heat & pursuit in Dave Ledford’s Late Model. Cale
was leading the feature when Bodine intentionally cut his tire down to prevent another win.
Wallace went on to win feature in Don Gross’ car.
….The iron-fisted rule of Bruce Rhinehart at Motordrome ‘70’ Speedway.
….Jeff Purvis’ first Pennsboro win at the STARS sanctioned ‘West Virginia Nationals’ in
….Sunday nights at St. Clairsville Speedway.
….Representing STARS at a promoter’s meeting held at Ed Skillman’s and Dave
McMillen’s (owners of Sharon at the time) home/office and Ed asking me to come out back
to meet his ‘little kitty cat’. I about peed my pants when a 20-foot Siberian tiger walked
around the corner.
….Asking Larry Phillips to please not kick my tech inspectors’ asses!
….One night before races watching Donnie Moran stick a five-year-old boy in his car and
give him some attention. That five year old is now 23 and since that time, and still today, has
a ‘shrine’ to Donnie Moran in his room. That kid? My youngest son Jarrod.
….Flying to Texas to meet with Ted Johnson about possibly running the original World of
Outlaws Late Model Series. I declined but a good time was had by all. RIP Ted.
Appreciated the kindness & hospitality.
….Putting together the ’88 STARS-Hardee’s Late Model Speedweek. Eight races in nine
days in three states. Exhausting. Enlightening. Educational. Exhilarating.
THIS, THAT ‘N THE OTHER: Our plans to head to East Bay were scuttled last week when
my daughter, Brianne was hospitalized in ICU. As this column is being put together on
Saturday she has been in ICU for 11 days and on Monday February 12 is scheduled for
open-heart surgery where she will undergo an aortic heart valve replacement and two
bypasses. She is only 27! Brianne suffered a heart attack last November and further
complications arose. (Must run in the family!)
We are sure there will be plenty of East Bay & Volusia news in these pages of AARN this
week and while we regret no Florida coverage in this space it’s a matter of priorities.
My family would appreciate any prayers or positive energy you could send Brianne’s way
as she will (hopefully) be on her way to recovery as you read this. She is anxious to get the
surgery over, get recovered and get back home to her husband and two sons and begin
planning Beau’s third birthday. For those so inclined cards can reach her at: Brianne Tuttle,
% LMS, P.O. Box 341, Smithville, OH 44677.
WRAP-UP: We’re at: P.O. Box 341, Smithville, OH 44677 or via email at:
©2007 Doc Lehman/LMS
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