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Jerry Lee 09-01-2009 04:29 PM

JOE LEHMAN - The Two Minute Interview
I realize that just Two Minutes with Modified/Late Model multi-champion "Gentleman" Joe Lehman won't even come close to scratching the surface of this racing legend's lengthy career, so I'll let this 1999 interview with one of the coolest guys to ever touch rubber to asphalt just speak for itself.....


JL: "Who got you into racing?"

JOE: "My brother-in-law pitted for Lloyd Axel and that's how I got involved in racing. I built my own cars, my own engines, my own wheels, everything!"

JL: "You were the first to win a Modified championship running an automatic transmission if I'm not mistaken."

JOE: "A lot of people said it wouldn't work, but it did."

JL: "And so you started out on the Englewood dirt."

JOE: "Those Stockers were a lot of fun. My first one was a '34 Ford, Tudor, and you didn't have to have a lot of money to run. I used to like to watch Roger Miller. He was probably one of the best dirt car drivers there was around."

JL: "I think Englewood Speedway was pretty much your home track, but what about Lakeside?"

JOE: "The Rocky Mountain Stock Car Racing Association tried to fine me $100 once for towing out to Lakeside after a rainout at Englewood. I just wanted to race, and they told me I jumped the club! So I told them to stuff it, and ran all of 1957 at Lakeside."

JL: "What were some of the bodies you ran over the years?"

JOE: "I ran those '32 Ford bodies for awhile, then went to the Model A bodies. Pretty soon we got into the homemade bodies because the rules kept changing."

JL: "You eventually got into Late Models."

JOE: "I love the Modifieds. The only reason I started racing Late Models was because there was more money in it."

JL: "I can remember some great Modified races between you and Sammy Sauer!"

JOE: "Sammy was my rival! There was only two things with Sammy, he was either going to win or crash! But he was a very good driver."

JL: "What are some other Joe Lehman firsts at Englewood?"

JOE: "I was the first to build a Ford 6 engine. In the Modifieds everyone ran the 8 flathead. There were some Chevy 6 cylinders, but after they saw how my Ford 6 ran, 80% of the guys had 'em the next year."

JL: "A lot of guys credit you as giving them a start in racing, and even more claim you were a big innovator in the sport."

JOE: "Aw, a lot of that stuff y'know, I just done it and it was over."


Recently, 76 year old Joe Lehman pulled out one of his E.R.A. Super Modifieds that had been sitting in a barn for almost 40 years, cleaned it up, and has been racing it in the C.A.R.C. shows. On the "infield side" of the car, there's a big black wheel mark left there by the late great Sammy Sauer from sometime in 1969.

A class act all the way, it's still a real big thrill for me to watch "Gentleman Joe" race and hear that famous name announced over the track's P.A. system.

Jerry Lee 09-01-2009 04:42 PM

Re: JOE LEHMAN - The Two Minute Interview
(J.L. McGuire collection) Joe Lehman and his Super Modified from 1967.
(J.L. McGuire collection) This is one of the strangest trophy shots I’ve ever seen, but has a
great story behind it. Here we see Sammy Sauer receiving a trophy while standing in front of
rival Joe Lehman’s car. What had happened was that Sammy and Joe were dueling it out for
the main event win at Englewood Speedway one night in the late ‘60’s. Sammy’s “win or wreck”
attitude came together this night as he totaled his car right at the finish line to barely take
the win. Since there was no race car left for the trophy shot, second place Joe Lehman obliged.
Great stuff! –J.L.
(Photo by Mel Keller/Irwin Fogel collection) Joe Lehman did all kinds of racing over the years
and the Pike’s Peak Hill Climb was no exception. Here’s Joe’s entry for the 1970 race, a brand
new ’70 Ford Cobra. –J.L.

parrot 09-01-2009 09:52 PM

Re: JOE LEHMAN - The Two Minute Interview
Two minute interview is right on. Had a chance to meet Mr. Lehman this past Sunday at the CVOR get together. In or out of his modified, he can still do it. It was a real treat.

rthomson 09-03-2009 03:30 PM

Re: JOE LEHMAN - The Two Minute Interview
Neat history! My dad,Bob Thomson went to colorado to talk to lloyd axel about a good front drive system for a new chevy II midget. Lloyd said that the Lehman drive would work very well.
the year was about 1966 I believe. well we bought it and it worked very well.I still have the #48 chevy II midget that was raced all over the midwest from 1966 until 1984. Thanks for the quality product Joe. It would be neat to learn more history about your racing products over the years. Rich Thomson #48 Cleghorn Iowa

Jerry Lee 01-24-2010 03:05 PM

Re: JOE LEHMAN - The Two Minute Interview
(J.L. McGuire collection) Joe Lehman (lower left) and crew in 1956 with Joe’s first Stocker
at Englewood Speedway. The gold and black numbers on this white Ford Tudor were done
by Pete Brandenburg (far left) who went on to have a great career himself in auto racing
and lettering race cars.

carc7 01-24-2010 07:51 PM

Re: JOE LEHMAN - The Two Minute Interview
Joe Lehman: not only the epitome of CLASS ACT, but one of the nicest guys in racing, as well! I'm SO glad I got to know him! :first:

Jerry Lee 04-11-2010 01:45 PM

Re: JOE LEHMAN - The Two Minute Interview
(Photo by Jerry Lee McGuire) In 2008, Joe Lehman rolled his 1969 Englewood Speedway
Modified off the trailer to race at Colorado National Speedway. After being stored in a barn
for nearly 39 years, Joe cleaned it up and raced it with the C.A.R.C. shows at the track.
(Photo by Joe Starr) And who could resist an autographed Joe Lehman giveaway photo?
The black tire mark on the side of this car was left by the late, great Sammy Sauer during
1969 action at Englewood Speedway.

Jerry Lee 10-17-2010 12:49 PM

Re: JOE LEHMAN - The Two Minute Interview
(J.L. McGuire collection) Joe Lehman#21 on the inside of Tom Leonard #10 and Pete Stringer #20.
Lehman won the 1973 Englewood championship in this beautiful maroon and black colored Late Model.

Thomas E 06-26-2011 05:47 PM

Re: JOE LEHMAN - The Two Minute Interview

Originally Posted by Jerry Lee (Post 1614)
(J.L. McGuire collection) Joe Lehman and his Super Modified from 1967.

I went to Englewood once in a while to watch the stockers/modifieds, I remember Joe Lehman running a 106 '32 Ford sedan and the #6 car pictured above.

Here is my question for the Englewood historians, The above #6 blue coupe with a cut down Ford Model A body. Did Joe ever run the #6 with a full size Ford Model A body, or did it begin life as a cut down.


I liked Joe's #6 well enough to build one of my slot cars that I raced in the 60's in to a Joe Lehman #6, it was built with a Monogram model kit 1930 Ford model A coupe body, I cut it down like Joe's car and painted it blue, in the cowl I put a grain-of-wheat (HO scale) red light bulb, I saw that Joe had one in His 1:1 car so naturally so did my modified slot car, that you can see closely in the cowl.

Jerry Lee 04-19-2012 11:20 PM

Re: JOE LEHMAN - The Two Minute Interview
I saw that "Gentleman" Joe Lehman is again running with the CARC for the 2012 season.
Can't wait to watch this legend run the oval again!
(credit unknown) This is a film still of one of Joe's Modifieds from a YouTube clip that
the Professor turned me on to. The clip is titled 1964 Jalopy Championships. Joe must
have smoked 'em all that day, this is no Jalopy folks!
(J.L. McGuire collection) Another one of the many Joe Lehman wins. This from 1968
I believe.
(J.L. McGuire collection) This looks to be the same car as above. F-A-S-T!!!

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