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Old 09-01-2009, 04:29 PM   #1
Jerry Lee
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Golden, CO.
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Default 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.
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