The purpose of this website, first proposed by my youngest son, is to collect memories and stories from my youth to pass on to my five grandsons in the event they someday might want to know what life was like for the old man ‘back in the day’ of ancient times (the 60’s & 70’s) and what the old man was into and what his interests were as a young man way back in the ‘dark ages’.
It was a time of comic books, Beatles, rock ‘n roll, model kits, cool toys, Batman on TV, Green Hornet, Star Trek, AM radio, 8-Track tapes, concerts, albums, local bands and so much more. Just about all the popular culture of that era.
So check out the various posts and you’ll see what I was into as a kid and teenager, what concerts I went to, concert & gigs I promoted, publications I published, edited and wrote for, and other goofy exploits of a bygone era. Plus, we sometimes post some ‘newsy’ current events that you may have some interest in.
Below is how I spent my “grown-up years”.
Retired Motorsports Promoter, Journalist, Broadcaster
By Jarrod Lehman
Doc Lehman: BIO
Doc Lehman is the third generation of the Lehman family to be involved in motorsports. His grandfather, W. Bert Lehman, was the first Chevrolet dealer in Wayne County, OH (1915) and when he died he was recognized as the oldest living Chevy mechanic in Ohio but during his lifetime he was an avid fan of racing. He started attending races in 1914 at board tracks in Allentown (PA), Uniontown (PA), Akron (OH) and elsewhere. He also went to dirt tracks in OH-PA-IN. In 1922 he constructed his own racecar, fabricating every part on it except the radiator cap. He only drove it a couple times and hired drivers to race for him throughout the 1920’s. One of the biggest races they won was a Labor Day 100-lap special event at a one-mile dirt track in Cadiz, OH in 1928. Shorty Drexler was the driver and Doc’s grandfather’s racecar was the only car to run all 100 miles without a pit stop. This made the front page of a local newspaper that the Lehman’s still have in the family scrapbook. As a fan Grandpa’s favorite driver of all time was Ralph DePalma who he managed to get to autograph a souvenir program that is still in the family.
While Doc’s father and his six uncles all enjoyed racing and attended races frequently (including the Indianapolis 100 many, many times), Doc’s uncle Wellman Lehman became heavily involved in racing in 1965 when he, Pete Jacobs, Myron Werntz and Gary Bossler built Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, OH. From the opening night until 1971 Wellman was the treasurer and secretary of the track and corporation. When Pete Jacobs passed away in 1970 Wellman bought a majority of his shares, and others, and became the President and promoter through the 1985 when he retired. Wellman also owned the All Star Super Sprint sanction that existed from 1974-1977. He was an original board member of the All Star Circuit of Champions sanctioning body and the ASCoC Ohio Sprint Speedweek. He also independently promoted World of Outlaw races from 1978-1985.
Another uncle, Cecil Smith, who was the brother of Doc’s mother, spent nearly the entire decade of the 1950’s as a racecar driver and car owner. After spending a few years racing, he spent the last couple years of the 50’s as a car owner with drivers like Blackie Kern. Cecil raced at and won at tracks in Ohio like Olivesburg, Ashland County Fairgrounds, Moreland Speedway, Hilltop Speedway and others.
Doc attended his first dirt race on June 26, 1965, the day they opened the gates for the first time at Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, OH. Within a year or two Doc and his younger brother were doing odd jobs at the track but mainly cleaning the joint up. Within a couple years their uncle and aunt had them in the concession stands working but that only lasted a year for Doc. He couldn’t see the damn races! Tired of hearing him complain, and having seen some articles of his that were published in a graphic arts publication, Wellman offered Doc the job as Public Relations Director when Ron Amstutz decided to leave due to his career (he is now an Ohio State Senator).
Doc’s brother ended up managing the concession stands for many years and then became the track’s office manager for a couple years.
Doc first became Public Relations Director at Wayne County Speedway in 1973 and held that position for most of the 1970’s. Doc also served as Public Relations Director for the All Star Super Sprints sanction that existed from 1974-77. Doc was writing for a couple rock ‘n roll and graphic arts magazines during the early 70’s and then started writing motorsports news stories and results for several publications for WCS and the All Star Super Sprints. Doc became heavily involved in motorsports journalism in the late 1970’s and for four years in early 1980’s published and edited DIRT TRACK REPORT magazine that was devoted to dirt Late Model racing.
During 1980’s Doc served as Executive Director and Vice President of the STARS dirt Late Model sanction (2 years), promoter at Wayne County Speedway (3 years), General Manager of Pennsboro Speedway (2 years) and was the associate producer and head writer for the RACING ON DIRT-TV television show in Ohio for WOAC for three years.
After a serious illness in late 1988 he went back into journalism full-time working for two local newspapers, a television station (writing commercials) and several motorsports publications.
In 1985 Doc started Lehman Motorsports Services, a firm that does public relations, promotional and consultation work for racetracks, race teams and sanctioning bodies. Over the years LMS have worked closely with several different race teams, tracks and sanctions on various promotional projects and marketing endeavors. LMS still exists today with a limited number of clients.
Doc spent a number of years working full time for DIRT LATE MODEL magazine, AREA AUTO RACING NEWS, RPM RACING NEWS and part-time for MID-AMERICAN AUTO RACING NEWS, NATIONAL DIRT DIGEST, BEHIND THE WHEEL and others. He also had a syndicated ‘Dirt America’ column that appeared on such popular websites: Hoseheads Late Model News, Racingweb.com, RaceProWeekly, South Jersey Dirt Racing and Dirt Track Digest.
Doc created and owned the Dirt America Online website (www.DirtAmericaOnline.com) since 2000. He also spent three years on the Executive Board of the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame.
Doc has been married to Carol for 33 years and have two sons, Brandon & daughter-in-law Mindi and grandsons Brenden Troy & Kaden Alexander & Axten Xavier; son Jarrod; son-in-law, Dan, and grandsons, Hunter Cole & Beau Cruz.
Doc’s sons all grew up at racetracks. Brandon spent a little time on former Late Model driver Took Wiles’ crew and spent a summer helping Sprint Car driver Tyler Walker part time. Doc’s youngest son Jarrod was the Public Relations Director at Wayne County Speedway in 2003 and now owns Lehman Motorsports Services which makes him the fourth generation of the Lehman family to work in motorsports, and the third generation of the family to have worked at WCS.
Doc first got into radio when he served as a co-host on the former Thrills On Wheels radio show for just under a year in 1999-2000.
Doc joined the Dirt Nation™ show a couple months after it started. He served as co-host with Dave Seay and helped produce the show for over four years until Doc’s retirement. Doc also took on the role of co-host & producer of the Dirt Racers Radio show with co-host Ryan Pearson on WQKT 104.5 FM in Wooster, OH during 2003-2006.
Doc was inducted into the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame in July 2006.
He retired from motorsports in December 2007 after over three decades due to health issues and a growing grandchild population.
In 2005 & 2006 Doc assisted CNN (Cable News Network) producer Ted Rubenstein and staff on the CNN Presents: Dirt Track Warriors documentary that first aired on July 1, 2006. Doc also appeared on camera at length.
Info on Dirt Track Warriors:
Dirt Track Warriors Transcript:
This blog is mostly first/rough drafts, many jotted down during a nearly three month vigil for his daughter at a hospital who underwent nine open heart and lung surgeries, and are basically a document of some memories for his grandsons to enjoy someday.
1974 – 2007 – Columnist/features writer for Area Auto Racing News, RPM Racing News, Dirt Late Model magazine, Mid American Auto Racing News, Speedway Illustrated, Behind The Wheel, MARC Times Racing News, etc… etc…