Saturday, July 21, 2012
Harold Leep Jr. Memorial Saturday 4th Annual Tribute to a Great Man
by John Lemon
TULSA, Okla. -- The Oklahoma Sports Park in Ada, Oklahoma will stage the 4th annual “Harold Leep Jr. Memorial” race this Saturday night. Sanctioned by the Oil Capital Racing Series, this special event honors a member of one of the all-time great racing families that have competed in the region. It is a racing event that teams are not there just to collect points, prize money or merely hang out amongst themselves. Not at all, those who will flock to OSP for such a special occasion are doing so to pay honor and their respects to a good man (and his family) who is well respected and admired by those who knew him and by those who have heard all the many positive things he did for so many in life. In the four years since his passing, Leep Jr. is as remembered today as he was prior and Saturday night we will continue to recall what a great man he was. As Harold would most certainly say himself” “Folks, its time to go racing. Let’s load ‘em up boys”
Three drivers have claimed honor in the HLJM and all of three have all done well in their sprint car endeavors. Frank Dittman of Moore, Oklahoma won the first HLJM in 2009. Dittman went on to claim a total of three OCRS wins that season. OSP, Outlaw Motor Speedway in Oktaha Oklahoma and the famed 81 Speedway in Park City, Kansas were the arenas Dittman laid down the law. Mr. Dittman was also the 2009 State Fair Speedway “Champ Sprint” titlist in Oklahoma City as well.
The next season saw Tulsa’s Mike Goodman receive HLJM honors as he added yet another marquee win to his stellar career. Goodman had to fend off Andy Shouse of Oklahoma City and an ever improving Kyle Cobb of Choctaw Oklahoma for his HLJM hardware. A three time OCRS champion (2004-05-07), Goodman has won numerous feature events and championships in multiple sanctions and divisions.
Harold Leep Jr. poses with his supermodified at State Fair Speedway
Last year saw a second Moore resident take the checkered flag as the “Gasman”, Whit Gastineau, won a struggle between himself and Norman’s Danny Jennings. It was a joyful and prideful win for the 2011 OCRS points runner-up. Gastineau is no stranger to OCRS victory lane. Heading into the HLJM event, Gastineau has parked in victory lane 14 times in OCRS competition. Owasso’s Matt “Mongoose” Sherrell took third behind Jennings while Pauls Valley gunslinger Gary Owens, who is also anticipated to compete Saturday night, took fourth for the second year in a row. Owens is the defending champ sprint Oklahoma State Champion and he will defend that crown at OSP in September.
The HLJM has vastly become the “I must win this” event for many drivers. To have your name associated with an honorable man as Harold Leep Jr is an accomplishment many now cherish. A couple of quick mentions that would like to take the 2012 running of the HLJM are Jamie Passmore and Danny Smith. Passmore has won so many OCRS events he can hardly keep count including the last visit by OCRS at OSP last month. This season, Passmore has tallied nine wins to date and leads the “Goodyear Tire and Rubber / OCRS Championship” hunt. A HLJM victory is now a target of the three-time champion. Smith, an OCRS loyalist since its inception in 2001 when he started the series, has one of the four feature wins Passmore didn’t obtain this year (Mid-America Speedway) along with multiple other OCRS triumphs. The versatile driver from Sapulpa Oklahoma has this weekend circled as well.
“Its always tough when you think of your racing fraternity brothers and sisters when they aren’t here in person,” said OCRS president Barry Grabel. “I know what this event means to the Leep family. To understand their excitement when OCRS and OSP brings everyone together to pay respect to Harold Jr. well…. to tell you candidly, it is a proud feeling that we (OCRS) can somehow provide a way to show the Leep family we will never forget our friend. There aren’t many prolific families in the region as the Leep’s are, racing or otherwise” said Grabel.
Other drivers that will be looking to win such a prestigious event include: Fred Mattox, Casey Wills, the Kent cousins Tim and Johnny, Rafe Essary, the current 2012 Brodix / PM-PRO rookie of the year front runner Alex Sewell, Kyle Clark, Beau Gastineau and Michael Bookout just to name a few. The ominous OCRS winged warriors are coming off a bye week and the teams are anxious to get back to work and this Saturday night at OSP, the challenge to be the fourth recipient of the HLJM or to be a repeat victor, will be an honor in which to compete.
TO ALL RACE FANS AND RACE TEAMS………………….
As has been done the past three seasons, lets all continue to join together as one to honor a man who lived life with dignity, respect and honor. Ladies and Gentlemen, the 4th annual Harold Leep Jr. Memorial is upon us. Here are the facts to make note of for Saturday night:
WHAT: 4th annual Harold Leep Jr. Memorial featuring OCRS sprint cars
WHERE: Oklahoma Sports Park / Ada Oklahoma
WHEN: Saturday July 28, 2012 / Gates open 5pm / Hot laps 7pm / Racing 7:30pm
OCRS drivers meeting will be held at 6:30pm
Oklahoma Sports Park is home to a 4/10 mile clay oval track and is located just 10 miles northwest of Ada, Oklahoma on state highway 3W.
Track Phone: 580-332-5535 / Promoters Phone: 580-332-5383
Track website: www.oklahomasportspark.com
The Oil Capital Racing Series is supported by several associate sponsors that contribute to the series. Please support these sponsors that contribute to the very sport you have come to enjoy and let them know you appreciate their participation in sprint car racing!
Former OCRS winners at Oklahoma Sports Park
5.19.07: Mike Goodman
7.14.07: Chris Burns
9.22.07: Mike Goodman*
5.31.08: Mike Goodman
9.20.08: Danny Smith*
5.30.09: Frank Dittman**
9.19.09: Andy Shouse*
6.12.10: Mike Goodman**
7.10.10: Jamie Passmore
9.18.10: Whit Gastineau*
5.14.11: Whit Gastineau**
7.09.11: Whit Gastineau
9.17.11: Gary Owens*
6.09.12: Jamie Passmore
*Denotes date of Oklahoma State Championship event
** Denotes date of “Harold Leep Jr. Memorial” event