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  • Joe Leonard?

    To the best of my knowledge and I've been looking for this info on my own, but it appears to me Joe Leonard went from racing motorcycles straight into IndyCars, is this accurate
    "I love Indianapolis. I love the people. I love everything about it....the tradition, the history." - Dan Wheldon

  • #2
    Joe Leonard raced both midgets and modified stock cars as early as 1955 while he was still racing motorcycles. He raced midgets with BCRA as his schedule allowed into the early 1960s before joining USAC. Here's a little background from a BCRA site.

    http://www.bcraracing.com/2017/05/bc...d-passed-away/

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    • #3
      Originally posted by indyrjc View Post
      Joe Leonard raced both midgets and modified stock cars as early as 1955 while he was still racing motorcycles. He raced midgets with BCRA as his schedule allowed into the early 1960s before joining USAC. Here's a little background from a BCRA site.

      http://www.bcraracing.com/2017/05/bc...d-passed-away/
      Thank you indyrjc. Thought it was farfetched to think Leonard went straight from motorcycles to IndyCars. Wikipedia was no help, that was the impression it left me.
      "I love Indianapolis. I love the people. I love everything about it....the tradition, the history." - Dan Wheldon

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      • #4
        Wikipedia is rarely any help, especially when it comes to auto racing indyrjc took care of it, but Joe Leonard raced the Central California NASCAR super modified circuit just prior to moving on to USAC stocks and championship racing. This was mainly at San Jose Speedway and Kearney Bowl in Fresno, but I believe he ran dirt at Clovis Speedway as well. Some of the drivers he raced against that you may have heard of include George Snider, Dick Atkins and Billy Vukovich. There also were some outstanding drivers not well-known outside the region, like Al Pombo, Marshall Sargent and Rick Henderson, just to name three.

        I hate to say it again, but it's probably because it all went on in California that this isn't more widely known. Or, as widely known as it should be.
        "Versions of a story that are more tidy, compact, and camera-ready should generally be viewed as historically suspect." - Jackson Landers

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Teej View Post
          Thought it was farfetched to think Leonard went straight from motorcycles to IndyCars. ....:
          Along those same lines another top AMA motorcycle rider that ran at Indy was Paul Goldsmith. With some overlap Goldsmith did pretty much go from motorcycles to stock cars and then to Indianapolis. The only open wheel races he ever competed in were in Indianapolis cars; and mostly at Indianapolis at that.

          Goldsmith was a somewhat underrated driver who adapted and did well in just about everything he ever attempted. That continues even to today at (I believe) 93 years of age. He still runs an aviation business and is involved in flight instruction and still flies himself.

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          • #6
            Joe Leonard was the 1964 USAC Stock Car Rookie of the Year driving for Ray Nichels. I once heard (or maybe read) a story that said his drive at DuQuoin in September 1964 caught the attention of ole' A.J. - who then helped him get his first USAC National Championship ride the following week (also at DuQuoin).
            Real drivers don't need fenders!

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