“Whatever You Do, Do It Well.” cont...
By Paige Teel
After Lee finished driving the Dick Harrell Funny Car he drove the Fred Gibb Pro Stock car owned by Terry Hester of Quincy, Illinois. That was the last race car he drove in competition about 1973. Once Lee stopped drag racing he found success in other avenues. He built engines and vehicles for tractor pulling, street machines, mud trucks and go-karting.
Lee at the Fred Gibb car show in LaHarpe, IL with the last race car he drove.
When asked if Lee would change anything about his racing career he answered, “No, it went pretty good I guess the only thing that I would change was to have my kids in it a little bit more. They wanted to go every time and they did go quite a bit, but not every time.”
Lee describes the racing era of the 1960’s as a time for impressive creativity. Racers had to rely on their own ingenuity rather than just money. Track owners and racers knew that it was all about drawing the crowd and creating a good show. Back then a spectator may see such things as fire burnouts and gold dust pops. Lee describes the process, “The gold dust was really neat, you throw it down and when you get the fire out of the pipes it would light up and boom! The crowd loved it. The first time I did it I thought to myself what broke?” The competition drew Lee to the sport of drag racing and he explained it best, “Everybody loves a winner and everybody loves to win!”
Mr. Hamilton believes that a person’s attitude has a strong connection to his or her success in life. He felt as if he had been living the dream and always appreciated the fact that fellow racers are a great group of people and are always ready to lend a hand. He suggests that young racers should make a plan and figure out what they want and go for it. Mr. Hamilton told me, “If you have the desire and the will to work hard, you can do a lot more than you think.” This year will mark the 30th year that Lee Hamilton has worked for Manley and just as he has done throughout his career he has no desire to quit!
FC at Lee's shop in Quincy - Lee and son Scott at Lee's shop in Quincy
(L) Mid America Raceway 1968. Hirst Photo - (M) Staging Lanes at Mid America Raceway 1968. Hirst Photo
(R) Lee leaning over the fender at Mid America Raceway, Wentzville, MO Hirst Photo 1968
(L) Launching at Mid America Raceway 1968. Hirst Photo - (M) Launching at Mid America Raceway 1968. Hirst Photo - (R) Mid America Raceway
NOSTALGIA DRAG WORLD - By Paige Teel; Photos courtesy of Gregg Teel unless noted