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KEEPING THE LEGACY ALIVE
Rich Lentz Follows in His Dad’s Footsteps to Become a Second-Generation Driver
Like many race car drivers, Rich Lentz grew up in a racing family. His dad raced Street Stocks and Late Models at Paducah International Raceway before it was PIR—back in 1985-86 before the old track closed.
In fact, when asked what led him to want to race, Lentz responded, “My dad did it.”
He also credits his dad with having the biggest influence on his racing career, “If it hadn’t been for my dad, I wouldn’t have gotten interested in it to begin with,” Lentz commented.
Some of his first memories of racing include watching races at I-57 Raceway. It was not long before Lentz began racing at the old Benton, Illinois track. He started out racing Street Stocks before venturing into Sportsman Cars.
Lentz’s first victory came in 1992 in a Street Stock Heat in Mt. Vernon, Illinois.
How did he feel about his first win? “Relieved,” Lentz laughed. “I put so much pressure on myself, but I was happy, too.”
Mt Vernon proved to be a successful track for Lentz, who also picked up a Feature win there in the Sportsman division.
“I’ve never been able to devote the time or money… it’s so competitive. It takes everything you have in it to win,” Lentz shared his thoughts on what it takes to build a racing career.
Lentz may not have had the time or money to invest, but he definitely has the skills and raw talent to be a successful driver by possessing one of the most important virtues of racing—consistency. For 2010, he had one Heat win and three Top 10 Feature finishes.
While he races primarily at Paducah International Raceway, he does venture to DuQuoin during the fair.
“That’s pretty fun,” Lentz commented on running the DuQuoin Mile.
When asked where he plans to be with his racing career in five years, Lentz joked, “Not bankrupt.”
All kidding aside, he would like to have a couple of Feature wins or even a Track Championship.
“I’ll be lucky to still be racing,” Lentz responded on 10-years down the road.
Perhaps his son or daughter will pick up the family tradition.
Lentz, who has 18-years racing experience, currently drives the #44 Modified sponsored by Falmiers Towing and Salvage. He and his wife of 15-years, Tammy, reside in Carterville, Illinois, with their two children: Brennan, age 12-years and Macey, age six-years. When he is not on the track, he enjoys coaching his son’s baseball and tackle football teams.
Racing has been a huge part of Rich Lentz’s life, but while his focus may be shifting toward his children; he can still be found on the track, and his son Brennan can be found lending a helping hand to Dad in the pits. Come to Paducah International Raceway on Friday nights and see second-generation driver Rich Lentz keep the family legacy alive.
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