TOPTON, PA – Wayne Lesher, a prominent car owner with American Racing Drivers Club, was elected as the 2015-2016 President by the general membership Sunday in Topton, Pa., at the organization’s annual fall General Membership meeting.
“It’s no secret that last year wasn’t the greatest for ARDC,” Lesher said to AARN by phone on Monday. “With event cancellations and rumors of low car counts, it was tough. But there is a way ARDC can come back.”
Lesher, 49, of New Bloomfied, Pa., has a plan, “It’s by racing on more of the quarter mile tracks.”
Lesher, who promoted the ARDC Midgets return to Path Valley this past fall, feels that by racing on tracks that host Micro Sprints weekly, the organization will grow.
“Let’s face, we’re not in the midwest when it comes to Midget racing. We have to play the hand we are dealt.”
To Lesher, that means maximizing the opportunities that Micro Sprint tracks can provide, but at the same time, maintain the established presences at larger, traditional ARDC tracks.
“Williams Grove, Port Royal, Bedford, PPMS, these are all important places for ARDC. People like us there and that’s where we will be,” Lesher confides.
“But to grow the ranks, Micro Sprint tracks and the exposure they provide to ARDC is where we need to be too.”
To get the dates, ARDC will move forward under Lesher with its ‘progressive purse’ structure, a concept that rewards teams when they turn out to support races in abundance, yet allows event organizers leeway if car counts are lower than expected.
Lesher owns a two-car ARDC Midget team. Ryan Greth and Jimmy Rodkey are his drivers. He began in ARDC as an owner in 2011 and briefly served on the ARDC executive Board in 2013.
Lesher’s experience beyond ARDC has involved extensive work with 600 Micro Series racing. He created and promoted the 600 Micro Pro Series, a traveling group that was very successful.
“I had thought if we could get fifteen teams to show up at the Series we would be doing something,” Lesher said of his Micro Spring program, “we wound up with over forty.”
Lesher was the key player in bringing ARDC to Path Valley (PA) Speedway this year.
The Path Valley initiative is in keeping with what Lesher believes is of vital importance to ARDC’s future: to seek dates at race tracks such as Path Valley that routinely host Micro Sprint events.
“So many of the drivers and owners with ARDC today have their background with Micro Sprint racing, including me,” Lesher says.
Lesher’s foray into racing came about by accident. As the owner of a successful construction company, Lesher did a major job for Mike Dicely’s Hyper Racing. And that’s how he got the racing bug. Both of Lesher’s drivers, Greth and Rodkey, are Hyper employees.
Nine dates have been confirmed on the ARDC schedule for 2015 with Big Diamond, Pittsburgh’s PMS, Bedford, Williams Grove along with Dixieland and County Line inked in North Carolina.
“I never intended to seek the ARDC President job,” Lesher said. “But I have some ideas that I think can bring ARDC back to where it was. A lot of it has to do with promotion; ARDC and the promoters working together.”
Lesher has no illusions about the interests that must be served to move forward.
“This is an owners’ organization, first and foremost,” Lesher said. The owners fund ARDC.”
Serving under Lesher for the upcoming term are Dave Drevicki as Vice President, Jerry Steward as Treasurer, Deb Smith as Secretary, Tom Grumbine as Owners’ Representative and Ted Bright as Member-at-Large.
PJ Gargiulo continues in his role as Drivers’ Representative and Keith Mory continues to serve the Board of Governors as Trustee.