Lee Jeffreys’ decision to run his late father’s number was pretty easy.
Lee’s father, Robert Jeffreys, who took the 1994 and 95′ Modified titles, had a storied career that spanned 51 years. Sadly, Robert’s nearly 10 year fight with cancer finally ended this past February. He always ran the white and blue #75 from the Hobby Stock to the Limited Sportsman and then in the Modified Division. That isn’t going to change just because he’s passed on.
Lee had talked to his father about possibly running his number this season. Yes you read that right, Lee and Robert talked sometime during this off season about Lee running the famous 75 in 2017. Robert responded in his own unique way, asking, “Why, you don’t think I’m going to run?”
Lee quickly responded to that with his own comment, “If you do run, I’ll switch my number back.”
Undecided on what to do, Robert just walked away to think about it.
A few weeks later, Lee approached his dad again and asked him the same question, “So dad, what would you think of me running your number?”
Robert pondered and thought about it and he finally said, “Yes you can, I would like to see my car racing up front again.”
Robert then followed it up by adding pressure to Lee, “I would like to see my number back in victory lane and I know you’ll put it there.”
After Robert’s untimely death back in February, any doubts Lee had about driving his dad’s number was gone and he knew he had to run the number his dad made famous for 50 years.
There was questions about Lee possibly bringing back another Bowman Gray legend in Alfred Hill to run the other modified like he did on a part time basis during the 2016 season. Hill ran a very limited schedule last season in Robert’s car due to Robert not being cleared by his doctors to drive again.
“Here’s the deal, if Alfred wants to run, he can run, it’s all up to him,” Lee Jeffreys said. “He’ll be at the race track on Friday and we’ll talk about it and go from there.”
Whether or not Alfred drives the second Jeffreys Racing car, Lee will be there in his own creation of a car.
A long standing tradition that Bowman Gray has in place is if a driver passes away, they’ll try to give the deceased driver his last checkered flag or last victory lap. For example, Johnny Burke’s family got to give him his last victory lap last season after he passed away. So I asked Lee if he had talked to the BGS Management to see if they’ll give Robert his last win.
“I haven’t had time to talk to them with everything that’s happened,” Jeffreys responded. “But, if they want to do it, that would be great. I guess we’ll do it sometime this year.”
The car may look a tad different this season, but Lee stated, “It’s the same car and motor combo as last season, the only thing I changed was the rear A-Post. The old rear A-Post was the traditional looking post with a window, but now after the changes it looks like a post that Troyer or Fury would build.”
Lee added a little remark saying, “Actually with this new panel, there’s more room for a sponsor to be placed”, in which he’s already gotten and placed a new sponsor logo on the panel.
The team fell behind on everything this off season, for obvious reasons, but now they’ve got both cars ready to go. They went to practice a few weeks ago to shake the cars down and the first run right off of the trailer, the cars were “pretty good, but off just a tad bit off of what we want”.
If Lee wins a race this season or even the Hayes Jewelers 200 this weekend, it will be a emotional scene that the track, the fans in attendance and race fans across the region would welcome greatly.