Ron Leek remembered as mentor, father figure by Byron Dragway leaders

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BYRON, Ill. (WIFR) -- The stateline racing community continues to share stories of praise for Ron Leek, the former long-time Byron Dragway owner and announcer who died Wednesday.

Courtesy: Byron Dragway

Leek is credited for the rebirth of drag racing in the 1970's after buying the Bryon Dragway in 1969. He was one of the premier promoters in the country.

As he packed stadiums promoting Monster Truck and NHRA events nationwide, current Byron Dragway owner B.J. Bryant Vangsness says he grew up with Leek. He says Leek was like a dad to him.

"He's been like a mentor, a father and guided my whole life," says Bryant Vangsness. "He made a big impact. He was such a realist and such a great promoter, and made such a big impression on the motor sports industry."

He also opened trucking company R.L. Leek Industries Inc. in 1971.