1885 – 1952

 

 

Fred S. Lentz

 

Fred Lentz was born September 5, 1885 about fifteen miles southwest of Hutchinson in Westminster Township, Reno County, Kansas.  He was the eldest of three known children born to Charles L. Lentz and Mary A. (Steffy) Lentz.  Fred was married first c1908 to Blanche L. Burnett (1889-1913) and they made their home at Plevna, Kansas.  Fred and Blanche were the parents of two daughters: Frances N. (Lentz) Knote Harland (1909-?) and Leota Nancy (Lentz) Iverson (1910-1952).

Fred was married second to May Cooper on June 29, 1914 in Wichita, Kansas.  No children were born to this union which ended in divorce c1928.

Fred was married third before 1938 to Florence A. (Wright) Steward (1901-1967).  He worked first as a “driver” for the N. E. Williams & Son grocery store in downtown Hutchinson.  He then operated his own livery business and a two-car jitney cab service (that utilized Fords) in Hutchinson in 1915 and 1916.  Next, he opened the Auto Hospital, an auto repair business in the garage at his home at 529 W. Sherman in Hutchinson before becoming a mechanic at the Class A Garage at 610 N. Main St.  In 1923, purchased the Class A Garage and moved it to 20 W. Sherman St. in Hutchinson.  Next, he worked as a mechanic at the Noyes Motor Co. in Hutchinson.  In 1926, Fred was the proprietor of the Silver Moon café in Hutchinson.

In 1919, Fred tried to purchase a new Buick from a dealership in Hutchinson.  He was told that, due to a railway car shortage, they were unable to receive any shipments from the factory.  Fred drove to Flint, Michigan, got his new Buick there, and drove it home himself.

Fred began racing cars on half-mile dirt racetracks around the Midwest.  The following list of the races that Lentz entered is incomplete:

 

July 5, 1920Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

Lentz drove a Hudson Super-Six Speedster.

Lentz was third fastest in time trials with a two-lap time of one minute, 13.6 seconds.  That was 6.2 seconds slower than quick timer Leonard Kerbs had run that distance in his Ford.  John A. “Johnny” Mais of Indianapolis, Indiana, was the second fastest driver in time trials.

Lentz finished second to John A. “Johnny” Mais in the five-car, ten-lap heat race for the fastest half of the field.

Lentz then finished third behind winner John A. “Johnny” Mais who was driving an Essex, and second place finisher Elmer J. Neggy of Hutchinson who was driving a Haynes, in the five-car, thirty-lap Free-for-All race.

 

September 20, 1920 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

Lentz drove a Hudson Super-Six Speedster.

Lentz set the fourth quickest time in time trials with a two-lap total time of one minute, 16.8 seconds which was 8.8 seconds slower than the quickest time which set by John Boyd of Oklahoma City in a Hudson special.  Lou Scheibell of Des Moines, Iowa was second fastest in a Chalmers and Harry Dickson was third fastest in a Packard.

Lentz finished second to Elmer J. Neggy of Hutchinson who was driving a Haynes in the second six-lap heat race made up of three cars.

Lentz finished third behind winner John Boyd and second place Tuck Fordyce of Tulsa, Oklahoma who drove a Mercer in the 15-lap “Free-for-All” race that had started seven cars.

 

September 24, 1920 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

Lentz drove a Hudson Super-Six Speedster.

Lentz took to the racetrack forth of the nine cars to take time trials on this afternoon.  His elapse time for two laps was one minute, 13.4 seconds which was six fastest of the day but 4.4 seconds slower than the time turned in by John Boyd in a Hudson special.

                        Lentz finished second to Lou Scheibell of Des Moines, Iowa in his Chalmers in the four-car, four-lap “Three-Cornered Race.”

                        Lentz finished second to Tuck Fordyce of Hutchinson in his Mercer in the first six-lap heat race.

                        Eight cars (probably including Lentz in the Hudson) started the fifteen-lap “Kansas State Sweepstakes Free-for-All” race which was won by John Boyd.

 

October 8, 1920Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

Lentz drove a Hudson Super-Six Speedster.

Lentz was sixth fastest of the twenty-two cars that took time trials with a two-lap time of one minute, 12.2 seconds which was six seconds slower than quick timer Harold Roller of Abilene, Kansas in his Ford special.

Lentz started a heat race but a multi-car crash on a false start eliminated all of the entries except Lentz’s Hudson and a Studebaker driven by ____ Baker of Hutchinson.  Rather than run a race just between those two cars, that race was canceled with Lentz and Baker being added to the next match race.

Lentz won the next six-lap match race for the four fastest cars in time trials (plus Lentz and Baker).

Lentz finished second to Harold Roller in in a Ford special in the twenty-lap Sweepstakes race for the six fastest cars in time trials.

 

October 9, 1920Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

Lentz drove a #8 Hudson Super-Six Speedster owned by William M. “Bill” Bryant of Hutchinson, Kansas.

Lentz won the Reno County Open which was open to any car from Reno County, Kansas.  Lentz had run the 20-lap distance in 12 minutes, 7.8 seconds driving the same Hudson that Bill Bryant had driven to victory in the first race of the afternoon.

 

November 11, 1920Athletic Park in Newton, Kansas

           Lentz drove a Hudson Super-Six Speedster.

                        Lentz finished second in time trials behind Merle Warren of Newton, of the six cars that competed in time trials.  Lentz’s time for the half-mile was 1:10.0.

                        Lentz finished second in the half-mile dash to Ray Merrill of Hutchinson who was driving an Essex.

                        Lentz finished second fifteen-mile sweepstakes race which was won by Merle Warren of Newton in an Essex.

 

November 11, 1920 – Kansas Free Fairgrounds in Topeka, Kansas

           Lentz drove a Hudson Super-Six Speedster.

Lentz entered these races but no results of them have been located to date and it is doubtful that he even competed in them.

 

May 1, 1921 – Athletic Park in Newton, Kansas

            Lentz drove his new #11 Lentz Essex special.

                        The following articled appeared on page 4 of the May 2, 1921 issue of the Hutchinson (Kansas) News:

                    LOCAL AUTO RACER IN NARROW ESCAPE

                        Fred Lentz’s Essex Turns Over Three Times but he has Only Minor Injuries

“Fred Lentz, local auto racer, had a narrow escape yesterday at Newton when his Essex racing car, which was being given its first trial on the track there, turned over three times.  Lentz received a broken finger and was lacerated on the chin and hands.  He also suffered considerable from the shock but word from Newton this afternoon was to the effect he probably would return home this evening.  Lentz was alone in the car when the accident occurred.  He lost control of the machine when it hit a deep rut in the track made by vehicles in crossing into the infield.  He had been around the track several times with a companion prior to the accident.  The racing car was not seriously damaged according to advice from Newton.”

                        It appears that there were no actual races on this cate and that Lentz was just trying out his new race car on the racetrack when the accident occurred.

 

May 24, 1921 – Pavilion Racetrack at Enid, Oklahoma

 Lentz entered his own #11 Lentz Essex special.

No published results of these races have been located to date.

 

June 14, 1921 – Kenwood Park Speedway at Salina, Kansas

 Lentz entered his own #11 Lentz Essex special.

Lentz’s name does not appear in the published results of these racese.

 

July 4, 1921Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

            Lentz drove his #11 Lentz Essex special.

Lentz finished second of the five cars that started the second ten-lap heat race that was won by Roy Williamson of Castleton, Kansas.

Lentz collected $400 from the posted purse after he finished first in the field of nine cars that started the thirty-lap Classic race.  Only three cars were able to complete the distance which Lentz covered in 19 minutes, 46.5 seconds.

As winner of the thirty-lap Classic race, Lentz was asked to make a two-lap exhibition run against time which he did in one minute, 14.0 seconds.

 

July, 1921– Athletic Park in Newton, Kansas

            Lentz drove his #11 Lentz Essex special.

The following excerpt appeared in the front page of the Fairfield Daily Ledger Journal, Fairfield, Iowa on August 6, 1921 but nothing more is currently known about the race mentioned therein:

(Fred) Lentz has just recovered from injuries which he received in a race three weeks ago at Newton, Kansas.  While leading in the free-for-all race, his car suddenly plunged through the fence and turned completely over.  He was unconscious for over twenty-four hours, the result of a crash on the head, but he pulled through without any serious injuries.”

 

August 13, 1921 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds at Fairfield, Iowa

            Lentz drove his #11 Lentz Essex special.

                        Little else is known races except that record crowds saw fast races.

 

August 21, 1921 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Delaware County Fairgrounds at Manchester, Iowa

            Lentz drove his #11 Lentz Essex special.

                        Lentz turned a time of 39.0 seconds in an unsuccessful attempt to break the one-lap track record.

                        Lentz finished second to Fred Lecklider of Toledo, Ohio who drove the Ohio special in the six-lap heat race.

                        Lentz won a four-lap race in 2:47.0 seconds.

Lentz competed in the eight-lap Australian Pursuit but it is not known how he fared in that event which was won by Ray Burr Lampkin of Kansas City, Missouri in a Duesenberg.

                        Rain fell before the final race of the afternoon could be run.

  

August 26, 1921 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Iowa State Fairgrounds at Des Moines, Iowa

            Lentz entered his #11 Lentz Essex special.

After a furious duel with Fred Lecklider, Lentz wound up finishing 4th in the 4-car, 5-mile race for Class C automobiles behind E. Ted Hill driving a Templar, Jess Callahan driving the Richards special and Fred Lecklider driving the Ohio special.

 

August 27, 1921 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Tri-State Fairgrounds at Burlington, Iowa

            Lentz drove his #11 Lentz Essex special.

                        Lentz’s one-lap time trial of 37.4 seconds was the slowest of the six cars entered.  The fastest time of 33.0 seconds was turned in by Leon Duray.

                        Lentz finished second to Fred Lecklider in his Ohio special in the four-car, three-mile, first heat race.

                        Lentz finished second to Fred Lecklider in his Ohio special in a two-car, two-mile match race.

Lentz was the first to be eliminated in the four-car, two-mile Australian Pursuit race behind winner Leon Duray in the Oldfield special, Ray Burr Lampkin in a Duesenberg and Jesse Calahan in the Richards special.

Lentz finished fourth in the fifteen-lap “Mason Trophy Race” behind winner Ray Burr Lampkin in a Duesenberg, Ray Claypool in a Miller special and Leon Duray in the Oldfield special.

 

August 30, 1921 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Delaware County Fairgrounds at Manchester, Iowa.

            Lentz drove his #11 Lentz Essex special.

                        Lentz turned in a time of 39.0 seconds for the third fastest time in time trials.  Ray Burr Lampkin had the fastest time of35.0 seconds.

                        Lentz finished second to Fred Lecklider in the first three-mile heat race.

                        Lentz won a two-mile match race defeating Fred Lecklider in two minutes, 47.0 seconds.

                        Lentz finished second to Ray Burr Lampkin in the three-car, four-mile Australian Pursuit race.

                        Rain fell before the final race of the afternoon could be run.

  

September 2, 1921 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Iowa State Fairgrounds at Des Moines, Iowa

            Lentz entered his #11 Lentz Essex special.

                        Lentz finished 4th in the 5-mile Australian Pursuit behind E. Ted Hill in a Templar, Leon Durey in a Barney Oldfield’s “Golden Submarine” Duesenberg, and Ray Claypool in a Miller special.

                        Lentz finished 5th in the first 3-mile heat race behind E. Ted Hill in a Templar, Ray Burr Lampkin in a Duesenberg, Jesse Callahan in the Richards special and Fred Lecklider in an Essex.

                        Lentz finished 4th in a special 2-mile race behind George Tedrick in an Essex, Emil King in an Essex and Fred Lecklider in an Essex.

 

September 8, 1921 – Athletic Park in Newton, Kansas

            Lentz entered his #11 Lentz Essex special.

Although he was entered, no reason was given as to why Lentz did not attend these races.

 

September 23, 1921 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

            Lentz drove his #11 Lentz Essex special.

Lentz tied with Fred Lecklider of Toledo, Ohio in the Ohio special for the fourth fastest time in time trials with a two-lap time of one minute, 11.8 seconds.

Lentz won a ten-lap heat race in six minutes, 5.0 seconds for cars with engines between 166 C.I.D. and 230 C.I.D.  The total purse for that race was $150.

Lentz finished third in a ten-lap heat race for cars with “medium size engines” behind Jesse Callahan and Bill Bryant of Hutchinson.

Lentz finished fourth among the five drivers that started the fifteen-lap Free-for-All race.  That event was won by George Stewart (who had his name legally changed to “Leon Duray”) of Cleveland, Ohio.  Second place went to Al Waters of Chicago, Illinois and third place went to Bill Bryant.  Bryant had led for more than half of this race when Leon Duray moved up from third place to take the lead in the former Barney-Oldfield-owned Golden Submarine, with just two laps remaining in the race.  Lentz was only forty-feet out of the lead at the finish as the first four cars crossed the finish line very close together.

 

September 24, 1921 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Colcord Track in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

 Lentz entered his #11 Lentz Essex special.

No published results of these races have been located to date.

 

September 28, 1921 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Colcord Track in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

 Lentz entered his #11 Lentz Essex special.

No published results of these races have been located to date.

 

October 7, 1921 – Barton County Fairgrounds west of Great Bend, Kansas

            Lentz drove his #11 Lentz Essex special.

Lentz set the third fastest time in time trials.  His elapse time for two laps was one minute, 14.0 seconds which was 5.0 seconds slower than the quickest time of the afternoon set by Leonard Kerbs of Otis, Kansas in his sixteen-valve Kerbs special Ford.  The second fastest time was turned in by Bud Strong of Hutchinson, Kansas in a Laurel Ford.

Lentz won a three-car, ten-lap race in five minutes, 10.0 seconds.

Lentz won the first six-car, twenty-lap race in twelve minutes, 55.5 seconds.

Lentz finished second in the second six-car, twenty-lap race behind James Watkins of Ellinwood, Kansas who was driving his own #17 Studebaker.

 

October 12, 1921 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at Fair Park at Dallas, Texas

            Lentz drove his #11 Lentz Essex special.

Lentz’s name is listed in the race results but his actually finishing positions in what races are not given.

 

March 31, 1922 – Anthony Downs at Anthony, Kansas

            Lentz entered his #11 Lentz Essex special.

            Between 1,200 and 1,500 spectators saw Lentz run the slowest time trial of the seven cars what entered in these races with a time of one minute; 19.0 seconds for two laps of the half mile racetrack.  Johnny Mais of Indianapolis, Indiana had the fastest time in time trials.

            Lentz did not place in any of the races run on this afternoon including the twenty-lap “Free-for-All” that was won by Johnny Mais.

            Due to the lack of attendance, promoter F. R. Dunlavy only paid out 50% of the advertised purse and canceled the races scheduled for the following day.

                         

April 1, 1922 – Anthony Downs at Anthony, Kansas

            Lentz entered his #11 Lentz Essex special.

                        These races were canceled by the promoter, F. R. Dunlavy, due to poor attendance at the races held here the day before.

 

July 4, 1922Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

Lentz drove his #1 Lentz Essex special.

Lentz was fifth fastest in time trials with a two-lap total elapse time of one minute, 16.0 seconds.  That was 3.6 seconds slower than the quickest time set by Bill Crow of Hutchinson in an Essex.

Lentz collected $300 from the day’s purse for finishing first in the thirteen-car Free-for-All race.  He covered the twenty-lap distance in sixteen minutes, 15.0 seconds.

 

August 21, 1922 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Missouri State Fairgrounds  in Sedalia, Missouri

                        Lentz drove his #15 Lentz Essex special in these races.

Lentz finished third in the first heat race behind Fred Lecklider in his Ohio special.

 

August 25, 1922 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa

                        Lentz entered his #15 Lentz Essex special in these races.

                                    Lentz finished fourth in the 5-mile “medium car race” behind Glenn Howard driving a Fronty Ford, Fred Lecklider driving the Lecklider special and L. H. Corum driving a Templar.

 

August 26, 1922 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia, Missouri

                        Lentz entered his #15 Lentz Essex special in these races.

                                    These races were canceled due to a lack of participants.

 

September 1, 1922 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa

                        Lentz entered his #15 Lentz Essex special in these races.

                                    Lentz’s name does not appear in the published results of these races.

 

September 16, 1922 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Illinois State Fairgrounds at Springfield, Illinois

                        Lentz entered his Lentz Essex special in these races.

                                    Lentz finished second to George Schultheis in the first heat race.

                                    Lentz finished third in the feature race behind Al Waters and George Clark, both of whom were driving Duesenbergs.

 

October 7, 1922 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas

            Lentz drove his #25 Lentz Essex special.

Lentz finished third in a ten-lap “Light Car Race” behind winner George Tidrick in a Richards special and second place Al Watters who was driving a #8 Richards special.

Lentz competed in a five-car race for ten-laps but did not finish in the top three.  That race was won by Al Waters who was driving a Duesenberg.

Fred Lentz in his own

#5 Hudson/Mercer special in 1923

Hutchinson News photo

 

 

October 10, 1922 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas

            Lentz entered his #25 Lentz Essex special.

Lentz’s name does not appear in the published race results.

 

October 14, 1922 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas

            Lentz entered his #25 Lentz Essex special.

Lentz’s name does not appear in the published race results.

 

October 20, 1922 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Louisiana State Fair Speedway in Shreveport, Louisiana

 Lentz entered his Lentz Essex special.

Lentz won the 7-mile race by one car length over Fred Lecklider who was driving another Essex.  When only two laps were remaining in the race, Lickleider enjoyed a quarter of a mile lead over Lentz.

 

July 4, 1923Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

            Lentz drove a Hudson 6 special.

Lentz received $150 for his first-place finish in the first ten-lap heat race.  He covered the distance in six minutes, 15.2 seconds.

Lentz then won another $150 when he finished first in the second ten-lap heat race in six minutes, 50.2 seconds.

Lentz won $100 for his second-place finish to James A. Speer of Wichita, Kansas who drove a Fronty Ford in the thirty-lap Sweepstakes race.

 

September 18, 1923 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

Lentz drove his own #5 Hudson / Mercer special hybrid racing car.

“The track was probably in the worst condition of any race which had been staged on the state fair grounds and the time consequently the lowest record made.  It was announced that all cars which could possibly pass inspection, according to I.M.C.A. rules, were urged to enter the races but only four cars ploughed through the deep mud to complete the distance.”  Lentz finished last in the first race that was run - a six-lap Mud Derby race won by Al Waters in a Duesenberg.

 

September 21, 1923Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

Lentz drove his own #5 Hudson / Mercer special hybrid racing car.

Lentz and Ben Gotoff (who was racing under the alias “Ben Giroux”) swapped the lead several times in the eight-lap feature race and were never more than a few feet apart throughout the entire race.  Lentz was in front going into the last lap but slid wide on the final turn almost allowing Gotoff slip past him.  Only inches separated the two cars at the finish with Lentz coming out the victor in 5 minutes, 15.0 seconds..

 

October 27-28, 1923 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Louisiana State Fair Speedway in Shreveport, Louisiana

 Lentz entered his Lentz Essex special.

Lentz said that his Essex was “in no shape” to race on the first day but he said it would be ready to compete on the second day.  Lentz’s name does not appear in the published results of those second day races though.

 

July 4, 1924Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

Lentz drove his Lentz Essex special.

Lentz finished a distant second in the thirty-lap final race behind Charles “Butch” Lebsack of Otis, Kansas in a Kerbs special.  Lebsack had built up a big lead and was then running his throttle half-closed through the turns although he did take the south turn under full throttle twice just to show the fans that he could do it.  Lentz and Tommy Rayl of Hutchinson, were competing bitterly for second place when Rayl skidded on the 26th lap and took out a section of the inside fence.  Just seconds later, Forrest Culbertson of Ponca City, Oklahoma avoided damage to his Chevrolet when he skidded through the same hole in the fence.

 

August 22, 1924 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa

            Lentz drove his Lentz Essex special.

                                    Lentz dropped out of the 25-lap feature race for an undisclosed reason.

 

August 30, 1924 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in Hamline, Minnesota

            Lentz entered his Lentz Essex special.

                                    Lentz’s name does not appear in the published race results.

 

September 15, 1924 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

Lentz drove his Lentz Essex special.

Lentz finished third behind winner Al Waters in the #2 Golden Oldfield special and the second-place finisher, Barney McKenna of Independence, Kansas who was driving a Miller special in the ten-lap Kansas Sweepstakes race.

 

September 19, 1924 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

Lentz drove his own #5 Lentz Dodge special.

Lentz dropped out two laps into the fifteen-lap Free-for-All race and was credited with a seventh-place finish in this race won by Al Waters who drove the “#2 Golden Oldfield special.”

 

Fred Lentz in his own #5 Lentz Hudson/Mercer special in 1923

Hutchinson Gazette photo

 

 

            Lentz signed an endorsement deal with fellow race car driver, Basil T. Barber of Iola, Kansas and the Grafoleum Motor Oil Co. in 1925.

 

July 4, 1925Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

Lentz drove his own #5 Lentz Dodge special.

Lentz finished second in the first six-lap heat race behind Delbert Ging of Hutchinson.

Lentz finished second in the second ten-lap heat race, again finishing behind Delbert Ging.

Lentz won the thirty-lap Classic race over Delbert Ging after running second to Ging for the first ten laps of this race.

 

September 4, 1925 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Iowa State Fairgrounds at Des Moines, Iowa

 Lentz entered his own #5 Lentz Dodge special.

            Lentz won the 7-lap Australian Pursuit over Sig Haugdahl in 3:52.6.

Lentz finished third behind Al Cotey who was driving an Elcar, and John DePalma who was driving Duesenberg, in the 25-lap Hawkeye Derby.

 

September 5, 1925 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds at Hamline, Minnesota

            Lentz entered his own #5 Lentz Dodge special.

                                    Lentz’s name does not appear in the published race results.

 

September 9, 1925 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the South Dakota State Fairgrounds at Hamline, Minnesota

            Lentz entered his own #5 Lentz Dodge special.

                                    Lentz’s name does not appear in the published race results.

 

September 18, 1925 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds at Hamline, Minnesota

            Lentz entered his own #5 Lentz Dodge special.

                                    Lentz’s name does not appear in the published race results.

 

September 25, 1925 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

Lentz drove his own #5 Lentz Dodge special.

Lentz finished second to Fred Horey of St. Paul, Minnesota in the first five-lap heat race

Lentz finished second to Bob Maley of Des Moines, Iowa in the four-car Straw Hat Derby.

Lentz started the Kansas Trophy Race but it is unknown where, or if, he completed that event.

Lentz finished second to Fred Horey who drove a Miller special in the seven-lap International Sweepstakes.

 

 July 5, 1926Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

Lentz drove his own #5 Lentz Dodge special.

Lentz was fourth fastest of the twelve cars known to have taken time trials when he turned one lap of the racetrack in 34.20 seconds.  That time was .60 seconds slower than Delbert Ging who had set quick time.  According to an article in the Hutchinson Daily Herald newspaper the next day, Lentz was the one-lap track record holder going into these races but it is not yet known when he had set that record, what car he was in at the time, or how fast the lap was.  That record was not broken until Charles “Butch” Lebsack did it on September 24, 1926 while driving Leonard Kerbs’ #4 Kerbs special Fronty-Ford.

Fred’s #5 Lentz Dodge special was one of the five cars that started in the ten-lap Free-for-All race but the cars of Lentz and Bill Crow of Hutchinson, locked wheels on the first turn.  Lentz’s car careened into the fence and knocked down “a good portion of railing.”  Neither driver was injured but only Crow was able to continue as Lentz was finished for the afternoon with his radiator having been pierced by the wooden railing.  Crow only completed one more lap before his steering broke and he crashed into the outside fence around the racetrack.  Charles “Butch” Lebsack won the race driving a Kerbs special Ford.

The final race of the afternoon had to be canceled when Delbert Ging’s Fronty-Ford was the only car still in running order when the race was to start.

 

September 3, 1926 – North Central Kansas Fairgrounds in Belleville, Kansas

 Lentz entered his own #5 Lentz Dodge special.

Pat Cunningham, of St. Joseph, Missouri, won the final race on this after but no other results of these races have been located to date.

 

September 24, 1926Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

Lentz drove his own #5 Lentz Dodge special.

Lentz was eighth fastest of the sixteen cars known to have taken time trials when he turned one lap of the racetrack in 33.20 seconds.  That time was 1.20 seconds slower than Charles “Butch” Lebsack who set quick time.

Lentz started on the pole position in the ten-lap Class B heat race and easily pulled away from the other four cars that are known to have started this race which paid $320 in total prize money.

Lentz finished fourth of the seven cars that are known to have started in the ten-lap Class C heat race.  Finishing ahead of Lentz were Charles “Butch” Lebsack; Al Koepke of Great Bend, Kansas; and Joe Hutchinson of Arkansas City, Kansas.  This race paid a total purse of $250.

It is not known if Lentz even started in the twenty-lap Free-for-All race won by Charles “Butch” Lebsack in a #4 Kerbs special Ford.

 

September 25, 1926Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

Lentz drove his own #5 Lentz Dodge special.

Lentz finished third behind Mike Koenitzer of Meriden, Kansas and Jim White of Sharon Springs, Kansas, in the ten-lap Class B heat race which paid a total purse of $320.

Lentz competed in a special race for the first two finishers in all of the races run at the state fair over the last two days.  The race was won by Vic Felt of Deer Trail, Colorado in a Fronty-Ford but Lentz was not among the top three finishers and it is unknown just where he finished.

 

June 18, 1927 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds at Hamline, Minnesota

            Lentz entered his own #5 Lentz Dodge special.

                                    Lentz’s name does not appear in the published race results.

 

July 4, 1927 – Frontier Park at Cedar Rapids, Iowa

            Lentz entered his own #5 Lentz Dodge special.

                                    Lentz finished third in the second heat race behind D. D. Morris and Lawrence O. Hughes.

 

July 30, 1927Cowley County Fairgrounds on the west edge of Winfield, Kansas

Lentz drove his own #5 Lentz Dodge special.

Lentz led the ten-lap Class B race until the last lap when trouble dropped him back into second place behind Earl Hovenden of Arkansas City, Kansas, right at the finish line.  [Note:  Earl Lonzo Hovenden was actually from Duncan, Oklahoma but his car was owned by Dwight Moody of Arkansas City which accounts for the discrepancy in the records.]

Lentz's bad luck continued as he also led the fifteen-lap Class C race until the last lap when a broken transmission allowed Ralph Palmer of San Antonio, Texas to slip past for the victory.

Earl Hovenden won the twenty-five-lap final race driving Dwight Moody’s #2 Chevrolet special.

 

September 1, 1927 – North Central Kansas Fairgrounds Racetrack in Belleville, Kansas

 Lentz entered his own #5 Lentz Dodge special.

Lentz tied with Charles Blosser of Belleville, Kansas for the fourth fastest time in time trials at 30.8 seconds.  Quick time was Pat Cunningham of St. Joseph, Missouri at 29.8 seconds.  Pat Cunningham also won the sweepstakes race.

 

September 2, 1927 – North Central Kansas Fairgrounds Racetrack in Belleville, Kansas

 Lentz entered his own #5 Lentz Dodge special.

Lentz finished first in the ten-lap consolation race in 5 minutes, 21.0 seconds.  The 20-lap “Free-for-All” race was won by Pat Cunningham.

 

September 4, 1927 – Nebraska State Fairgrounds in Lincoln, Nebraska

            Lentz entered his own #5 Lentz Dodge special.

Lentz won the 5-lap “light car” dash in 2:50.0.

 

September 9, 1927 – Nebraska State Fairgrounds in Lincoln, Nebraska

            Lentz entered his own #5 Lentz Dodge special.

Lentz won the second 7-lap heat race over Sam Hoffman in 4:03.5.

Lentz won the 5-lap “light car” dash over Sam Hoffman in 3:01.0.

Lentz finished second to Jimmy Nichols of Iowa, in the 3-lap Interstate Invitational dash for “light cars”.

Lentz dropped out after two laps of the 11-lap feature race that was won by Swan Peterson in his Red Grange special.

 

September 19, 1927 – I.M.C.A. sanctioned race at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

            Lentz drove his own #5 Lentz Dodge special.

Lentz finished first in the four-car, seven-lap, second heat race setting a new track record of three minutes, 54.0 seconds in the process.  That record stood for two years before being broken by Emory Collins of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada in his #7 Red Streak D. O. Fronty-Ford.

Lentz finished second to George Young of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the three-car, three-lap Invitational Interstate race.

Lentz was among the seven cars that started the eleven-lap Sunflower Sweepstakes race and finished in either fifth or sixth place, it is not clear which.  That event was won by Fred Horey in a Miller special.

 

September 23, 1927 – Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

            Lentz entered his own #5 Lentz Dodge special.

                        These races were canceled due to a muddy racetrack from heavy rains the night before.

 

July 4, 1929Arkansas City Speedway a.k.a. West Madison Speedway west of Arkansas City, Kansas

Lentz drove the Moody special owned by Dwight Moody of Arkansas City.

Lentz was third fastest of the eight cars that took time trials.  His time for one-lap was 31.4 seconds which was .2 seconds slower than fast time of the afternoon that was set by Marvin “Mack” McAnally of Arkansas City who was driving a Fronty-Ford.  Second quickest time of the day was turned in by Andrew B. “Cokey” Fuller of Arkansas City who was driving a Gallivan-Ford that Fuller co-owned with Joe Hutchinson of Arkansas City.

Lentz finished third in the five-car, six-lap second heat race behind winner Joe Taylor of Ponca City, Oklahoma who was driving Art Hutchinson’s Fronty-Ford, and second place finisher, Jack Skillet of Oklahoma City who was driving the King-Godfrey, Inc. Whippet special.

The ten-lap Sweepstakes race was won by Andrew B. “Cokey” Fuller.

 

July 27, 1935Cowley County Fairgrounds on the west edge of Winfield, Kansas

Lentz was entered in the races on this afternoon but it is unknown what car he was to drive, where he finished, or if he even appeared.

            The fifteen-lap final Sweepstakes race was won by Austin Wetzler a.k.a. “Tex West” of Dallas, Texas who was driving his own #22A Model-A Riley Ford special.

 

Lentz won four feature races at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson between 1921 and 1925 which currently places him in a twenty-three way tie for fifty-first place on the All-Time Feature Race Winners List at that racetrack.  He had held that record by himself for eleven years from 1923 until 1934.

Lentz had received several traffic tickets and both he and his second wife were convicted for various bootlegging activities throughout the 1920s.  In 1927, he was charged with the theft of seventy-five men’s suits from the Lantz Clothing Co. in Lyons, Kansas and trying to trade them in Kansas City for sixty gallons of alcohol.  Lentz was convicted and appealed his case all the way to the Kansas Supreme Court.  His conviction stood and Lentz began serving his nineteen-month sentence in the Kansas State Penitentiary at Lansing in July of 1929.

In 1938, Fred and his new wife, Florence Lentz, moved first to Kinsley, Kansas and then on to a home at 914 Morton St. in Great Bend, Kansas in 1940.  They owned and operated a restaurant and Fred also took a job as a mechanic for the local International Harvester dealer, Gibson, Titus & Stafford, Inc.  By 1947, he was working as a mechanic at Spruill Motors, Inc. in Great Bend.

In 1943, Fred was charged with fellow Great Bend restaurateur, Harry D. King, with possession of stolen government property by selling food in their restaurants that had been stolen from a nearby Army Air Base.  Lentz, King, and some soldiers were all convicted in that case in 1944.

Fred was burning trash behind his home on Labor Day of 1952 when he tossed a partially full aerosol paint can into the fire.  The can exploded showering him with flaming trash and he was seriously burned.  Almost six weeks later, while still in the Great Bend hospital recovering from those injuries, he suffered a heart attack and passed away on October 15, 1952.  He is buried in the Great Bend Cemetery at Great Bend, Kansas.  Florence passed away at Great Bend on June 23, 1967 and is buried in the Mt. Hope Cemetery at Enterprise, Kansas.

If you know anything more about Fred Sherman Lentz, or his involvement in auto racing, please contact Bob Lawrence at sprintguy @ cox.net