(TOLEDO, Ohio, December 13, 2013) - Lee Raymond, a two-time ARCA Racing Series national driving champion, died Thursday, December 12. He was 59.Born on October 2, 1954, Raymond, of Dayton, Ohio, had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer and was hospitalized prior to being placed in the care of Hospice.
Over an ARCA career that stretched from 1979 through 1993, Raymond made 136 career ARCA starts, earning back-to-back championships in 1985 and 1986. Raymond's ARCA titles came in car owner Jim Coyle's famous orange No. 1 Riverside Auto Parts Chevrolet. Raymond also finished second in championship standings in 1982 to Scott Stovall and again in 1987 to Bill Venturini.
Raymond, the 1982 ARCA Rookie of the Year, won seven times during his ARCA career on a wide variety of tracks, from his career-first win at ARCA's quarter-mile Flat Rock (Mich.) Speedway on May 29, 1982 to his final series win on the 2.5-mile triangular Pocono (Pa.) Raceway on June 18, 1988.
He also won the Jiffy Lube 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in November of 1985, holding off Brett Bodine for the victory. He also won the Southern Illinois 200 race event at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds dirt mile in September of 1985.
Raymond's other ARCA wins were at Flat Rock and at Muskingum County (Ohio) Speedway in 1982, and at Spartan (Mich.) Speedway in 1984.
He won nine pole awards over his career at Atlanta and Pocono in 1988, two at Flat Rock in 1983, two at Indianapolis Raceway Park in 1984 and 1985, two at the Illinois State Fairgrounds dirt mile in 1984 and 1986, and at Kil-Kare (Ohio) Speedway in 1986. He earned 45 top-five finishes, 66 top-10s and led 1,117 laps in 43 races overall. He made his first ARCA start at Flat Rock in 1979, finishing 15th, and his final ARCA start at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway in 1993, finishing 22nd.
One of only a handful of father-son ARCA winners, his father Joe Raymond won an ARCA race at Dayton Speedway in 1979. Lee won the late model stock car track championship at Dayton the following year, which helped launch his ARCA career.
In addition to owning and operating the family business Joe's Radiator Shop in Dayton, Lee served as the race director at Kil Kare Speedway following his ARCA career.
He most recently attended the Racers Reunion at Toledo Speedway in March of 2013.
He is survived by his son Joseph and sister Joy.
Funeral arrangements are pending.