LEO CLEARY
Driver
Class of 1999

Ask most retired drivers what tracks they raced at, and you might get the name of one, two or maybe a half dozen tracks. Ask Leo “The Lion” Cleary and you had better have some time to listen. Leo competed at the Medford Bowl, Lonsdale, Norwood, Catamount, and Westboro. Among active tracks, he raced at Thompson, Seekonk, Stafford, Martinsville, Oswego, Waterford, and New Smyma, along with several others.

In his 44 years behind the wheel, Cleary took down 14 track championships, including the Norwood Arena, Seekonk, and Thompson. These championships have come behind the wheel of jalopies, cutdowns, full coupes, modifieds, pro-stocks, and mini modifieds.

At age 58, when most people are busy planning their retirement, Cleary was busy planning his season at Seekonk, where he took down the 1986 pro stock championship. The next year, the 59 year old Cleary switched to mini modifieds, again winning the Seekonk Championship. When Aetna Insurance transferred Cleary to Florida in 1988, most people, including Leo himself, figured that was the end of his racing. That’s when Vic Kangus convinced him to hop into his Florida modified, which he drove until 1993, when, at age 63, he suffered four broken ribs, and hung up his helmet for good.

Leo Cleary’s career spanned six decades. He has progressed from the early stock jalopies to the modern mini mods, pro stocks and modifieds.