Leon A. "Red" Barnhart passed away July 31, 2005... soon after, Oswego Speedway announcer Roy Sova had this to say about Red:
"Red started racing at Oswego in the Colt 45. He got a couple feature wins and almost won the Classic in, maybe, '68. He was leading with about a dozen laps to go and ran out of fuel. He always blamed running out of fuel on how the race was started that year when a whole bunch of extra laps were run before the green ever came out. (Ask George Caruso about it!)
Although Red was a great driver, and very personable, the one thing many people will remember him for is an act of heroism on the track. Tommy York had crashed in turn one, the car caught fire, and Tommy was knocked out. Red jumped out of his car, ran to Tommy, pulled him out of the car and carried him to the infield (York's car was soon engulfed in flames). Given the size of Tommy, and the size of Red, it was quite an amazing feat. Tommy credited Red with saving his life... RIP Red."
. . . written by Roy Sova
Leon A. (Red) Barnhart, 69, of Conklin, N.Y., loving husband, father, and grandfather, passed away peacefully at home Sunday, July 31, 2005. He was predeceased by his siblings, Beatrice, Louis, and James. He is survived by his loving wife of 38 years, Nora; his children, Jolene, Cherie, Robin, Richelle, Karen, Stan, Mark, and Tami; four brothers, Worth, Stanley, Dariel, and Glen; two sisters, Ellen and Lois; many grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and will be especially missed by Sierra and Marisa; also several nieces, nephews, and cousins. Red was born October 29, 1935 in Montrose, Pa., to Lillian and Bernard Barnhart. He was owner and operator of Red's Garage-Towing and Recovery in Conklin for 30 years. He was very active with ESTRA (Empire State Towing & Recovery Assoc.) serving as the Director for the Southern Region. He loved attending their annual Tow Show in Lake George with his wife and family. Red fostered a passion for cars and trucks, one of his greatest loves being racing. Red's career in racing started in the 1950's and extended through the 1980's. His most memorable "ride" was the car #66 that he built and in which he set numerous track records at the Oswego and Pocono racetracks. He was known around the racing circuit as "The smiling Red-head from Binghamton, N.Y." Red was a self-made man known for his hard work and love for his family; his hobby was building something, be it his business, race car, or trailers. His life's passion was racing and towing.