U.M.P. FOUNDER BOB MEMMER

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U.M.P. FOUNDER BOB MEMMER PASSES AWAY, SPORT LOSES LONG-TIME SUPPORTER
by Terry Young; contributions by Michelle Petroff

The world of dirt racing lost a long-time supporter this morning when United Midwestern Promoters’ founder Bob Memmer, 69, of Evansville, Indiana, passed away after an extended hospitalization.

Robert Lee Memmer was born near Evansville in Gibson County, IN, on October 4, 1934. Memmer, the only child of Clarence and Alma Memmer, had a humble upbringing on his family’s farm but it was his father who introduced him to dirt racing as a young child. Dirt racing became the sport Memmer not only loved but revolutionized with the creation of United Midwestern Promoters.

Memmer started the United Midwestern Promoters series in 1984 with a vision of uniting racetracks to provide structure and sensible rules for dirt late model racing to help local short track competitors grow the sport. Memmer, known as the “friend of the little guy”, maintained true to his founding mission for U.M.P. and applied those same grassroots principles for the last twenty years to help keep the sport healthy throughout his career.

In 1983, late model racing had gotten a bit out of hand with radically aerodynamic wedge-shaped bodies and rules that varied at every local track. Memmer assembled a group of tracks to work together and have the same rules and basically work together. Memmer's life long mission was to work hard toward keeping uniform rules and aiding the "little guy" who supported weekly racing. Memmer always credited Robert Smawley with a lot of his success as Smawley initiated a set of rules for his traveling series and Memmer adopted the same rules for his weekly sanctioned tracks, allowing local drivers to compete in NDRA special events with the same car they ran on a weekly basis at their local tracks. Bringing organization to short-track racing was no small achievement for Memmer and was a job that he dealt with, dedicating his entire life to achieve.

The U.M.P. group, with Memmer at the helm began with a half dozen tracks and today sanctions over 100 tracks, with both late model and modified sanctions. In 2002, the series was highlighted by the champions in both late model and modified divisions earning $100,000.00 for their efforts as well as the Summer National series champion earning $100,000.00 for his month long effort. In 2003, Memmer, acknowledging his failing health, passed the organization on to a group which included Nextel veteran Ken Schrader, as well as solid, veteran promoters Bob Sargent, Robert Lawton and Howard Commander, to carry on the torch and further the efforts that were the core of U.M.P. that had been set in motion by Memmer.

It seems fitting that Memmer would pass on as his brainchild, known as the U.M.P. Summernationals, is being contested at tracks across the Midwest. The Summernationals, one of U.M.P.’s four crown jewels which also includes two of the biggest races in our sport - THE DREAM and THE WORLD 100, was among Memmer’s pride and joy.

Rest in peace and God-speed Bob Memmer – Visionary, U.M.P. Founder and “Friend of the Little Guy”.

b. October 4, 1934 d. July 8, 2004

Funeral arrangements are pending.
 

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UMP is my fav dirt track racing, and it is what we run at the tracks here. He will truly be missed. :(

I would like to say, Thanks Bob for making on heck of a show on dirt, Rest In Peace.
 

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Bob Memmer's Funeral Arrangements!
Robert Lee Memmer, 69, passed away on Thursday, July 8, 2004, in Louisville, KY. Visitation will be held at Alexandria Funeral Home North on Monday, July 19, 2004, from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. A graveside service will be held at Immanuel Lutheran Church on Tuesday, July 20, 2004, at 11:00 a.m.

Alexandria Funeral Home North
4200 Stringtown Road
Evansville, IN 47711
(812) 424-5600

Immanuel Lutheran Church
1925 East Volkman Road
Evansville, IN 47725
(Off Rt. 41 in Volkman, 1/2 mi. south of I-64)
 

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Memorial Fund Established in Memory of UMP’s Bob Memmer
By Doc Lehman


With the recent passing of United Midwestern Promoters founder Robert ‘Bob’ Memmer a new memorial fund has been established in his name with the intent to use the donations to help UMP affiliated drivers and promoters according the executor of Memmer’s estate. Memmer passed away on Thursday July 8, 2004.

“He was a pretty simple person and religious person,” explained Craig Cowan, who Memmer designated as the executor of his estate several years ago. “He didn’t want flowers when he died, he much rather wanted a fund to help his drivers and his promoters out when he was gone. That’s what he wished for so that is what I am going to do.”

“I hope no one is offended by it but it is what he wanted.”

The Robert Memmer Memorial Fund has been established through Key Bank. To send contributions in lieu of flowers make checks or money orders payable to: Robert Memmer Memorial Fund, Key Bank, 4627 Miami Road, South Bend, IN 46614. For those who wish to wire transfer a contribution the route number is: IN-09-99-2506.

The dirt Late Model racing world lost a pioneer of sorts when Bob Memmer, the founder and long-time proponent of United Midwestern Promoters (UMP) passed away on Thursday July 8, 2004 after an extended illness. Memmer founded UMP twenty years ago and developed it into a powerhouse of influence and in bringing the sport under more uniform rules. Memmer was 69 years old at the time of his passing.

Born Robert Lee Memmer in Gibson County, Indiana on October 4, 1934. During a trying time in the sport due to escalating costs associated with the one-time ‘wedge cars’, race track promoters across the Midwest and the rest of the country found themselves with dwindling car counts associated with the costs and the wide array of varying rules that were different from track to track for the most part.

Memmer started UMP in 1984 and his vision was to unite race tracks and provide common rules across the board in an effort to help racers and tracks. Throughout the formative years of UMP Memmer became widely known as the “friend of the little guy”. Memmer was all for, and all about, the grassroots racer and his vision and commitment continues to this day through new management of UMP that Memmer had personally selected last year.

The dirt racing industry has acknowledged Memmer’s passing and contributions to the sport at tracks all across the country.

“One example is I was at Farley the other night and they had a moment of silence for Bob and they really, really talked good things about Bob and how if it wasn’t for Bob how this race wouldn’t be going on tonight, this was his dream and look what it turned into and look at all the good cars we have. And it is a NASCAR track, it isn’t even a UMP track,” related Cowan.

Memmer’s numerous contributions to the sport were publicly acknowledged when he was inducted into the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame with the Class of 2002.

“What is ironic is one of the tracks he always looked forward to going to for the (UMP) SUMMERNATIONALS was Macon and he died the day of the Macon race,” revealed Cowan. “One thing he always told me was he always looked forward to the ‘Herald-Review’ at Macon and it just so happened he died that day.”

Memmer passed away at a hospital in Louisville, KY. Visitation will be held at Alexandria Funeral Home North on Monday, July 19, 2004, from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. A graveside service will be held at Immanuel Lutheran Church on Tuesday, July 20, 2004, at 11:00 a.m. The Alexandria Funeral Home North is located at 4200 Stringtown Road, Evansville, IN 47711 (812) 424-5600 and the Immanuel Lutheran Church, 1925 East Volkman Road, Evansville, IN 47725.


-Prepared by Lehman Motorsports Services
 
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