Former IHRA National Tech Director Robert Leonard passed away on June 27, 2022, following an extended illness. He was 83.

Leonard was preceded in death by his wife Doris and is survived by his son Jerry. He had five grandchildren... 

"Drag racing was a way of life," Jerry Leonard said. "It was his passion. He was all about the racer and making sure everybody got a fair shake. Sometimes he had to make the tough decisions, but the racers understood it wasn't personal; it was him being as fair across the board." 

Leonard worked with the IHRA for 29 years as both race and national tech director. He also worked as a lead tech official for multiple race tracks, including Spartanburg Dragway, where he was inducted into the facility's inaugural Hall of Fame class. 

Leonard was a United States Air Force veteran, where he worked as a mechanic for the famed Thunderbirds. 

Jerry said it wasn't uncommon for his father to bring home the job.

"There was sometimes he struggled with tough decisions, he brought work home, and we dealt with it," Jerry recalled. "We all dealt with it. And it was kind of cool because we were a racing family."

Jerry said his father embraced the role of drag racing's umpire. 

"Either they love you, or they hate you, but you just do your job, and you do it right and everything that goes with it," Jerry said. 

Robert Leonard will be memorialized in a service on July 6, 2022, from 6 - 8 PM, at the Beacon Drive-In located in Spartanburg, SC, his favorite eating establishment.