Martin Lee Culpepper1
|Father*||Edward Hayden Culpepper (10 Jul 1910 - 27 May 1957)|
|Mother*||Katie McLaughlin2 (7 Aug 1910 - 1 May 2003)|
|Charts||Orphan / John J. Culpepper of Jackson Co., FL: Descendant Chart|
|Last Edited||4 Jan 2010|
- Lee Culpepper Racing Mazda Miata
Three-time SSB Champion to defend title
To welcome in the new year of 1999, round-the-clock racing returns for the fourth year to Moroso Motorsports Park for the Tire Kingdom "Longest Night" 24-hoursports car endurance race. Florida Region Sports Car Club of America hosts the event Jan. 1-3. Qualifying is New Year’s Day and the race starts at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 2 and ends 2 p.m. Jan. 3. A ticket for all three days is only $20 and includes Porsche and BMW support races Jan. 2.
Lee Culpepper of Plantation and his Mazda Miata will be defending the title he and his co-drivers have won for the past three years. The #1 car (literally and figuratively) is not a newcomer to racing as it has won 13 series championships in the last four years. Kumho Tires and Miata World (Fort Lauderdale) sponsor the car. This year alone, Culpepper won the South Atlantic Road Racing (SARRC) series, Endurance Championship Racing (ECR) series, Florida Region Endurance series and Florida Region sprint series scoring over 450 points. He also won the Florida Region Solo Two title for his class and rallies in the car.
In the last ECR race of the year, he held off a fast-charging Randy Pobst at Sebring to win the championship. Whoever won the race was the series champion, and it was Culpepper first at the checker. The last race of the SAARC Challenge (worth triple points) was the same situation: five competitors had the chance to win the series championship but the trouble-free Miata came through again. After driving the car to the Florida Region Awards Banquet, Dec.12, Culpepper won the Outstanding Participant honor. He then drove the next morning to a first in class at the 25th Annual Florida State Autocross Championship held at the Homestead Motorsports Complex solidifying his Solo II series championship.
What is unique is that the car has never been on a trailer. Yes, he drives it to every race: Charlotte, Atlanta, Sebring, Daytona, Homestead, Moroso and the last three 24-hour races. In fact, he says that is the spirit of the Showroom Stock class. He bought the car off a showroom floor and has been driving it on weekends ever since. His wife, Alyce, drives the car during the week from their home in Plantation to her job as a professor at Lynn University in Boca Raton, and on weekends she is a worker in timing and scoring at the races.
Additional drivers for the 24-hour race include Link Eveleth, Rennie Bryant, John Anderson, Michael Landman and Culpepper’s son Martin. Eveleth, a professional driving instructor, is especially know for his Solo I records and Solo II championship runs in addition to his endurance experience. Bryant races BMW’s from his Red Line shop in Pompano Beach and is a former Florida Region Champion in Showroom Stock. Landman, a Senior Network Engineer for NABI, finished third in the Florida Region Enduro Series for ITB. Martin Culpepper, a senior at the University of Florida, won the ECR series in his first year of racing at 19 (in an SSC class Miata which also was never on a trailer) and co-drove with his father to a victory at the Daytona enduro. "I came out of retirement to get my son into racing," said the senior Culpepper. "I enjoyed driving his Miata so much I had to buy one for myself." Previously Culpepper was a successful finisher in the early 1970s at Daytona and Sebring in the last MGB to be fast enough to qualify against twin-turbo Porsches. He competed in three 24-hour races at Watkins Glen in the mid-1980s.
Family and friends make up the crew: Diane Thoman, Paul Schwartz, Cass Fernandez, Dana Goodrick, Rick Mann, Daniel Culpepper, Nancy Schweyer and Everglades Miata Club members. The Culpepper pit is one of the most popular at the event, providing popcorn and hot chocolate for the crew and workers and decorated with holiday lights.
(From Press Release received 31 Dec 1998)
M. Lee Culpepper
2506 W. Oakland Park Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311
Publisher's Note: Following the 1999 race, Lee's wife, Alyce reported:
We won the SSB (Showroom Stock Class B) class for the fourth yer in a row. We finished about 23 overall out of 63 cars. We were the slowest class and should only have beaten one car, an ITD...
In SSB Class, nothing can be done to sealed engine; supposedly bought and driven off showroom floor (ours was). Can change the seat, put in roll cage and take out AC and radio (which we do not do because I drive it to work). We have the roll cage though - required.
- Obituary for Katie McLaughlin Culpepper written and submitted by daughter-in-law, Alyce (Mrs. Martin Lee) Culpepper on 18 May 2003.