A legend in local auto racing died after a freak fall at the season opener at the Douglas County Speedway on Saturday night.
Roy Harvey, who was involved in local auto racing for the past 53 years, died at a Springfield hospital Monday night at the age of 89.
Pacific Racing Association president Rob Thomas said Harvey fell on the pavement in the pit area during the races.
“He tripped and fell and was transported to the hospital as a precaution, and he was alert and talking and in good spirits, but they discovered bleeding in the brain,” Thomas said.
Harvey was transported to Sacred Heart at Riverbend in Springfield, where a second brain bleed was found. He died Monday night.
Rita Johnson, one of Harvey’s daughters, serves as treasurer of the PRA and was at the track Saturday when her father fell.
Johnson said her dad did everything at the racetrack. He served on the board of directors and multiple terms as president of the PRA.
“The last car he raced was a “Banger” a year ago, he raced Modifieds before that, Super Stocks, Late Models, and he’s raced just about everything,” Johnson said. “He won his fair share. He had as much success as he could ever ask for and he was happy and he loved it.”
Johnson said he always ran Fords until very recently when he raced the “Banger.”
“He created quite a legacy, his sons, his daughters, grandsons, great-grandsons, they’ve all raced,” Johnson said. “It’s a family tradition.”
Johnson’s brothers Bob Harvey, Roy Wayne Harvey, youngest brother John Harvey, and her sister Kathy all race competitively.
Roy Harvey competed against his son Bob Harvey a few times over the years.
“They were competitive,” Johnson said with a laugh.
Street stock racer Jeff Solberg says Harvey will be sorely missed at the track.
“As far as I’m concerned he was Douglas County. He was a fixture there, he was family,” Solberg said. “When you have somebody there every weekend to get the track ready and the facilities ready, he was the first one to sign up.”
The two raced against each other a few times over the years, and Solberg said he had the greatest respect for Harvey.
“He was a clean racer, very respectful,” Solberg said. “We’re going to have a hole, an emptiness out there on the track. He put his heart and soul out there to help anybody.”
Thomas said Harvey’s impact on the sport went far beyond the local community.
“Not just Roseburg, but he’s well-known throughout the racing community in the Northwest,” Thomas said. “But locally, he’s very much a legend.”
Solberg said Harvey didn’t care what he was driving, he just enjoyed racing.
“Racing was definitely in his blood and caring for the people all around him in the cars,” Solberg said.
“My dad was my rock,” Johnson said. “He had a heart of gold, and that smile.”