Archive | Memory Lane

Memory Lane: Remembering Davey Jones

Memory Lane: Remembering Davey Jones

By Randy Spencer for OntarioOval.com – In this edition of Memory Lane, I take you back to the early days of Flamboro Speedway when Super Modifieds were the cars to watch. As today the Supers needed a push start to get going. A young Davey Jones and his brothers piled in the tow truck and were off to the race track with their dad. Dave’s dad was the original assistant flag man at Flamboro as well as supplying the tow trucks and push trucks at the track. Davey got to see some of the legends of the sport pushing off guys like Harvey Lennox, Andy Brown, Glen Schurr and Davey’s childhood hero Jack Greedy.

Back in the day you had to be 16 to enter the pits so once Davey reached that age he partnered with a good friend and former hobby driver Jack Hood and together they purchased a Diamond car, a weekly division that ran in the early 1970′s at Flamboro. Wayne Zess would drive the car for them. Right out of school Davey got a job working as a mechanic for the then well known racer Maurice Carter working at Maurice Carter Chev Olds.

Davey began his own racing career when he built his first hobby car for the 1976 O.A.R.C., now the Canadian Vintage Modifieds. Racing the #60, Davey picked up his first win in his rookie season. In 1977, together with brother Rick (#58) and cousin Paul Lewis (#59), they became a race team. (Rick by the way raced that year and got out of racing until 2010 when he returned to the CVM. He still races today in the #99 in honor of brother Davey.) Davey and Jack Hood teamed up for a few years building several hobby cars winning lots of races. For two seasons in the early 1980′s, Davey built a Street Stock and picked up several more checkered flags. He returned to the O.A.R.C. in 1982 for two more seasons and won many more races. In 1984, a new racing division called C.O.R.A. was formed and Davey joined the former president of the hobby club, Harry Nicholson and teamed up with a dozen or so other O.A.R.C. drivers to race the new club. The cars were similar to the hobby cars, one difference was a newer style body. Davey built and raced a Pinto and picked up several wins. The division however lasted only three seasons.

Davey once again returned to the O.A.R.C. for a short stint when cousin Paul Lewis and friend and a member of the CVM Hall of Fame Kevin Cantwell needed a driver for their hobby car. After installing his own engine, Davey got a win for Paul and Kevin. Davey’s race career spanned for over a decade. He built numerous race cars over the years and went to victory lane in every car he drove. Davey became a very good fabricator over the years and built everything himself. Davey’s last job was at Serv-A-Staion Maintenance in Dundas where he worked in the weld shop or was on the road building canopies for new gas station builds. Davey’s life came to an unexpected end in January 2003 when he died due to complications from a blood clot in his leg.

–Thanks to Davey’s brother Rick for all the information for this story as well as the great pictures. Make sure you stop by the pits and say hi to the #99 Rick Jones and see the tribute picture to his brother on the car.

Until next time, keep going fast and turning left and join me again next week for another trip down ‘Memory Lane’.

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Memory Lane: Hall Of Famer Smilin’ Jack Greedy

Memory Lane: Hall Of Famer Smilin’ Jack Greedy

By Randy Spencer for OntarioOval.com – In this edition of Memory Lane, I take you back to the mid 1960′s. Super modified racing was by far the most exciting and popular form of racing around. Racers back then were household names and tough as nails. Guys like Jimmy Howard, Glen Schurr, Harvey Lennox were dominant. But one guy that always had a smile on his face was Jack Greedy. Of course we all know the nickname, Smilin’ Jack. By 1965 Jack had been racing on and off for 12 years. He began racing in 1954 and his first car was a 1937 Ford. He started out in the jalopy division at Pinecrest Speedway where he was named “Rookie of the Year.” As he developed as a driver, Jack started driving better cars and soon became known as a top runner and drove the hottest car on the circuit.

Jack proved how good he was and held off the great names and won points championships at Flamboro and the C.N.E. in 1963 and took Flamboro again in 1964. (He also was super modified champ at Nilestown and Delaware in 1966) He likely would have won an incredible three in a row at the new Flamboro track if it hadn’t been for an accident, a flip called the most spectacular to that point in Flamboro’s history. He flipped the car end over end 8 times and was laid up for four weeks. Miraculously he only had two broken ribs. He was asked if he ever considered retiring after the scary accident. He said, “I’ll quit when I get scared.” If it hadn’t been for the first class job by the crew and car builders, the story may have been different. The names on that crew were well known at the time for quality work and included Jack “Mouldie” Multon, Doug Jones, Eric Cheeseman, Waune Multon and Jack “Mouse” Mougenel.

After the four week layoff Jack returned and although he lost valuable ground in the points race he wasted no time in getting back into contention winning three consecutive Flamboro features including a 100 lap Invitational, a 35 lapper as well as a regular feature event. For good measure he through in a Delaware feature as well. Tough as nails, Jack knew valuable time was wasting away and although he was in tremendous pain he got back in the car fitted with a brace for his ribs. The time off proved to be too much of a hill to climb as another legend Jimmy Howard held off Smilin’ Jack and took the points crown in ’65. Greedy decided to retire from driving at the end of the 1969 season and went into a partnership and bought Delaware Speedway. They immediately went to work on improving the track changing it from a 1/4 mile to its current 1/2 mile size. He also was instrumental at adding a new division known at the time as Rat Racers (later known as Street Stocks)and also began a working partnership with Bob Slack at Cayuga Speedway and together formed the Carling’s NASCAR Grand National team, with Earl Ross as driver and the Coca Cola racing team of Earl Ross and Norm Lelliot and headquartered the teams at Delaware where Jack was manager of the teams. By 1975, Jack sold his interest in Delaware and began supporting his son John’s racing adventures. John himself won a Flamboro championship in 1978 and to my knowledge became the first father and son to win a Flamboro track championship. Jack also formed the Ontario Stock Car Racing Association in 1976. Jack passed away from a heart attack in 1988 and was honored in 2004 as he was elected to the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame. He ran Jack Greedy Construction from an early age and it’s still run today by son John.

Until next time, keep going fast and turning left and join me again next week for another trip down ‘Memory Lane’.

-with files and photos from Wheelspin News and www.JackGreedyLimited.com

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Memory Lane: The Loss Of Jim Vitkil & Stu Hunter

Memory Lane: The Loss Of Jim Vitkil & Stu Hunter

By Randy Spencer for OntarioOval.com – In this edition of ‘Memory Lane’ I take you back to a very sad day, June 1, 1976. Once again, memories aren’t always happy ones and for Stock car fans throughout Ontario and particularly in the Barrie area, they were shocked and saddened at the tragic loss of two friends… Stu Hunter and Jim Vitkil. Both men were killed instantly as were the two occupants in the other car after a head on collision near Barrie.

Both men were veteran racers and were a couple of the originals from when Barrie Speedway opened in July of 1965. Both men were barely out of their teens and became a part of the nucleus around which the original owner of the track, Jerry Watson formed the track’s home division, the Diamond class, a prelude to the Limited Late Models. The two quickly became two of the most successful and popular drivers in the Barrie area and consistently finished in the top 10 in points every year. Both were pioneers of the sport at Barrie and were known as good, clean and competitive racers. Both were well liked and respected gentleman, on and off the track, and wherever they raced around the province.

In 1975, Stu ran the Export A and Carling O’Keefe series with some success. Both raced briefly at Flamboro early in the ’76 season but announced they would return to Barrie for the remainder of the season. Stu had already returned and actual won a heat race three days prior to his death. Jim ironically pulled off the same deal, winning a heat at Flamboro the same night. Both lost so young at the age of 32, Stu left his wife Diane and a son while Jim had three small children with his wife Barb. A tremendous out-pour of emotion for the two men took place the following Saturday at the track confirming the fact that these two men were greatly respected and loved by all those who knew them.

Until next time, keep going fast and turning left and join me again next week for another trip down ‘Memory Lane’.

-with files and photos from Wheelspin News

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Memory Lane: The ‘Flying Englishman’ Tony Blake

Memory Lane: The ‘Flying Englishman’ Tony Blake

By Randy Spencer for OntarioOval.com – In this edition of ‘Memory Lane’ I take you back to May 1971. Tony Blake was entering the new race season and was hoping for a continuance of the domination he showed the in 1970. Blake, known to many as The “Flying Englishman”, dominated the 1/4 mile oval in Kingston and captured his second consecutive track championship. Back in those days, somewhat like today, the dirt tracks worked together and tracks ran different nights so drivers were able to race as much as possible. Kingston ran Fridays, Brockville on Saturdays and Cornwall ran Sundays. An agreement by the three tracks before the season started whereby an overall champion will be declared so that more drivers would compete at all three tracks and provide more cars for the race meets at each oval. A good driver could pick up a $1000 or so for winning all three races. $1,000 in 1971 had the same buying power as $5,670 would in 2012. That’s a pretty good haul!

To start the 1971 season, Blake once again was ready to defend his two time track championship. A large crowd was on hand at Kingston Speedway and saw Blake start tenth in a pack of sixteen cars for the Feature. To that point, another top runner, Walt Pennock was looking like the car to beat. He won his heat, the trophy dash and the first Semi and was leading the feature until Blake made his way past the hot shoe of Blake on lap five. Blake began to pull away and although a caution with five laps remaining tightened the field, Blake never looked back picking up where he left off with the first feature win of the new season.

The next night it was off to Brockville Speedway. Once again Blake was looking to pick up where he left off in 1970, with a feature victory. Tony started ninth in the feature and it took him just three laps this time to find his way to the front. A couple of restarts didn’t faze Blake and he held on to go two for two in feature victories. The talk after the race was, “Can Tony make a clean sweep for the Triple Crown at Cornwall”? Blake would make things look hard for himself early but the sign of a true champion, he came through when the money was on the table. He didn’t fair too well in the qualifying heat but managed to finish third in the trophy dash and second in the Semi. However the speedy Blake turned it on in the feature and once again romped to a convincing win making it three for three in just 48 hours of racing and once again affirmed he was the “Flying Englishman”, taking Eastern Ontario racing by storm.

Until next time, keep going fast and turning left and join me again next week for another trip down Memory Lane!

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Memory Lane: Back In The Summer Of ’82

Memory Lane: Back In The Summer Of ’82

By Randy Spencer / OntarioOval.com – In this edition of Memory Lane I take you back to an 11 day span of days in 1982. Before the days of high gas prices and with a multitude of tracks to race at, racing more than 1 or 2 nights a week was very common. Take an 11 day span between  June 24th and July 4th. The man everyone loved to hate, Daytona Don Biederman raced at 7 events during that 11 day span and the #43 John Thompson sponsored car found victory lane in 4 of them.

The fun got underway June 24th in Mt. Clemens Michigan at the Winston 100. The event consisted of 2-50 laps events for Grand American cars. Many were out to watch another Biederman vs Hanley match up, and they didn’t leave disappointed. In the first 50, Hanley made his way to the front, followed soon by Biederman. A few laps later, Biederman spun Hanley and took the victory in the first 50 lapper. As the cars came around to start the second 50, Biderman was on the pole. All eyes were on Hanley as the crowd were expecting some pay back when Hanley caught up to Biederman. By lap 22, Hanley caught Don and going into turn three, Hanley got his nose under Biederman spinning him, to the joy of the crowd. Biederman made a quick pit stop and made it back for the start but was unable to make up lost ground. Tracy Leslie won the second race but Biederman was awarded the Winston medallion as overall winner. Quick turn around for a race at Delaware the next night but Mother Nature had other ideas and the program was cut short by rain.

Two nights later, Biederman was back at it, this time at Flamboro Speedway. He started at the back of the pack and went all the way to the front and captured another checkered flag. Along with the feature winners purse he also received a nice bonus pocketing $10 for every car he passed. The next afternoon it was down the road to Cayuga for the Molson 200. His day didn’t finish as well as the last two as overheating problems ended his chance at a third consecutive win on lap 23 of 200. Three days later, Biederman made his way to Brighton Speedway to race on the dirt for a 100 lap Late Model Invitational. Biederman’s 331 cu. in. of power proved too much for the Brighton regulars (they were restricted to 320 cu.in.) and Dandy Don made off with a cool $1800 in first prize money (that’s more than $4300 in today’s $$) and also set a new lap record in the process with a time of 16.28 seconds around the 1/3 mile clay oval.

July 2nd, Biederman was back at it down the 401 at Delaware Speedway. The feature race from the previous week’s rain shortened program was first. Biederman started way back in the 18 car field. To the cheers of many in attendance, Biederman spun out on lap four while making his charge to the front. At the back once again, it didn’t take him long to head for the front. Knocking off traffic at an alarming rate, Biederman was up to third by lap 20. Two laps later as Biederman was attempting to make a pass on the outside, he touched with another car and the two went around in a cloud of dust ending his attempt at the feature win. In the second feature, Biederman put veteran Bill Watson in the driver’s seat as he left at an attempt to make it to another track to race that same night! (Not sure where that was!!)

The final two races in his 11 day escapade were at Sauble Speedway. The second last race was fourth event in the 1982 Goodyear Eagle Racing Series. Going into the race Biederman was on top of the points ladder and his dominance of the series would continue. Biederman got by Bill Zardo on lap 22 of the 50 lapper and once out in front, Biederman had the race well in hand and as the checkered flag flew he had a two second advantage over the second place car of Wayne Howden. As I mentioned Biderman was dominating…it was his fourth victory in as many series races. The next day was the fifth event for the CASCAR Craven Championship Series. Biederman didn’t let up as he was the fastest car in time trials but lost the pole on a coin toss to veteran Jack Cook. On lap 22 Biederman’s Camaro started to develop some problems and it quit sending the feisty one to the pits. He rejoined the race three laps later and this lit a fire on Don. By lap 70 he had made it to the back bumper of leader Frank Fraser. Unable to get by Fraser, Biederman “rammed” him off the track and to the dismay of many, Fraser was at the back but no black flag for Biederman. He started to fall back but once again caught fire and moved up to fourth with 10 laps to go behind Don Hawn. Biederman got mixed up with Hawn sending him to the grass and once again, “no flags of any hue appeared!” But it didn’t matter in the end as veteran Jack Cook of Richmond Hill won his second straight CASCAR event. With that race, it brought to and end a very busy 11 days for Daytona Don. Undoubtedly, he started another run of racing over the next couple of nights, and another and another and so on. That’s what these guys did back in the good old days!

Until next time, keep going fast and turning left and join me again next week for another trip down Memory Lane!

-with files from Wheelspin News

Photos from Delaware Speedway Program & Peter Anderson Photography

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Memory Lane: Stoney Creek’s Speedway Park

Memory Lane: Stoney Creek’s Speedway Park

By Randy Spencer / OntarioOval.com – In this edition of Memory Lane I take you back to August 19, 1972. The place…Speedway Park in Stoney Creek, home to Late Models and Hobby cars. From 1961 until the mid 70′s, Speedway Park was home to some of the finest racing around. It started out as a dirt track but was paved over prior to the start of the 1971 season. This “paved” the way for some big sponsored races and one was held that night called the Castrol 100.

All the big names were in town, Earl Ross, Terry Kitchen, Andy Brown, Bill Watson, Jack Cook, Jerry Makara and Norm Lelliott, just to name a few. Earl Ross led the first 42 laps in his ’72 Camaro and looked virtually unbeatable. But he began to slow. Terry Kitchen, who had just assumed second place after a brilliant move to get by Ray Gullison, quickly made the best of Ross’ misfortune and put his #8 1970 Van Dyke Mustang out in front. Many of the top runners met the same demise as Ross. Andy Brown spun out of the race on lap 16. The usually consistent Ralph Book was out at lap 29. Jack Cook ran a good race in fourth for 32 laps but his battle with Lelliott proved to much and his engine expired on the 33rd lap.

One driver made it interesting as he chased down the leader Kitchen. Starting 16th, Jerry Makara from Westland, Michigan, made his way through traffic and by lap 30th he found his way to sixth spot. Makara was using the inside lane to make his progress and with 23 laps to go moved into 5th. Over the next 14 laps he got by Ray Gullison, Ken Cassell, Howie Scannell and Norm Lelliott and was knocking on Kitchen’s back door. But Terry Kitchen of Burlington put together one beautiful 100 lap performance to win the featured Castrol 100.
Top 5 were Terry Kitchen, Jerry Makara, Norm Lelliott, Ray Gullison and Howie Scannell.

In Hobby action, Bill Lyons continued his torrid pace and was the top gun on the night. He moved out to a quick lead followed closely by Wayne Keeling and Merl Godfrey. After shadowing Keeling for 2 laps, Lyons checked out and was gone overpowering the rest of the field and for the rest of the race it was just a matter of time and counting off the laps. Top 5 were Bill Lyons, Wayne Keeling, Merl Godfrey, Fred Poets and Dale Watson.

with files and pictures from the Speedway Park program and ‘Tex’ Swiston

Stay tuned next week for another trip down Memory Lane!

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Memory Lane: Begolo’s Memorable Rookie Win

Memory Lane: Begolo’s Memorable Rookie Win

By Randy Spencer / OntarioOval.com – In this edition of Memory Lane I take you back to July 3, 1983 at Humberstone Speedway in Port Colborne. On tap that day was the running of the 100 lap feature race dubbed the Molson 100.

All the big names were there, Harvey Hainer, Joe Plazek, Brian Stevens, Don McGinnis and the legendary Pete Bicknell and Davey Moore. With first place money of $1800 (over $4000 in today’s money) it was going to be fight. With all the talent in the field one wouldn’t likely put a wager on a rookie to take the checkers, but that turned out to be the case that day. Ron Duplantis was on the pole with Al Wagner second, Jimmy Begolo third, Joe Plazek fourth and Bill Stuyvenberg starting in the fifth spot.

When the main event got underway, Duplantis took the lead early followed by Begolo. After a caution Begolo assumed the lead and began to build a big lead over Wagner. By lap 27 the veteran Bicknell found his way to Begolo’s bumper. Another legend in local dirt racing, Davey Moore caught Bicknell by lap 45 and the two battled for second and third for several laps. By lap 50 Moore got past Bicknell but the battle took its toll and Moore retired to the infield just a few laps later. At lap 60 the top five were Begolo, Bicknell, Wagner, McGinnis and Stevens. McGinnis spun and was out of the picture. Lap 80 saw Bicknell really pushing Begolo. Bicknell was fresh off a big win earlier in the day at the 320 race in Syracuse battled Begolo to the end but to no avail as the rookie Begolo crossed the line, hand in the air to signal victory to the surprise of many and delight of all.

Begolo ran an almost flawless race to secure his first ever Modified feature. The  22 year old couldn’t hide his smile in victory lane and said, “It certainly feels good. We finished second at Merrittville last night and we were ready.” Crew chief and dad Gene couldn’t hide his feelings either. “I’m very happy for him. I’m really excited. He’s been so close so many times, we finally broke the ice.” Bicknell agreed with many other drivers that Begolo couldn’t be caught that night. Bicknell was asked if he could have beat him with a big block…he shook his head sideways. It was Begolo’s night and he wouldn’t be denied.

Top 5 – 1) Jimmy Begolo 2) Pete Bicknell 3) Brian Stevens 4) Harvey Hanier 5) Mark Elsie

with files from Stock Car News Journal

Photo by Sherry Collins

Stay tuned next week for another trip down Memory Lane!

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Memory Lane: CNE And Pinecrest Being Remembered

Memory Lane: CNE And Pinecrest Being Remembered

By Randy Spencer / OntarioOval.com   This Saturday, a very special reunion is taking place. The Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame is inviting anyone interested to attend a reunion of drivers and fans to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the openings of the CNE and Pinecrest Speedways. In honour of this special event, today in Memory Lane I thought I would talk about these two amazing tracks, that have long since closed.

Racing was big at the Exhibition grounds in Toronto for many years but between 1952 and 1966, were by far the years the track really flourished. The first race took place on April 22, 1952 and the day was cold and wet but unlike today, racing went rain or shine at both the C.N.E. (and Pinecrest since they both had covered grandstands.) Tom Forbes won the very first feature. Modifieds were the first division and the Midget series made their first appearance in year one. As the popularity grew, some of the largest crowds to watch racing were at the C.N.E. and a crowd of almost 20,000 were on hand for a special July 1st race. NASCAR Late Models made several appearances in the early years and included drivers like Lee Petty and Buck Baker. The NASCAR Convertible Division also appeared at the C.N.E. and it featured a couple more well known drivers like Joe Weatherly and “Tiger” Tom Pistone. Many of the stars of the early years were some of the greatest  Canadian racers of all-time like Jimmy Howard, Ted Hogan, George Bowers, Norm Brioux and Wallie Branston. In 1955, the Jalopy division was added to the racing card. In late 1958, racing almost ended at the Toronto Argos of the CFL moved in to make it their new home. But a deal was worked out with the C.N.E. and the track was changed to a quarter mile from a one third mile oval with the football field in the middle. In 1960, a couple of firsts included the first Sunday race at the Exhibition track and the yellow flag was introduced for the first time.

On November 23, 1960, the racing world lost one if it’s greatest stars. Ted Hogan died when his plane crashed into Lake Ontario. Hogan had just come off winning the points championship and was at the top of his game. Glen Schurr took over the Hogan car and  the Ted Hogan Memorial Night took place on July 4, 1961. About 40 former C.N.E. racers were on hand to honor Hogan. In 1961, USAC Sprint cars were added to the show. February 28, 1964 was a day of change at the C.N.E. as it was announced that the Super Modifieds would be replaced by Late Models. Harvey Lennox won the last Super modified feature and many of the other stars of the day like Jack Greedy, Glen Schurr, Jack McCutcheon, Norm Mackereth and Jimmy Howard  were gone and replaced by new stars that included Doug Warnes, Jack Cook, Vic Parsons, Howie Scannell, Norm Lelliott and John Shirtliff. Cook was dominant and won the last three Late Model championships. In late 1966, came word that the  track would close at seasons end and would be replaced by a rubberized track for track and field events. The closure was bad for the racing fans of Toronto but many of the racers made their way to other local tracks. The C.N.E. drivers were not welcome at the rival Pinecrest Speedway so many of the stars mentioned above left for Delaware, Nilestown and Flamboro Speedways. Racing at the C.N.E. made one final appearance in 1990 but unfortunately it only lasted one season.

Talk to any race fan of my vintage or older and mention Pinecrest Speedway, a smile will likely appear. So many great memories of one of the most well known tracks, called Canada’s Number One oval at one point in it’s history. Racing first appeared about 1948 at the location of where the reunion will be held. (at the original Pinecrest Restaurant on Highway 7, between Keele and Jane Streets. The Pinecrest Speedway used to be behind the restaurant but is now an industrial area.) A half mile dirt track opened in July of 1948. The latest edition of Pinecrest opened in May, 1952. Joe Cappy and Norm Smith were the owners and the 1/4 mile paved oval often drew crowds of 4,000 spectators. In 1963, Pinecrest elected to drop the popular Super Modifieds for the up and coming Late Models. Some of the new stars included Ray Gullison, Jim Hallahan, George Reuffer, Phil Zampino and Ross Howes. Several improvements took place through the 60′s including adding  grandstands, new walls and better lighting. In February 1972, Rocco Dicarlo became the new owner and would be in charge until the track closed. Big races came to the track with the Export A and Carling O’Keefe races and these often drew crowds approaching 15,000. In August of 1976 it was announced that Pinecrest would be closing at the end of the season. The last feature was won by the point champion that year, Tom Milligan. The land was sold and the track torn down and all that remains today is the original restaurant where so many racers would gather to talk about the racing events over a few cold ones.

So if you want to meet some of the stars of days gone by and talk racing from the Golden Era, makes plans to attend, admission is free. The reunion will take place on Sat., May 19, at 11:30 a.m. at the original Pinecrest Restaurant on Highway 7, between Keele and Jane streets. Drivers from Back in the Day will be introduced by the  voice  of Pinecrest, Ernie Martin and his assistant, long time Toronto radio personality and columnist, Ted Woloshyn . There will be a couple of great books documenting the early days of racing at the C.N.E. and in Ontario. The Golden Years of Stock Car Racing In Toronto by Nate Salter and Remember When by Rick Sharples will be available for sale.

Thanks to Rod Henderson of www.CanadianRacer.com, where much of the information on these tracks is available and gathered for this story. Check them out for a much more detailed account of theses and the over 800 race tracks have operated in Canada over the years are listed. An amazing site for racing history.

Also files from January 1967 Wheelspin News and my collection of Pinecrest and C.N.E. programs.

Stay tuned next week for another trip down Memory Lane!

Pictures from the Jim Dunham Collection

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Memory Lane: Allison vs. Petty At Mosport

Memory Lane: Allison vs. Petty At Mosport

By Randy Spencer / OntarioOval.com – Today in Memory Lane I take you back to July 21, 1974 at the Mosport Speedway in Bowmanville. Export ‘A’ was a big sponsor of motorsports and ran a series offering big money and it drew some of the big runners from Canada and the United States including the “King” Richard Petty and Bobby Allison. Petty, billed as NASCAR’s winningest driver and Hueytown, Alabama’s Allison raced the car he debuted the year before at Cayuga. Allison was on the pole with Petty right a long side on the outside. Total purse for the Export ‘A’ Mosport 100 was $25,000…that would be the equivalent of over $120,000 in today’s money. At day’s end, the two stars would find themselves at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Richard Petty was driving Montreal’s Jean Paul Cabana’s Chevrolet, the first time he had ever driven a Chevy. He was never really in the race as he slid off the track in the second corner of the first lap and was unable to continue. That corner caused problems that entire weekend, including local favorite Terry Kitchen demolished his car in Saturday practice when it slid off the same corner, jumped the guard rail and rolled several times down the hill. He was shaken but raced Wayne Keeling’s car in Sunday’s race and finished 18th.

Allison ended up holding the checkered flag and managed to lead from start to finish. Other than a last minute charge by another local favorite, Norm Lelliott, Allison wasn’t really tested. Lelliott’s day didn’t start well however. His water temperature gauge was acting up and had to pit early to have it checked. It proved costly even though when Allison pitted on lap 34, Lelliott gained back some valuable time, he still ended up 5 seconds back of the leader when all was said and done. Of the 29 cars that took the green flag just 3 cars finished on the lead lap. Allison finished first taking home $3200.00, Lelliott was second winning a cool $2590.00 and Tom Maier of Midland Michigan was credited with a third place finish after battling for the first half of the race behind Allison. He too lost valuable time on track when he had to slow to a stop when Doug Crocker’s car blew an engine mid way through the race. Maier collected $2000.00 for his efforts.

Top 5 : 1) Bobby Allison 2) Norm Lelliott 3) Tom Maier 4) Jerry Makara 5) Howie Scannell

with files from C.A.R. Weekly

Photos from C.A.R. Weekly Racing News

Stay tuned next week for another trip down Memory Lane!

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Memory Lane: Flamboro’s First Late Model Race

Memory Lane: Flamboro’s First Late Model Race

By Randy Spencer / OntarioOval.com – Today in Memory Lane I take you back to August 9, 1967. The first ever Late Model race at Flamboro Speedway was witnessed by a near capacity crowd. In the late 60′s, many tracks were abandoning the very popular Super Modified cars for cars known as Late Models. They were closer to what many people drove as street cars back then and fans could relate and more importantly, they were also cheaper to run. It was however received with mixed reaction. Die hard modified fans rejected the new cars before they even saw them. Late Model fans, who made up the majority of the crowd that night, were very enthusiastic about the performance.

A few obstacles made the event a little less spectacular however. A similar International event was held at a track just south of the border and many of the “First Class” American drivers stayed away. The cars were on trial by many who were opposed and the fast cars started at the front and of course, stayed in front and this in turn made it hard to really see how good some of the fast cars could be. The two most well known American entries proved their worth in qualifying. Michigan drivers Ed Howes and Bob Senneker qualified one-two with times of 17.55 and 17.58 respectively. Canadians Norm Lelliott, Paul Lalonde and Doug Warnes rounded out the top 5, just .41 seconds apart.

When the green flag flew to get the race underway, not knowing the track, no one wanted to experiment with the high groove and lose valuable real estate and get railroaded. But Vic Parsons decided to make the move and quickly found the high line to his liking.  Meticulously, Parsons made his way around the oval picking his targets one at a time. By lap 26 he managed to get by all the front runners via the high groove and took the lead. Seeing how well this was working for Parsons, Norm Lelliott decided to try his hand and it worked well for him… well enough that he caught and overtook Parsons for the lead. Once out in front, Lelliott had his way. He lapped the entire field, less Senneker, Howes and Warnes by lap 60 and coasted to a very convincing win, becoming the answer to a trivia question, the first ever Late Model feature winner at the Flamboro oval.

How they finished : 1) Norm Lelliott 2) Bob Senneker 3) Ed Howes 4) Doug Warnes 5) Lloyd Howard 6) Bill Walsh 7) Al Seagram 8) Bill Burrows 9) Earl Ross 10) Vic Parson

Stay tuned next week for another trip down Memory Lane!!

-with files from International Wheelspin News

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Memory Lane: A Wild And Cold Flamboro Night

Memory Lane: A Wild And Cold Flamboro Night

By Randy Spencer / OntarioOval.com – Today in Memory Lane I take you back to 1980. It’s a bit reminiscent of this past weekend and likely this coming one as well at Flamboro Speedway. The early start often causes problems for fans and drivers and cars a like. Back on May 31st of that year, everyone in attendance braved a Severe Storm warning and a cold wind, but a large crowd of 4,500 showed up nonetheless and were treated to a great night of racing, with a familiar name coming out holding the checkered flag. Don Biederman #43, a racer you either loved or hated was at his best that night. Earlier in the evening he won the Trophy Dash. He started 12th in the feature field and but thanks to his gutsy driving style that I talked about last week, the veteran found himself up to 2nd place by lap 3. He would take the lead two laps later and never looked back.

As the race progressed it looked as though Biederman would run away and hide. But half way through the feature and as often happens, lapped traffic was becoming an issue for Biederman and the rest of the leaders. Ron “Peaches” Pearn cut Biederman’s lead to 4 car lengths but the cool weather caused handling problems for the Late Models. As we know when the track gets cold the tire compound becomes hard and causes the cars to slide in the corners with little adhesion to the track. Several mishaps would occur. After another clean up on lap 22, the green flag flew once again but just as soon as green flew, yellow would once again come out, this time involving the third place car of Jack Hollis. Flamboro track officials agreed after several attempts to get the feature restarted, to no avail, they dropped the checkered flag once again on Don Biederman. Other winners that night were Lee Jerome in the Hobby feature and Charles King in the Street Stock main event. Oddly enough it seemed on that night an even bigger spectacle was when the Flamboro fire crew battled a fire in a Winnebago camper. Who remembers that !!?? Another wild and crazy night at the track! Stay tuned next week for another trip Down Memory Lane!!

-with files from Wheelspin News

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Memory Lane: Biederman Wins The Maple Leaf 250

Memory Lane: Biederman Wins The Maple Leaf 250

By Randy Spencer / OntarioOval.com – Today in Memory Lane I take you back to the summer of 1977 and the Maple Leaf 250 at Cayuga Speedway. For the previous six years, racers from south of the border dominated and took the checkered flag in every race. But one man had enough of this U.S. invasion and showed who was best that day. Don Biederman’s back to back victories in the twin 125 lap features gave ‘Daytona’ Don the distinction of becoming the first Canadian racer to win Cayuga’s longest and richest race. In the first 125 lap feature, Biederman battled with American Bob Carnes and when the Michigan native hit some oil on the track and spun, the crafty Biederman went to work. Biederman clipped Carnes, but managed to make it through and led the final 40 laps for the victory. It wasn’t easy though as the cunning one battled tooth and nail with a hard charging Fred Bullen, but held on to take the checkers.

The top 25 cars from the first race were inverted for round two and Biederman found himself mid pack. Like in round one, Biederman would eventually end up on the bumper of Carnes, this time early in the race, on lap 30. But when Carnes lost oil pressure he surrendered the lead once again to Biederman and other than Bill Watson getting close by lap 50, the crafty Biederman faced no real challenge and won round two. On the strength of his two, first place finishes, Don Biederman was named overall winner and drove away with a cool $3,000 in purse and contingency money…. that’s over $11,00 in today’s money. (I always like to convert the prize money to what it would be today!) It was Biederman’s first major Cayuga win in several years, but certainly not the last. Stay tuned for another Memory Lane feature next week.

-files from Cayuga Speedway program

Photos by Bob Hunter and Bert Sabourin and the Cayuga Speedway program.

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Memory Lane: A Vintage Return

Memory Lane: A Vintage Return

By Randy Spencer / OntarioOval.com – Today in Memory Lane I take you back to the Summer of 1987. One of the finest ovals in eastern Ontario was Westgate Speedway or Peterborough-Westgate Speedway as it was known for only the ’87 season. That year one of Canada’s oldest continually active racing organizations, the Hobby Club, or Canadian Vintage Modifieds, paid a visit to the track and it was their first trip in since 1974. At that time it was still a 1/4 mile oval, it wouldn’t be expanded to a third mile until the 1993 season.

For a few of the drivers it brought back some great memories. Names like Jim English, Jim Collison and the “Iron Man” Gary Elliott had raced their before but for the rest of the club…they were venturing into uncharted waters. The stands were packed and the fans didn’t leave disappointed. So much so the promoter of the track had an open invitation to the club to return anytime.

Nineteen cars were in the pits and put on one of the finest shows of the season. Jim English and Charlie Beck won their respective heats. In the feature race, Gary Elliott and Charlie Beck were battling each other hard for second as Mike Kostal, who started on the pole, seemed to be pulling away to an assured victory. But on the final lap in the final corner, Beck slipped his Serv-A Station Maintenance Chevy between a lapped car and Kostal to take the checkered flag.

Surely one of the many great memories for Charlie’s biggest fan and supporter… his wife Georgia as well as the many fans there to witness it. Sadly we lost a great racer when Charlie past way in early February of this year. Stay tuned for another Memory Lane feature next week.

-files from Performance Racing News

Photos by Dave Franks / www.davefranksphotos.com

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Memory Lane: The 1982 Molson 200 At Cayuga

Memory Lane: The 1982 Molson 200 At Cayuga

By Randy Spencer / OntarioOval.com – Today in Memory Lane, we go back to June 27, 1982. The place, Cayuga Speedway. The previous year, interest at racing at Canada’s crown jewel of racing was waning. Owner Bob Slack closed the doors for good or so it was thought. Early in 1982, Molson Breweries signed a 3 year contract with Cayuga and just a couple months later a big race was planned with some of the greatest short track and NASCAR drivers of all time, on hand for the big race. Two time NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip was the main attraction. Future NASCAR stars Alan Kulwicki and Rusty Wallace were on hand. Some of the greatest A.S.A. circuit drivers were there…Dick Trickle, Bob Senneker and Mike Eddy among several others. And of course, two of the greatest racers that battled and dominated Late Model racing for years. Jr. Hanley and Don Biederman and hometown hero Randy Slack.

On the big day, the crowd was estimated at 12, 750, and the stars didn’t disappoint. Kulwicki led the first 52 laps. Hanley led lap 53 to 128, followed closely by Kulwicki, Trickle and Senneker. On lap 71, Howie Scannell got into the wall in turn four and brought out a caution. It came at a good time for veteran Bob Senneker who had a tire going down. The veteran managed to get in and out and challenged for the lead. However, Jr Hanley was not going to be out done on his home soil. Hanley with some crafty driving and daring moves and built up a four second lead on Kulwicki and Senneker. But lap 128 brought another caution when Bill Snowden took out a light post and Hanley and Kulwicki headed for the pits. Senneker stayed out and took over the lead. Hanley’s day started to go bad. A broken brake hose was leaking and he was destined to run out of brakes, but continued to charge. Another caution narrowed the lead lap field to five, Senneker, Kulwicki, Butch Miller, Hanley and Trickle. Senneker still leading by lap 180 by 3 seconds, but he wasn’t home free. A caution with 10 laps to go brought the pack close and Kulwicki, Hanley and Trickle were knocking on Senneker’s back door.

On lap 194 Hanley had a tire problem and brought out the caution and ended finishing one lap down. When the final green dropped Senneker and Kulwicki picked up where they left off as Kulwicki grazed the front wall in an attempt to pass Senneker for the win but the veteran from Dorr, Michigan held the future NASCAR champion off and took the checkered flag and led the final 71 laps. Top 5 were Senneker, Kulwicki, Trickle, Wallace and Randy Slack. Hanley finished 8th, Waltrip was ninth and Don Biederman finished 32nd and last after his car overheated on lap 23. The sentimental favorite, Darrell Waltrip was in a completely untested ride and ended up being no contest for his ASA rivals. Race winner Senneker said after the race, “Put Darrell in the right car, one that’s ready, then I’d have to say he would take us. People forget short track racing is where he came from in the beginning.” Other Canadians finished as follows, Wayne Keeling 12th, Bill Stephenson 15th, Mike Shaughnessy 17th, Bill Snowden 24th, Howie Scannell 25th and Rich Grady 30th. Personally I remember being at that race and all I remember is how disappointed that my favorite NASCAR driver, Darrell Waltrip in the Mountain Dew-Dillon Camaro didn’t win. What a shame that this once great track now sits empty and dark, we can only hope it regains some of its once great stature and we can re-live some of these memories in person. Stay tuned next week for another trip down Racing’s Memory Lane!

-files from Stock Car Racing News

Photos by Randy Spencer

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Memory Lane: Speedway Nostalgia

Memory Lane: Speedway Nostalgia

By Greg Calnan / OntarioOval.com – As a youngster growing up in Eastern Ontario I have fond memories of traveling to race tracks both near and far. In fact, for three generations our family has been race fans dating back to the Watertown and Kingston Speedways days. Back then a trip of that distance was a big deal. Fast forward to my generation and an hour or two drive to a race track is a welcome break from the longer distances we travel.

My earliest memories from the grandstand come from Can-Am Speedway in Lafargeville, New York. Every week my parents would load up the car and head across the border to see dirt racing on one of the fastest tracks in the area. It certainly earned its nickname the ‘Nasty Track of the North’. Some of the wildest crashes I have ever seen happened on that 5/8 mile clay oval. During those years I remember watching drivers like Marcel Lafrance, Dave Heaslip, John Dahm, Doug Carlyle and of course a couple of up and coming hotshoes… the O’Brien brothers. I enjoyed the modifieds, but was also a fan of the 6 Cylinder Late Models. Some of my favourite events were the challenge races between Can-Am, Brighton, Ridgetown and South Buxton. It was great to see how the best from each track stacked up against each other.

During the 80′s we also attended Brockville, Cornwall and Brighton along with various other dirt tracks in New York State. Those days seem so far gone, and come to think of it… they are. Thankfully a friend of OntarioOval.com, Craig Revelle, has compiled a website that documents some of the great racing that took past during the era that I grew up in. In fact, he has some stuff from well before my time.

Craig’s site is called Speedway Nostalgia and features photos from various tracks in the northeast. Ironically, I remember Craig as a kid at Can-Am. He would be there every week with his set of flags controlling the action from his seat in the front row. At that time I didn’t know his name and little did I know that our paths would cross some 30 years later.

It is great to look back at these old photos and have names you thought you had long forgot pop back into your mind. It certainly brings back the memories while at the same time makes a person feel old.

I encourage everyone to visit Craig’s site at www.SpeedwayNostalgia.com. At the bottom of the main page are links to photo galleries from a number of tracks including Brighton, Brockville, Can-Am, Capital City and Cornwall. He has done a great job with the website and continues to add to it regularily.  If you have photos that you can contribute I am sure he would be happy to add them.

That is all for this look back, we’ll see you on our next trip down Memory Lane!

For more information visit: www.SpeedwayNostalgia.com

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