THE DEAGLE BROTHERS
Denny, Don and Larry
When tracing the racing history at both Merrittville Speedway and Speedway Park it is hard not to recognize the competitive spirit of these three brothers during the 1960's and 1970's in not just one division but all three divisions of racing at Merrittville Speedway, but how did they all end up in dirt track racing. During the late 50's early 1960 season, Denny and Don were racing at the now defunct CNE grounds in Toronto and then when Speedway Park was built in 1961, these Hamilton natives built or converted their cars to race on the new 1/3 mile oval in Hamilton on Friday nights, because the cost of racing on asphalt was becoming too expensive even in 1960, according to Don Deagle.
The pair then migrated to race not only on Friday nights at Speedway Park, but also at Merrittville Speedway on Saturday nights. Denny was the most prevalent driver who competed with his #88 stock car, but soon moved in to very unique full fendered sportsman. Denny would stand out as his 1955 Ford Victoria #7 owned by Toronto’s Stan Miskin, winning his share of sportsman events. All the while, Don and brother Larry, would compete successfully in the new late model division. Don drove a #77 white Buick, while Larry drove a #23 Ski-doo Ford.
All three brothers were successful in their respective divisions. During the mid 60's, Ken Kavanagh, Bill Russell, John Marino and George Cullen, the owners of both Merrittville Speedway & Speedway Park adopted a totally new division featuring foreign cars. The mini-stock division was born and the Deagle brothers followed suit. At this time, Denny now driving Stan Miskin’s #7 Ford Fairlane in the modified super stock division continued his winning ways, while brother Don now drove his own #77 1950 Chevrolet Aerocoupe, now in the modified superstock division. Larry Deagle moved on from the late model division and built a wickedly fast silver Volkswagen bug #77 for this new mini-stock division. Not only did the mini stock division flourish, but brother Denny built a #78 Gulliver Motors mini-Cooper. It was quite a sight to see brothers Denny and Larry go head to head for the feature wins, racing as deep as four wide in the corners in a field of over 30 cars, against the likes of Stan Pochupec, Bob O’Hara, Larry Benjamins and Harry Vanderzanden.
It was super competitive and super fun to watch these miniature race cars speed around Merrittville’s oval. It was common to see Larry and Denny race each other and then have Denny climb right back into his #7 modified and race against his brother Don and his #77 modified for another feature race. Don would build a super fast #77 Acadian superstock and Denny would move over to a Chevy 11 superstock modified #22, owned by Bob Hill of St. Catharines. These two modified pilots would find success in no matter what they drove, and would always finish in the lead pack.
During the early 1970's, Don would move over to Tom Mallory’s #20 and Denny continued at the wheel of the #22 modified. Both retired from racing by the mid 1970's. The Deagle Brothers were unique to the stock car scene at Merrittville and Speedway Park, since the three brothers were the only ones to compete regularly in all three divisions, all in one night.
Tonight the Merrittville Speedway Reunion Committee would like to recognize the careers and contribution that Denny, Don and Larry Deagle made to dirt track racing, and helping to make the modified superstock, late model and mini-stocks grow in popularity with the fans and keep racing fun. We are pleased to have Don and Denny here with us tonight, however we will honour brother Larry posthumously.
Welcome to the Wall of Fame!