While race fans of today enjoy the talents of drivers such as Todd ‘Sparky’ Gordon – the Gordon family name is like so many others that have graced Merrittville Speedway’s Pit Area. Racing is in their blood and before Todd’s XXX – his Dad made his won history in first his #71 and then the 8D. Back some 41 seasons ago, Doug ‘Flash’ Gordon would get his start in racing in the former Late Model Division in 1968 with a 1958 Ford. In his first time out he won his qualifying heat – a victory that he probably still remembers to this day.
Soon Doug would move on to drive a 1963 Chevrolet in the same Late Model Division for car owner John Cosby. Cosby bought the car from Lyndon Wood with the #38 changed easily to a 39 for Doug. Winding up his close to 5 year Late Model career, Doug would purchase another car – the #71 from John Swartz.
Another opportunity soon surfaced for Doug as a former Terry Edwards driven Coupe became available for car owner Phil Gerrie for the move to the Modified Division. Doug with get his start with the former #51 just as the Gremlin-bodied Tube Chassied racers were coming onto the local racing scene. Doug Gordon's car in 2001 In the mid 70’s Doug would soon land in a former Dave Lape car and what was interesting about this car was that it was the very first Show Car Engineering Car built by the late Howard Conkey. With this car and Doug’s rising talent – he and fellow racer Don Turner would share the Most Improved Driver Award in 1974.
With this car Doug would race from the 70’s into the 80’s at a time when Davey Moore would dominate winning a string of championships. One night in 1980 however was all Doug’s though as he would win his first Modified Feature. He did it in such a fashion – blowing his engine crossing the finish line.
The recession years of the 80’s drove Doug into other areas of the sport – first serving as a corner man and then as Assistant Starter while his wife Judy was developing as a Scorer herself – working in the tower at both Ransomville and Merrittville Speedways.
His first love was to be behind the wheel and as the 80’s became the 90’s he would make his return – teaming up with Neil and Ken Sharp to form Sharp Gordon Racing. While Doug’s name never made it to the annual Jerry Winger Trophy which we are also celebrating tonight – it did make it to the Sterling Silvr Award that honors Bill Willard Senior every Labor Day. Doug was the first winner of the Trophy for the Sportsman Division donated by former racer Ken Walsh in 1990 and still continues to this day.
As Doug’s driving career was winding down – it was his son Todd’s that was winding up. In the late 90’s Todd would join the former Pro Stock Division before joining the Modified ranks himself. In a career that has spanned some 40 years, Doug would get back behind the wheel in an instant. In fact that happened in recent years with Doug in Victory Lane after winning a Mechanics Race in Todd’s car. “If they were all like this,” relayed Doug about the 15 lap Fun Event, “I’d be back every week!”
Back in a late 90’s interview with Merrittville Speedway Reunion Committee Chairman Rick Kavanagh, Doug took the time to thank those that had helped with his racing career – one that started with fixing their race cars in Gary Saunders’ and Paul Christie’s driveways. Doug also mentioned Stan Friesen and Kurt Uhl, Ivan Little as well as Pete Bicknell and Randy Williamson. Doug’s racing involvement also included a stint working at Bicknell Racing Products where he learned a tremendous amount of technical knowledge.
Old friend Barry Robertson and the Sharps – Neil and Ken, last year’s Crew Chief of the Year Bob Walton and crew member Derek Miller have also been a big help to Flash. While Doug and Judy now cheer on their son Todd and keep his racing career develop – it’s only fitting that he meet up with those that have helped his racing career.
Doug – it’s your turn to join Gary Saunders, Ivan Little, Stan Friesen, Kurt Uhl, Lyndon Wood, Terry Edwards and Don Turner and a host of others on the L. St. Amand Enterprises Wall of Fame at Merrittville Speedway!
Congratulations from the Merrittville Speedway Reunion Committee!