Giving Back to the Rookies
A young Mike Granton started his career at 19 years of age taking over the driving duties of a late model 1957 Chevrolet #77 way back in 1969, where he won his heat race and was hooked. Mike seemed to have a talent for driving and definitely a desire to race in Merrittville Speedway’s top modified division, and with fellow “Western Hill” resident Ray Stevens, they built a bright blue and yellow #33 modified coach. At one of Mike’s first outings at Weedsport, New York, he crashed the car, but with hard work they had the car fixed for Merrittville Speedway’s 1971 season opener.
Mike would learn quickly, under Ray’s guidance & would become the 1971 Rookie of the Year. After his start with Ray Stevens, Mike teamed up with Terry Edwards and formed the “Sissy and Sassy” racing team, and according to Mike, his #33 Sissy did most of the winning on the team. Again, Mike decided to move along, and this time he and friend Billy Matthews built a beautiful purple and gold #33 coupe and competed up and down the new D.I.R.T circuit, with his home track being Merrittville Speedway.
During the 1974 Merrittville Speedway 100 lap Schaeffer Qualifier, Mike was contesting for the win, when on lap 98 he got caught up in a tangle with Lloyd Holt causing the #15 to spin. This caution put Mike’s #33 behind leader Will Cagle’s #24 with 2 laps to go.
On the restart Mike passed Will Cagle and won the Qualifier - that is when the fun started! The Cagle crew protested the scoring and the #15 Holt crew was furious about the spin out. In the end, it was probably the biggest home town win of Mike Granton’s career. Mike and Billy Matthews sold the car to Carl Game and moved in to the new Gremlin style modified #33m owned by Bill Morden with engine power by Jim Binks. This car would be campaigned at Merrittville and as far away as Volusia County in Florida, racing against many greats such as Buzzie Reutimann. Mike would continue to race dirt modifieds through the mid 1980's, but then he was approached by fellow modified competitor Jimmy Horton to go Winston Cup racing along with brother in law Mike Hillman.
Mike Granton was now learning a new facet of racing as a fabricator, engine mechanic and crew member on a Winston Cup Team. When Jimmy Horton was replaced by Dick Trickle, Mike continued to gain experience as a Winston Cup fabricator and crew member and on race day was a right tire carrier and changer and was also responsible for tire matching. Mike was restless and returned home to St. Catharines and he and some of his veteran racing buddies decided to start a Hoosier Stock Rookie program.
In 2004, Mike put his fabrication talents together and built his first rookie car, a Hoosier Stock Camaro. Mike had not forgotten his roots and remembered Ray Stevens and Terry Edwards giving him his first big modified driving breaks. Mike scouted the go-kart races at Merrittville on Tuesday nights, and determined that Tyler McPherson deserved a break, to be able to move up to the next level. In 2004 the young “Rookie” would learn the ins and outs of Hoosier Stock racing, and then in 2005 the # 777 Camaro became a dominant force on the dirt tracks of Merrittville and Humberstone Speedways where Tyler took home multiple championships and Mike was rewarded with Crew Chief of the Year awards also at both tracks.
In late 2005, veteren driver Terry St. Amand decided he was going to make a come back into racing and pressed Granton to build him a Hoosier Stock for the 2006 Race Season. Terry started out racing with Mike Granton way back in 1969, as Rookies in the late-model division at Merrittville. For 2006, Tyler’s younger brother Cody earned his place as a rookie in the 777, because of his performance on the go kart tracks. One day Mike hopes to rejoin Mike Hillman, who is presently Ted Musgrave’s crew chief in the Craftsman Truck series, but for the mean time, Mike wants to treat deserving go kart drivers to a Rookie break in a good race car, much like he was given during the early 1970's as a Rookie.
Mike has remembered his friends in racing & is committed to giving young up & coming racers a chance in good equipment that they may not otherwise have.
We commend you on not only being a colourful modified driver, but also now as a fabricator, crew chief and for mentoring the next generation of race drivers at Merrittville Speedway.
Tonight Mike, the Merrittville Speedway Alumni Reunion Committee has not forgotten either as you take your place on our Wall of Fame.