Dave Halliwell’s start to racing came the same time as Merrittville Speedway itself. Back on the Thorold track’s first ever event – July 1, 1952 – he was in the starting field.
While driving, Dave also crewed for Wall of Famer Orville Kelly in 1952.
Dave then joined the Sportsman Class in his Bunting Garage #89. Another Wall of Famer – Bruce Vandyke would help put the car together which Halliwell drove from 1953 to 1955.
1956 saw another change for Dave as he would join the Jalopy Division with his # J-15.
After a Jalopy Career that ran from 1956 to 1960 – Dave was forced to sit out the next year or move up. Dave would choose to step back from behind the wheel – but stayed very much involved in the sport. The 1961 and 1962 seasons saw him serve as Safety Man and Tech Inspector in addition to Corner Worker.
The 1963 Season saw Dave return once again as a Driver. With a new number – ‘23’ he would make a return to the Sportsman Division. It was a car that he built on his own. That year it debuted as the White Rose Gas Station #23. Eventually his 4 year run as driver it evolved into the Sam’s Auto Service Special. Dave would soon reunite with the Roberts Family.
He met his wife Lillian at Merrittville Speedway while Howie who had helped him with his car – was now working at the Front Gate in Ticket Sales while Harry Roberts was involved in track preparation. What Dave means to his family and the sport on the pit side, the Roberts were one of the numerous behind the scenes supporters of racing on the track staff side of the fence that continues to this day. Like the driver’s rosters from that first event 57 years ago to this day – there is a huge and perhaps unfinishable list of individuals who have worked behind the scenes all in harmony together – maintaining Merrittville’s status as the Best Family Entertainment in Niagara.
chapter to the Halliwell story would unfold when Dave would get
behind the racing career of his son Brian. Surely a highlight of his
illustrious career was in 1998 when Dave received the Billy
Matthews Memorial Award as Crew Chief of the Year – honoring
the season the father and son had. Brian would race for 15
years and after that stayed involved in the sport as well as an
official. In fact, Brian as recent as July 5th – donned a Lucas
Oil Official Uniform to pitch in for a vacationing Doug Bogar in
Dave’s son-in-law Rick Agnew was very much a part of Brian’s racing career but in recent years joined the Saturday Night staff as Assistant Pit Steward – helping out one of Dave’s long-time friends and L. St. Amand Enterprises Wall of Famer – Bob St. Amand, Sr. Rick has also joined the Tuesday Night Kart Scene as well – crewing for Vincent Pagnotta.
In addition to his son’s racing – Dave was instrumental in assisting drivers including Todd Zelichowski, Jeff Cook, Jay Tries, Kory Howe, Dave Gifford, Rick Baker and Jack Cassell. Dave Halliwell was admired for his strength, knowledge, patience and sense of humor and was respected by all that new him.
Dave Halliwell passed away in January of this year but many of his family and friends are with us tonight to celebrate his lifetime in the sport.
Congratulations – Papa Dave … Go Fast and Turn Left! and welcome to the L. St. Amand Enterprises Wall of Fame.