1973 Schaefer Qualifier
and Lloyd Holt

Lloyd Holt #16 battles Howard Disher #11, and Don McGinnis #52

As of 11:00 p.m. on August 3, 1998, another Syracuse Qualifier was in the books and it was one of the best races we've seen this year, especially for the local drivers. Even though Alan Johnson won the race, he did it in a local car owned by Mike Maroney. However, the big news was that local drivers Brian Stevens, Jim Begolo and Don McGinnis won the qualifying spots for Syracuse. Even though the format has changed it brought back one memory of a driver in his own car, 25 years ago, who won Merrittville's 100 lap Schaefer Qualifier, by the name of Lloyd Holt. Lloyd piloted his own gold #15 big block coupe and went on to represent Merrittville Speedway at Syracuse and was the first local driver to both win the race at Merrittville and also represent our local hopes for a win.

He did so by running a steady and calculating race, driving with the likes of Will Cagles' #24. Lady Luck wasn't on Cagles' side and Lloyd won the race picking up the $1,200.00 cheque and a guaranteed starting spot in the second annual Schaefer International 100. This race seemed to be the pinnacle of Lloyd's career but how did this talented pilot start his career? Lets look back to 1957. Stock Car racing was a relatively new sport and Merrittville Speedway was five years old. A young Lloyd Holt along with brother in law Harvey Hainer decided to build a jalopy, it was the new entry level class at Merrittville Speedway. Basically they took a stock Hudson with the big six cylinder removed all the glass and trim, installed roll bars and wife Betty painted the #23 on the doors.

A young 14 year old crewman by the name of Billy Mathews helped Lloyd and Harvey work on the race car at the family farm. After campaigning the big Hudson for a season, Lloyd moved up to a ride offered by Ray Stevens in the J-15 race car. The bright green and white car was more competitive and after a season or two, Lloyd moved in to contention as a front runner. For 1959, a young 21 year old Lloyd Holt showed his talent - winning the last jalopy race of the season and finishing a close second to Bill Binning in the final points standings. The rule of the jalopy division stated that the top five points finishers must move up to the Sportsman Division. Lloyd laid off for the 1960 and 1961, pursuing his interest in horses and returned in 1962 with a Sportsman coupe #15, competing at Merrittville Speedway and Speedway Park with brother in law Harvey Hainer and Billy Mathews maintaining the car. From 1962 to 1968, Lloyd, Ray, and Harvey campaigned various versions of the #15 coupe.

Competing mostly on dirt, but also running pavement. During the late 1960's Lloyd and Ray campaigned a full bodied Falcon #15 painted orange and white. Ray and Lloyd would race at Merrittville, but also compete at Ransomville, Lancaster and move on to Rolling Wheels. During the early 1970's Lloyd and his wife Betty would travel Ontario and the U.S. campaigning their gold #15 coupe. He started to pattern his racing cars from cars such as Will Cagles, and Buzzie Reutimann. Lloyd experimented with coil over suspension and patterned one of his coupes off of Cagles'. Lloyd would often trailer his coupes early in the season try some set ups with both coils and torsion bars. Some of his racing exploits included Reading Pennsylvania, as well as Canandaigua, but would always return to Merrittville Speedway as his home track.

 For 1973, Lloyd Holt made Merrittville Speedway his home track, collecting DIRT points during the organization's infancy. It was the success of 1973 that leaves a lasting impression, as the #15 gold Chevrolet coupe would represent Merrittville and Syracuse. If memory serves me correct, Lloyd progressed well in the race only to be involved in a mid race crash. By the mid 1970's Lloyd decided to retire as a driver, but both he and his wife Betty continued their passion to raise horses.

While his interest in racing still shows today, his main interest today is in raising cutting horses at his 20 acre farm near Ozark Alabama. Recently, Lloyd and Betty were back home near Jordan. I had a chance to visit with them briefly. Once we started talking, it was apparent to me that they both have a love of horses and still maintain an interest in auto racing and some of those people from Merrittville's past. It is with pride that I am able to announce that through Lloyd's generosity that both the Jerry Winger Memorial Trophy dating back to 1959 and the John Spencer Memorial from 1954 are being returned home to Merrittville Speedway's Reunion Committee, as guardians. If there were two races and awards that reflect our racing heritage its these two awards. On behalf of myself, Ted Renshaw, Bruce Swartz, Mark Lovell, the Irvine Family, and all of Merrittville's Alumni, we send a heart felt thank you.   Sincerely, Rick Kavanagh

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