Chuck Richardson entered the world of racing at Merrittville Speedway, during it’s infancy. In 1953, this trained mechanic took the wheel of Aalto’s #100 stock car, which was the beginning of the Weller Park Garage racing team where Chuck worked as a mechanic. Chuck worked by day as a mechanic raised his family which included four daughters, during the week and served his apprenticeship as a stock car driver on weekends. To gain experience Chuck competed at race tracks on both sides of the border, including the now defunct Cuba Lake Raceway, but on Saturday nights he competed against the likes of 1952 Champion Orville Kelley, Jerry Winger, Ray Stevens, Tommy Cook, Bruce Swartz, Don Ledingham, Murray Stricker, Jeno Begolo, Eric Bradt, Fred Hurst and Bruce Van Dyke at Merrittville Speedway.
This experience would be a baptism of fire as the close competition and large fields of the flathead powered coupes, mostly Fords, would thrill the fans every Saturday night even during Merrittville Speedway’s 2nd year of operation, as a 1/4 mile banked oval.
During 1954, the competition heated up and so did Chuck’s driving, finishing in the top ten in his Ford Coupe, behind track champion Orville Kelley’s #3 Weller Park Garage Special. At the end of 1954 Orville Kelley retired from racing and Al Aalto and Butch Bogusat formed the most formidable team to appear at Merrittville Speedway. They built two 1937 Ford Coupes, #32 would be piloted by Murray Stricker and #31 would be driven by Chuck Richardson.
With the advent of the modern overhead valved engine, the Weller Park Garage Ford Coupes would be contenders for the 1955 Championship with Murray Stricker becoming our 1955 Champion and repeating in 1956 now with a Thunderbird powered coupe, with sponsorship from Niagara Tile Centre and Al Aalto’s Church Road Motors.
Through all of this competition, Chuck Richardson was becoming a consistent top contender in his #31 Ford Coupe. From 1956 to 1960, the #31 Coupe would become a top runner at area ovals, racing at not only Merrittville Speedway, but the new Ransomville Speedway and even at Lancaster Speedway, when it was dirt. Chuck would be a multiple track champion at Ransomville.
The #31 Coupe, now owned by Jimmy Binks was now one of the top race cars in 1961 and 1962, competing at Merrittville Speedway and was now a top 3 points contender against the likes of newcomers Lloyd Holt, Sandy MacPherson and Alex Gunn. Many believe that 1961 was Chuck’s best year, racing for many feature wins, against the #22 of Bill Rafter, #0 Ed Ortiz, #8 Cam Gagliardi and 1959 and 1960 champion George Winger #18.
When Speedway Park opened in 1962 Chuck Richardson’s #31 sportsman coupe was on hand for the ceremonial first lap around then Canada’s most modern 1/3 banked oval in Stoney Creek. In a nutshell Chuck Richardson had raced and helped open most every southern Ontario dirt track that is still operating today. Chuck would continue to race in the top sportsman division on and off for 4 more years.
When Bill Dominey sponsored and owned one of his stock cars during the 1960's Chuck Richardson would drive it. When Chuck decided to hang up his helmet he would continue his relationship with Bill Dominey as a mechanic at his Toyota dealership and worked and maintained the mini stocks.
While Chuck Richardson passed away a few years ago, his racing legacy lives on as one of the leading competitors especially during the era of the mid 1950's as a member of the #31 or #32 Championship Race Team owned by Al Aalto.
Tonight we honour the memory of one of Merrittville’s racing pioneers - #31 Chuck Richardson, who will take his place on Merrittville Speedway’s Alumni Wall of Fame joining his team mate - 1955-56 track champion Murray Stricker.
Tonight we are pleased to have the Richardson Family here, daughters Charlene, Sharon, Patricia and Carol Ann as well as sons Patrick and Mike and wife Louise.