Always a familiar and constant competitor on the Niagara Peninsula’s trio of dirt ovals, Merrittville, Humberstone and Speedway Park, this championship event winning driver honed his skills, crewing and driving his own Chevrolet coupe (modified) in the sportsman-superstock division.
Henry got the racing bug after visiting Speedway Park’s new 1/3 mile oval in 1961, with friends Fred Carleton Sr. And Bob Webster, both who would go on to establish their own respective sportsman and late model careers. All three friends would start driving their own race cars for the 1962 season. The Merrittville-Speedway Park connection would prove to be a fast-track for anyone wishing to break in to the ever growing sport of stock car racing.
Henry Shivak driving his #26 1937 Chevrolet Coupes, would win many heats and finish in the top 5 consistently, however, would have to wait for nearly 8 years to claim his first decisive feature win at Merrittville Speedway.
Once the blue #26 modified found victory lane, it would only show that Henry had served his apprenticeship. He continued to rack up feature wins at all three area ovals, against the likes of Jeno Begolo, Ivan Little, Mike Zajac, George Treanor and Jack Hollis.
In fact, Henry would chase George Treanor and Mike Zajac, who were tied for first at his hometrack, Speedway Park for the Sportsman-Superstock (modified) championship in 1969. Henry’s, Ryckman’s Corners Garage special “was now a consistent winner, with it’s 427 cu. in. engine, winning an abundance of special feature events especially from 1966 to 1971.
Unfortunately, Henry Shivak also holds one record, he would probably like us to forget and that happened during two feature events, his racer lost control and hit the starter’s stand-upside down, first at Speedway Park and then at Merrittville Speedway.
This was when the starter stood on a barricaded platform on the inside edge of the first straight
Tonight, Henry, we are here to honour you as a competitor, whose consistency was evident in the top division at not only Merrittville Speedway, but also at your home track, Speedway Park in Hamilton.
We salute the career of Henry Shivak and his blue #26 Ryckman’s Corner’s Special, now entering it’s place on the Merrittville Speedway Alumni Wall of Fame.