George Treanor &Jim Binks
"1969-1979 Modified Champions. One Tough Customer”
What can you say about diminutive George Treanor, but Tough. George decided to go stock car racing in 1958 and instead of starting in the Jalopy division, he bought a stock car and soon found out that he was way over his head. In fact, George stated that he probably never passed a car during that first season.
In 1959, he got hooked up with an ex-Bill Willard car and it was a great learning experience. During 1960-61, George and Terry Edward teamed up and bought the ex George Winger Championship #18 panther car from Wimpy Nicholls. The short wheel based car ran strongly in its stock car class under the #77 Willard colours, sponsored by Joe Greer’s Texaco on Lake Street in St. Catharines. This car was a strong runner and while George and Terry shared the driving, many races were won with that racer. In fact, that car won 17 features as the 77J.
In 1963, George teamed up with St. Catharines car builder Wes Stephenson in a beautiful blue #86 sportsman coupe, and later in a beautiful 55 Chevrolet bodied sportsman. George Treanor &Jim Binks 1970 From 1963 to 1968, George and Wes raced at area ovals including much success on both asphalt and dirt at Lancaster and Ransomville Speedways.
In 1969 George teamed up with legendary engine builder-car owner, Jim Binks who built a powerful 427 cu. in. Ford coach painted bright orange with #67 painted on its sides. The coach was probably one of the first “big block” dirt cars to work well on dirt. It was a heavy car, as most were in 1969, but the power was unbelievable. On most race nights George’s #67 would race in tight quarters with the likes of Jeno Begolo, Ivan Little and Mike Zajac.
Most people don’t know that for the first 6 races of 1969, that Ivan Little drove the orange coach, since his ex Jeno Begolo coupe was not yet ready. Finally when George got in the seat, he remembers starting dead last in a 17 car field, during a heat and by the end of the first straight, he had passed ½ of the cars. The coach was a handful to handle, but a rocket with its Jim Binks’ power plant. George was a charger and had but one objective, to win. He would pass either cleanly, or by laying on a little bumper, when the opportunity arose. In fact, George recounted when he and Mike Zajac were running for the championship, Mike ran George cleanly, but when Mike passed George, George lined Mike up and bumped him out of the way.
George was known as an aggressive winner. George and Jim Binks enjoyed much success and won the modified points title at Merrittville in 1969. For 1970, George would return with the #67 coach, and not only won the championship at Merrittville, but battled Mike Zajac on the last night of racing at Hamilton’s Speedway Park to win the final modified sportsman championship on dirt at that speedway.
George and Jim Binks would win 3 championships in 2 years. The orange #67 coach was a weapon, on the area’s dirt ovals. (1969-70 Merrittville and 1970 Speedway Park) For 1971, Jim Binks dusted off the #67 coach and went racing, but other teams had built newer, lighter cars, however the order was reversed at Merrittville as Mike Zajac won his first championship with George Treanor finishing a close second.
1971 George would race 1971 at Merrittville and Ransomville, but George would move on for 1972, when Jim Binks had decided to sell the infamous #67 coach. For 1972, George would race occasionally for Terry Edwards, but in 1973 he teamed up with Phil Jerriat to pilot his white #67 coupe.
George and Phil stayed together from 1972 to 1986 when Phil decided to retire as a car owner. They were very competitive in their Rudolph chassied cars. At the end of George’s career, he and Terry Edwards teamed up and built a hand grenade of an engine, a 454 Chevrolet, and won a feature. The following week the engine blew and thus George retired as a driver.
Another of George’s career highlights was when he won a race at Merrittville with Wes Stephenson’s 1955 Chevrolet sportsman car winning against the likes of Jeno Begolo, Mike Zajac, Ivan Little, Bob St. Amand, all in coupes. For 47 years, George worked in Niagara for Consolidated Transport, driving tractor trailer.
Today, he and his wife Heather, reside in Thorold and he still attends our reunion annually. There is only one way to sum up the racing career of this driver, and that’s Tough. George never gave up and today, George still dabbles in the Antique Canadiana Furniture business, but keeps a close eye on the schedule at Merrittville.
It is impossible to separate George and Jim Binks from their championship years of 1969 - 1970 and the infamous orange coach.
George Treanor will always be remembered for his hard charging driving style and will always be known as one tough competitor.
Sincerely, Rick Kavanagh