Merrittville Speedway's 50THAnniversaryCelebrates
|"THE NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS"|
It's hard to believe that our final points night is upon us, and our 50th .Anniversary Season is drawing to a close. What better way to crown the new champions, but to witness it in front of our past champions, as well as all of the race fans.
I hope everyone enjoyed the Wall of Fame-Past Champions Autograph session as well as our vintage car display and dwarf car display. Merrittville Speedway has a rich history of stock car racing not only in Niagara, but all of Canada.
What other sport has endured 50 years of fan support in Niagara. There are very few sports with the popularity of stock car racing, all one has to do is look at the attendance figures. So, as we sit and enjoy the final points night of racing and crown new champions in each division, it is also a time to remember the accomplishments of those before them.
Starting in 1952, Merrittville Speedway crowned its first stock car champion- Orville Kelley, repeating in 1954, and his support of stock car racing and its safety endured to the 1970's. Of course, we cannot forget Jerry Winger 1953 and 1957 Champion, and 1955 and 1956 Champion Murray Sticker, both newly inducted to the Wall of Fame, posthumously, in 2001. These fellows contributed tremendously to our sport during the early years, but unfortunately, are not with us tonight, but their spirit lives on in our sport!
However, we are here to honour all champions, past and present, tonight and we thank them for joining us.
1962 Jerry Winger Memorial Champion #9 Chuck Boos
1958 & 68 Champion- Jeno Begolo #16 "Sempre Avanti’” Member Merrittville Speedway Reunion Committee.
.1961 Ed Ortiz "0" Sportsman Champion- & 1961 Jerry Winger memorial champion.'
Fred Hurst The Galloping' 35 Sportsman Champion 1963 Jerry Winger Memorial Champion& 1965 & 1967 Modified Champion.
George Treanor #67 Jimmy Bink's Orange Coach. 1969-1970.
Track Champion at Merrittville Speedway and Speedway Park.
Mike Zajac, First Three time Champion 1971, 1973 & 1974. “The Beamsville Breadman”.
Bob St. Amand #30 1972 Champion Dedicated to Stock car Racing as champion and Pit Steward to 2002
Davey Moore #6 "The Canadian Blast", First Five time Champion 1975-1979
Don Turner #39 "The Blue Streak" Approaching a 40 year career at Merrittville Speedway. 1980 Champion.
Brian Stevens The Flying 44 - Carrying on the Family tradition-started by his father Ray Stevens since 1952. 1982 & 1992Modified Champion.
Harvey Hainer Jr. 2H "Part Mart Special" 1981 Modified Champion. A heritage of racing established by Harvey Hainer Sr.
Pete Bicknell #42 15 time Modified Champion. Establishing a dynasty in stock car racing and fabrication of specialty race cars and parts. 2001-2002
2001 Jerry Winger Memorial Champion
1999 and 2000 defending John Spencer Memorial Champion.
While it is important to reflect on the modified Champions, all divisions have had its own champions.
Dave Halliwell Jalopy Champion1958 J-15; Ted Renshaw Jalopy Champion J-5; 1961, member of MerrittviIIe Speedway Reunion Committee; Lyndon Wood #38 Late Model Champion 1967; Tammy Willard 77 jr,ette Sportsman Champion 1998; Bill Willard Jr. 77jr. Sportsman Champion; 1993 Chad Brachmann Sportsman Champion; 2000
Many of these champions moved up to the next level whether it was from jalopies to sportsman to modified. It doesn't matter, they were all stepping stones to developing careers as race car drivers. It is truly evident that our sport is based on family and now in our 50th year of operation, we see the next generations, whether it be go-karts, dwarf cars, pro stocks, sportsman or modified, our racing legacy continues. Who will our next champions be, only time will tell.
Here is a brief synopsis our points standings. While Pete Bicknell won the modified title, he had to fend off many challenges from a very consistent Robby Krull, Scott Wood and Bill Krull, only separated by 67 points.
In the Sportsman division, while Chad Brachmann leads Randy Chrysler and Tim Jones are contesting for a close 2nd and 3rd place, 27 points apart.
The Dwarf Cars, with their growing field of cars is led by Lee Webber, followed closely by Jeff Johnson #63.
The Pro Stocks have Ken Sargent fending off challenges by Jeff Dayman and Steve Devos. (Stay tuned, 62 point separation)
The Street Stocks are probably the closest race with Lloyd Cichocki, Kirk Wilson and Darren Zumpe and Mike Dooley only a 40 point spread.
Even the Ladies Race was a fierce competition with Christine Porter, Chrissy Michaud and Charlene Dooley separated by only 20 points.
While we are here to celebrate our racing heritage, our goal tonight is to welcome all of the 200] Points Champions, as our 50th Anniversary Division Champions. And while perennial Champion Pete Bicknell is our 50th Anniversary modified champion, it remains to be seen whether he can defend the John Spencer Memorial title tonight.
As we look forward to a great night of points racing and a racing demonstration by the Vintage Cars of the CMRHS, we have a lot of racing history to be proud of, started 50 years ago by Orville Kelley and his #3 Flathead 1937 Ford Coupe to the Champions of today- 50 years later.
The Merrittville Speedway Reunion Committee, consisting of Rick Kavanagh, Bruce Swartz, Jeno Begolo, Ted Renshaw and Jim Irvine, look forward to crowning the 50th Anniversary Competitors in all divisions tonight, so let's sit back and enjoy this final points race, as we wind down our 50th season and congratulate all champions, past and present.