LlOYD HOLT #15
Lloyd Holt along with brother in law
Harvey Hainer Sr. got their start in stock car racing way
back in 1957, when Merrittville Speedway was only five
Harvey and Lloyd decided to build a stock
car for the new entry jalopy class at Merrittville. They
took a stock Hudson, with a big six engine and installed
roll bars, removed glass and upholstery, while wife Betty
painted #23 on the doors with shoe polish and were now ready
to go racing. It was a learning experience and the big
Hudson was no match for the Flathead Fords of the day.
With the help of a young 14 yr old
crewman, Billy Mathews, Harvey and Lloyd would build a 1938
Ford Tudour, with sponsorship support from Ray Stevens’
Garage, they painted the car dark green and while in the
colours of Cities’ Service Station and label the car with a
J‐15. Lloyd and Harvey were fast learners resulting in a
very competitive threat for the Jalopy Championship in 1958.
1959 with Harvey doing the wrenching and Lloyd doing the
driving the young 21 yr old was showing his talent, winning
many feature events. It was a highly contested points battle
between Lloyd and Bill Binning and even though the J‐15 won
the last points feature of the 1959 season, Lloyd and Harvey
ended up second to Bill Binning in the final Jalopy points,
losing by 2 points. The rule of the day in Jalopies, was
that if you were in the top 5 in final points you had to
move up in order to make way for newcomers in the Jalopy
In three short seasons the duo of Hainer
and Holt had emerged as serious contenders, but would they
be successful in the Sportsman/Modified division? For 1960
and 1961 they laid off stock car racing, so Lloyd could
pursue his interest in horses. For 1962 they constructed a
new sportsman Coupe, but this time they had assistance from
Ray Stevens. The dark green and white #15 Sportsman being
maintained by Harvey Hainer and Billy Mathews became a
threat for the feature wins on a regular basis, competing at
their home track of Merrittville Speedway as well as the new
Speedway Park in Stoney Creek.
Lloyd, Harvey, Ray and Billy
campaigned many versions of the #15 Coupe during the 1960’s
but 1965 was probably a landmark season for their teams.
Lloyd, Harvey and Ray were the last Sportsman/Modified teams
to win both the Jerry Winger Memorial and John Spencer
Memorial Trophies that season of 1965. During the late
1960;s Harvey campaigned modifieds with Mike Zajac, who
would go on to be Merrittville’s first 3 time champion while
Lloyd and Ray Stevens would travel to both dirt and pavement
tracks even though Merrittville would remain their home
track. Lloyd and Ray campaigned a Falcon bodied car, on both
dirt and pavement at Merrittville, Ransomville, Lancaster
and Rolling Wheels.
As the 1970’s unfolded Harvey started
tutoring his son Harvey Jr., while Ray Stevens formed his
own team with drivers Stan Friesen, Mike Granton, Davey
Moore, Harry Sittler and a young rookie by the name of Brian
Stevens. Lloyd would start building his own chassis,
experimenting with coil over suspensions, torsion bars, all
the while campaigning his race cars along with wife Betty
both in the U.S. and Canada.
The now gold Chevrolet Coupes lettered
#15 in orange, were patterned after those of Will Cagle and
Buzzie Reutimann. Early in the season Lloyd and wife Betty
often travelled to try different suspension set ups
including Reading, PA and Canadaigua, but would always
return to Merrittville as their home track.
For 1973 Lloyd Holt made Merrittville
Speedway his home track, collecting D.I.R.T. points during
the organization’s infancy. It was the success of the 1973
season that left a lasting impression with the pinnacle
being reached when the gold #15 Chevrolet Coupe modified won
the 100 lap Schaefer Qualifier.
Lloyd would be the first local driver/car
owner to win that race and represent Merrittville Speedway
at Syracuse. For 1974 Lloyd would return to Merrittville to
defend his title in the Syracuse Qualifier only to be spun
out by Mike Granton, after battling with Will Cagle for the
win, but Mike Granton #33, would beat Cagle for the win in a
photo finish. It was a popular but controversial victory.
Lloyd and Betty while keeping roots in Canada moved to
Ozark, Alabama so they could establish their horse farm,
breeding cutting horses.
For the next twenty years while
maintaining their horse business in Alabama, they would
travel to visit family and friends in the St. Catharines
area. I first met Lloyd and Betty in the mid 1990’s while
they were visiting the area and during our conversation it
was apparent to me that they still maintained a strong
interest in the area auto racing.
During Merrittville’s 1996 season it was
remarkable as Lloyd and Betty Holt arranged for the original
Jerry Winger Memorial and John Spencer Memorial trophies
from 1959 and 1954, be returned to us for restoration and
safe keeping. Both trophies were restored by Ken and Rick
Kavanagh and have been awarded annually again since 1997.
During that time Lloyd and Betty have
since moved back to Canada and now reside on their horse
farm near Belleville, Ontario.
It is with great pleasure on this Reunion
Night that our Merrittville Speedway Alumni Reunion
Committee is able to have Lloyd and Betty Holt here with us
to have them assist us in continuing the Jerry Winger
Memorial Modified Feature tradition.
We welcome you to the Merrittville
Speedway Wall of Fame, along side your family of Harvey
Hainer Sr. and Jr. and also former car owner Ray Stevens.
Congratulations Lloyd Holt on behalf of all of the
Merrittville Speedway Alumni. Rick Kavanagh