Back in the days of early stock car racing at Merrittville Speedway, a card of Saturday night’s racing consisted of one division and that was stock cars, which consisted of pre-1940’s coupes and tudors, with very few modifications.
By 1957, it was recognized by Merrittville’s owners, the Kavanagh and Russell families, that a division for beginners was needed. For the 1957 season, a low cost, pure stock, Jalopy division was formed, and this is where our inductee, Hughie Tripp got his start.
During the 1950’s Saturday night at Merrittville Speedway was the place to race, long before Ransomville, Humberstone and Lancaster existed and where many young dirt racers honed their skills, amongst them Hugh Tripp.
With the 1960’s on the horizon, Hughie Tripp teamed up with Bert Smith’s Sunoco sponsored #3 and became regular competitors at Merrittville Speedway on Saturday nights, but also Friday nights at the new Ransomville Speedway and Sunday nights at the new Humberstone Speedway.
All through the 1960’s the Limited Sportsman would evolve into the modified division. During this period while the #3 was a strong competitor at Merrittville, it was at Ransomville where Hughie would win a modified championship and with both the “All Canadian” at Humberstone and their modified points championship in 1965.
The move to the modifieds was how Hughie would highlight his racing career. Hughie would drive in 1969-1970 for Ray Stevens – piloting the #3 orange coach. During the early 1970’s Hugh Tripp would drive the #3 Ace Auto Sales modified, a car which Hughie would lovingly replicate and then turn over to his son Bill to drive in nostalgic, vintage race events. After retiring from driving, Hughie’s interest in racing would continue to this day, with many trips to North Carolina and attending many NASCAR races with his wife Eleanor volunteering at Victory Junction Gang Camp. Congratulations on your induction to the Merrittville Speedway Alumni Hall of Fame!