Bob and Leone Slack

Inducted 2002

As Hall of Fame member Ernie McLean earned induction as the man who built stock car racing in New Brunswick, so Bob Slack, and his wife Leone, became known as the couple who built the “Charlotte of the North,” Ontario’s Cayuga Speedway. Commitment, dedication and hard work were the trademarks of Bob and Leone Slack. Their devotion and loving care, along with an emphasis on taking care of the fans as well as the competitors, established Cayuga as one of the premier short tracks in North America. As H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, president and general manager of the Lowe’s Motor Speedway at Charlotte, put it, “If ever there were promoters who truly put the fans first, it was Bob and Leone Slack while at the helm of the Cayuga Speedway.” It was 1967 when Bob, known as the Lumber King of Caledonia, took over Cayuga, which had fallen on hard times. He said he knew nothing about racing, but he was a fast learner. Within three years, Bob and Leone were promoting the two biggest oval track events held in Canada to that point — the Thrush 200 and the Maple Leaf 250. It was the Slack’s who dreamed up the idea of bringing in top NASCAR stars to battle local and regional Canadian and northern U.S. stars. Bobby Allison was his first guest in 1972, and it’s a Cayuga tradition to this day. Others to take on the locals have included Dale Earnhardt, Buddy Baker, Donnie Allison, Rusty Wallace, Alan Kulwicki, Mark Martin, Bill Elliott and Sterling Marlin. And the locals learned well. Names like Hall-of-Famers Junior Hanley, Earl Ross and Don Biederman would refine their talents at the Cayuga oval and then head south of the border. The Slack’s were promoting pioneers, bringing in the ASA stock cars, the Big Rig racers and the Busch North series. Usually, Cayuga would mark the first, and sometimes only, Canadian appearance by major series. They even dared to bring the USAC sprint cars into what was stock car country and featured the likes of Gary Bettenhausen, Larry Dickson, Tom Bigelow and the late Rich Vogler. Amenities were the order of the day at Cayuga ? an up-to-date press facility, corporate suites and a new, massive grandstand with good food and good washrooms made Cayuga stand out as a first-class facility. The business downturn of the early 90s caught up with Bob and Leone and they sold Cayuga Speedway. But their legacy lives on, and current owners and promoters, Brad Lichty and Garry Evans, are the first to say, when confronted with a problem or the puzzle of a promotion, “What would Bob and Leone Slack do?”

Image via Canadian Racer

Speak Your Mind

*