Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame announces four 2015 inductees

Alex Tagliani practices for the 2015 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race at Trois-Rivieres.

Alex Tagliani practices for the 2015 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race at Trois-Rivieres.

TORONTO (August 10, 2015) — Four accomplished Canadians will be honoured during the 21st Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame’s Induction Ceremonies at the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.’s Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto on Oct. 17, 2015.

The 2015 Canadian inductees are: John Chisholm, Ralph Luciw, Alex Tagliani, and Don Thomson Jr. .They will join International Category inductee Sir Jackie Stewart on centre stage

“It will be an honour to add these four racing names to membership of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame.” said the Hall’s Chairman Dr. Hugh Scully.

“Canadian motorsports has benefited greatly from their dedication and contributions over the years, and the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame will be richer once the 2015 nominees are officially inducted in October.”

The Class of 2015 will enter the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in an October ceremony immediately followed by a reception where the 2015 inductees, Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame members, fans, and celebrity guests will mingle. The Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame’s popular silent auction will also take place in the lobby of the theatre.

This year’s International Inductee announced in June, three-times Formula One World Champion Jackie Stewart, will also attend.

Tickets for the October induction ceremony will go on sale August 15th. Visit the CMHF website (CMHF.ca) for details.

Chisholm, of Antigonish, NS, who passed away in 2014, is honored as a competitor, builder, and significant contributor. There’s no doubt that Chisholm loved stock car racing and that Canada is better for it. Known as the man who put Maritime stock car racing on the map, Chisholm built Riverside Speedway, which opened in 1969, after travelling visit the Bristol Motor Speedway. The one-third mile Riverside Speedway soon became Nova Scotia’s version of the famed Tennessee bullring. He sold the track in 1989, but couldn’t stay away and bought it back in 2006 and quickly embarked on a massive upgrade of the facility.

An accomplished stock car racer, Chisholm tore up his and other Maritime tracks in the 1970s and was the first Maritime driver to start a NASCAR-sanction race. Later in life, he stood in the pitlane as his son Donald followed in his father’s footsteps on the asphalt of the Riverside Speedway. He was inducted into the Maritime Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.

Luciw, of Regina, (now living in Uxbridge, On ) SK, is honored as a competitor, builder, and significant contributor. It’s no stretch to say that hundreds of Canadian drivers got their start in racing because of Luciw, who founded the Honda-Michelin Challenge Series in 1976. The low-cost series also brought many companies into racing as sponsors. Before he launched the series, Luwic raced in hill climbs and rallies, in addition to building and racing what was possibly Canada’s first Formula Vee.

Luciw also worked the media relations desk at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, when it was known as Mosport International Raceway, promoting many series such as Can-Am, Formula One, Formula Ford, and Rothman’s Porsche. In 1987, the Canadian Automobile Sport Club honoured Luciw with the John Reid Trophy for his outstanding contribution to motorsport.

Tagliani, of Montreal, QC, is honoured as a competitor. Known simply as Tag, he has come a long way since his introduction to motorsport at the age of 10 on a trip to Italy. You name it, Tagliani has probably raced it, and likely stayed near the front most of the time too. After winning 10 championships as an amateur, Tagliani was one of the drivers chosen to be part of the Player’s driver program, joining its Formula Atlantic team in 1997. He moved to Champ Car in 2000, making 203 career starts in Champ Car/IndyCar over 16 seasons.

In 2009, Tagliani took home Rookie of the Year honours at the Indianapolis 500 and two years later became the first Canadian to start on the pole in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” He continues to compete at a high level, becoming the only driver in the history of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series to lap the field in June’s Leland Industries 300 Pres. by Johnsonville at Sunset Speedway.

Thomson Jr., of Ayr, ON, is honored as a competitor, builder and team member. Thomson is arguably the best stock car racer and builder that Canada has ever produced, scoring five consecutive CASCAR Super Series titles beginning in 2001, which he added to two consecutive Canadian Eastern Championships in 1999 and 2000. He was also 1991 CASCAR rookie of the Year and twice voted Most Sportsmanlike Driver by his peers.

In addition to driving, Thomson demonstrated his technical prowess by preparing the cars for his Fitzpatrick Motorsports team. His legacy also includes mentoring bright young talents such as J.R. Fitzpatrick, who was Thomson’s teammate for his last five years of racing. Fittingly, Thomson won the inaugural NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race in 2007. He retired in 2011 after two decades at the front.

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