Ralph Luciw

Ralph Luciw in Porsche

Luciw, of Regina, SK is honoured 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, Luciw raced in hill climbs and rallies, in addition to building and racing what was possibly Canada’s first Formula Vee car.

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 1, 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.

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Don Thomson Jr.

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Thomson Jr., of Ayr, on, is honoured 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, adding to the two consecutive Canadian Eastern Championships he won in 1999 and 2000. He was also the 1991 CASCAR rookie of the Year and was
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 Jr 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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Alex Tagliani

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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 ten on a trip to Italy. You name it – Tagliani has probably raced it and won in it. After winning ten championships as an amateur, Tagliani was one of the drivers chosen to be part of the Player’s driver program, joining the Player’s 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 at Sunset Speedway.

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John Chisholm

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Chisholm, of antigonish, ns, who passed away in 2014, is honoured as a competitor, builder and significant contributor. Chisholm loved stock car racing and 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 an inspiring trip to Bristol Motor speedway. The half-kilometre 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. Chisholm then 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-sanctioned race. Later in life, he stood in the pit lane as his son Donald followed in his father’s footsteps on the asphalt of Riverside Speedway. He was inducted into the Maritime sports Hall of fame in 2008.

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Scott Maxwell

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Over a career in motorsport that has spanned close to four decades, Scott Maxwell has said his defining moment came in 2000 as a team member of Multimatic Motorsports and a class win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“My greatest moment personally was leading the team at Le Mans and standing on the podium there,” Maxwell noted. “There’s just nothing like it.”

While the Le Mans victory may have been the highlight of Maxwell’s career, he worked hard and long to get to that podium as one of Canada’s most respected road racers.

As a youth, Maxwell’s early years were spent at race tracks with his father, an amateur racer and official. Walking around Mosport and meeting racing legends such as Graham Hill and Jack Brabham helped to provide the inspiration to get behind the wheel of a race car.

Maxwell started racing in earnest in open-wheel competition as the CASC’s Formula Vee rookie of the year and through 1984 to 1986 was that series’ champion at several levels. He then started racing endurance cars with national class wins in the early 1990s.
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Norris McDonald

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In 2011, Norris McDonald missed the running of the Indy 500, one of his most cherished pastimes, to accept his induction into the Oswego Speedway Hall of Fame, which was held the same weekend.

“I had planned to go to Indy and its 100th birthday,” McDonald noted at the time. “But I’ve said it 1000 times – this is the only hall of fame I’ll ever get into.”

Well, for once, McDonald, one of this country’s most prominent motorsports journalists, was uncharacteristically wrong.

McDonald is now being honored by the Canadian racing world for his contributions to the sport. A former racer himself, he has gone on to not only promote the sport through his writings, he has broadcast various aspects of the sport through radio, television, and as a track announcer.

McDonald has been involved with the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame almost since its inception, serving various committees as well as acting as master of ceremonies during its annual induction ceremonies.
[Read more…]

Paul Tracy

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Colorful, controversial at times, and successful describes Paul Tracy’s racing career. With determination, stubbornness, and pushing both himself and his machine to levels others would not, Tracy has amassed a record in open-wheel racing that has done Canada proud. Starting in karts, as most open-wheel racers do, Tracy took his role behind the wheel seriously, and learned his craft well.

At age 16 he became the youngest Formula Ford champion, and a year later he won the final Can-Am road race, held at Mosport in 1986, racing the Horst Kroll Frisbee.  With his sights set on North America’s premier open-wheel series, Tracy started in CART with Dale Coyne and then Penske racing in 1991. He continued on a part-time level with Penske the next season, running in 11 races for the injured Rick Mears and placed 12th.

This gave him a ride with Penske in 1993, and he reciprocated with five race wins, including in front of the home town folk in the Molson Indy Toronto. Although he switched to Newman/Haasin 1995, he went back to Penske for the 1996 season, and then with Team KOOL Green with limited success until 1999 when he went to the podium seven times and placed third in the  championship.

But it was in 2003 that PT had his defining year. Driving for Player’s Forsythe Racing, he won seven of the 18 races on the card, including a popular victory in Toronto. He continued with theteam the next several years, placing fourth in points twice in CART. In 2006 he also raced vehicles with fenders, competing in NASCAR’s Busch Series, and the Grand-Am Rolex Series.

In 2008 he got back into an open-wheeler, now for Vision and Forsythe Racing in the CART-replaced IndyCar Series with limited success. He continued with this until 2011, and a year laterco-piloted a Doran Racing Dallara in the 24 Hours of Daytona, where he helped the team to a satisfying seventh.

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Tracy has commented he is proud of his part in the Toronto IndyCar races, adding his first Toronto win was the turning point in his career.

Tracy returned to Toronto this year, not as a driver, but as the color commentator for the NBC Sports Network, which broadcasts the Verizon IndyCar events.

While some of the hardness has left, Tracy continues to be honest and forthright in his opinions, providing IndyCar television audiences a refreshing and honest view. You know what he tells usis correct and he would probably love the opportunity to get back behind the wheel and show us.

John Magill

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While he may have competed in various road and karting events over the years, John Magill is best remembered for his organization skills and contributions to the Canadian Auto Sport Clubs on a management level, especially in the field of karting.

After racing karts in the early 1970s, the inductee was invited by the CASC to organize its first national karting program in 1978. In 1980 he hosted Canada’s first FIA/CIK-sanctioned event, at the Ontario Goodwood track, as the CASC’s National Karting Director.

For the next five years, between 1980-85, this inductee served as the CASC National President, along with a role on the FIA motorsport executive committee and as the North American representative for the CIK executive committee.

It was also during this time that he helped to establish the Motorsport Foundation of Canada. One of this group was Gilles Villeneuve, who died two weeks before the official introduction, so it was renamed the Gilles Villeneuve Foundation in honor of the legendary Grand Prix driver. The first funds received were used to purchase computer equipment for the McGill University Sport Group to launch its testing of racecar drivers. [Read more…]

Diana Carter

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Before Janet Guthrie, Paula Murphy, and Shirley Muldowney, Diana Carter entered what was at the time a man’s world. 

And she succeeded. 

Like other early women racers, Carter not only competed on the track in a male-oriented environment, she experienced prejudice and small-minded attitudes off the track. 

Throughout the 1960s Carter proved to the racing world she could compete, and win, in road racing and major rally events. From her Toronto base, she earned her successful reputation as a racer in the Shell 4000 Cross-Canada Rally with her Volvo, winning three consecutive Coupe des Dames from 1963 to 1965 in what has been considered the toughest rally in North America. 

At a time when women competed in female-only events on road circuits in their husbands’ or boyfriends’ race cars, Carter teamed with Jerry Polivka in establishing her racing credentials along working with Polivka with the Canadian enthusiast magazine Track and Traffic. In 1963 she won the sedan championship and a three-hour endurance event at Mosport driving a Mini-Cooper with Shirley Bowes. She also competed in road events in a Lotus 9, a Studebaker Hawk, and her own personal race car, a Sunbeam Alpine, while competing in the Shell 4000 rallies. 

Driving a Volvo 122 she won the CDRA Touring Class championship in 1963, the first woman to do so. She also raced in the Bahamas Speed Week in Nassau in 1966, winning that event over other pioneering women drivers such as Guthrie and Denise McCluggage. 

 

DC wins 1st race231Carter retired from racing in 1967, and took an advertising position with the new owners of Mosport. She also filed racing stories for major Canadian newspapers at this time. After leaving Track and Traffic, Carter went to work as public relations director for the Michigan and Texas International Speedways in 1968, then after three years went into advertising work in Detroit. In 1976 she left the business world, living in Wyoming and Oregon before returning to Canadian soil, ending up on Vancouver Island. 

Due to her success in racing, Carter was able to help promote the sport through the mainstream media, and her reputation evolved as a successful competitor who raced because she enjoyed the sport. 

She also helped to break down the barriers for women in the sport, helping to open doors for future generations of women racers. 

Please welcome Diana Carter into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame.

 

Bob Armstrong

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Inducted 2012

A true competitor and a gentleman in the world of Canadian road racing, the late Bob Armstrong excelled in the sport in a wide variety of classes, from Formula Fords through to V8-powered Triumph TR8 and later raced a turbocharged Nissan.

While his credentials on the track are exemplary, it was his work behind the scenes where Armstrong made his biggest influence on the sport.

Armstrong’s formative years were ones of Formula One racing on the European circuits of the 1960s witnessing greats such as Dan Gurney, Graham Hill, and Jim Clark. Motorcycle racing and sports endurance racing also influenced the young Armstrong.

His vocation was an air traffic controller, but his passion was at the race track. In 1969 he became a track marshal at Mosport and four years later was able to start his racing career with a Toyota-supported Corona in the Canadian Showroom Stock Championship, placing a respectable third in his rookie year.

In 1974 he bought and climbed into a Merlyn Formula Ford, and took well to the open-wheeled class, taking nine top-fives in his first year of competition. He then raced a Lola T-340 at this time while winning the Formula Ford championship in 1976. For the next two years he raced with his Crossle, a car that helped him with numerous victories and lap records, including a posting at Mosport that stood in the class for the next 20 years.

Armstrong returned to a full-bodied car in 1980 with a sponsored ride driving a Sunoco CAM2 Motor Oil TR8, a team that included such racing luminaries as Scott Goodyear, John Buffum, and Don Prudhomme. There were some teething issues with the Triumph, but in true Armstrong style he persevered and placed fourth in the CASC National Championships.

Following that there was some racing in the Canadian Molyslip Enduro Series, a ride in the IMSA GT series, and more Formula Ford racing.

In 1985 Armstrong was appointed Chief Steward for the Canadian Professional F2000 Series working with the CASC and ASN Canada FIA. He was also the head of the Rothmans Porsche Cup where he firmly but fairly dealt with the on and off-track temperaments of racers such as Bill Adam, Paul Tracy, and Ron Fellows.

In 1990 Armstrong took on an important role as Director of track Safety for Canada’s involvement in Formula One activities, maintaining track safety, fire requirements and emergency services. In 1997 he was elected a Director and Vice-President of the Automobile Club de I’lle Notre-Dame, the FIA-delegated organizing club of the Canadian Grand Prix, where he applied his track coordination and services skills to not only the F1 races but to the popular NASCAR races which came to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve from 2008 through 2012.
Armstrong continued to wear his racing helmet while working behind the scenes, competing in the World Challenge Endurance Series, the Firestone Firehawk Series and the Honda Michelin Series in the late 1980s and early 1990s, winning races and a few championships along the way. He continued to race a full schedule into 2005 with his Armstrong Motorsports Nissan, dominating the Touring GT class.

Along with his on-track activities, Armstrong was a director of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame, and as with everything else he did in life, rolled up his sleeves and performed his duties on many projects, including working tirelessly with the CMHF’s Induction process and new members.

Among the many tributes for Armstrong after his passing in April of this year, ASN-FIA Canada Vice-President summed this man’s contributions best:

“If there is a Royal Family of Canadian Racing, it is certainly the Armstrongs. On any given weekend it was not unusual to find Bob the father, Cindy the mother, and Jennifer the daughter at a race event in any number of roles from track preparation, race driving, officiating, training, or whatever needed to be done. To know Bob was to respect his wealth of experience, knowledge, and willingness and ability to share with others. More importantly, to know him was to like him.

“Motorsport in Canada is better because Bob was here.”