Diana Carter

Diana Portrait

 

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

Armstrong1

 

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.”

Mario Andretti

Mario Andretti

Inducted 2012

He could drive the wheels off anything he raced. He was adept and comfortable in race cars with and without fenders. He won the Formula One Grand Prix Championship. He won the Daytona 500. He won the Indianapolis 500.

And even though his racing career stretched over five decades since coming to North America from his native Italy, Mario Andretti still has the passion and competitive nature to suit up and get into a race car.

And he would make a good showing of himself as well.

After the Andretti family settled into its Nazareth, Pennsylvania home in 1955, Mario and his twin brother Aldo already had racing on their minds after witnessing the Italian Grand Prix in Monza before gathering up and heading to America. Outside of Nazareth was a half-mile dirt oval, and the brothers built and raced a 1948 Hudson Hornet starting in 1959.

By 1964 the future superstar was racing on the USAC Sprint Car circuit as well as driving a Midget in the Eastern States. In fact, his first visit to Canada to race was during a USAC Midget race held on the CNE racetrack in Toronto.

It was also in 1965 that Andretti won his first Indy Car race, and he placed third in the Indy 500 that year, along with the championship, the youngest driver (he was 25) to do so. The next year, in 1966, he once again dominated the Champ Car Trail, winning eight races and his second straight championship.

For 1967, Andretti had a stellar year, winning NASCAR’s Daytona 500, winning his first of three 12 Hours of Sebring, and finishing second in the Champ cars. He was able to get into a Formula One car the next year, qualifying on the pole in his first race, the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, but was forced out with mechanical problems.

He would return to the sport’s highest echelon in the 1970s, and in a big way.

Andretti returned to Indy Car racing and in 1969 won the 500, leading 116 laps at the Brickyard. He won nine events that year, going on to win his third Indy Car title.

Andretti’s success continued in the early 1970s. He won at Sebring in 1970, and driving for Ferrari, won his first GP race at South Africa in 1971. Driving a Ferrari 312P, he won the Six Hours of Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring, the BAOC 1000 KM at Brands Hatch, and the Watkins Glen Six Hours, all in 1972.

At this time he continued where he started, on dirt tracks, winning USAC’s National Dirt Track Championship, along with winning seven Formula 5000 races in 1974 and 1975.

Working with Colin Chapman and Lotus, Andretti returned to F1 racing in 1976, winning races around the globe, and his efforts were culminated in 1978 when he won the World Championship, the first driver in history to win both the Formula One and Indy Car championships.

Andretti continued to race F1 in the 1980s, but success eluded him, and he returned to Indy Car racing, winning this championship once again in 1984. Throughout the decade he was a dominate racer in the series, and after winning his 51st Indy Car race in 1988, concentrated on the historic first father-son team with son Michael as they raced together.

In 1993 Andretti set another benchmark, winning his 52nd Indy Car victory, and making him the first driver to win Indy Car races in four decades and the first to win races in five decades.

In 1994 Andretti decided it would be his last year of active competition, and his Arrivederci, Mario Tour was a season-long campaign that was well received by his legions of fans and fellow racers.

Today Andretti continues to be in the mainstream of motorsport, working with several companies and associations as a spokesperson and associate. He continues to be totally involved in the sport while maintaining other interests such waterskiing, flying his ultra light, and his winery.

And today we honor Mario Andretti into the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame, truly one of the sport’s greatest.

Ron Fellows

ron fellows
Inducted 2012

Few Canadians have raced in NASCAR’s top division. Few Canadians have raced in the iconic Le Mans 24-hours. And even fewer Canadian racers have cars named after them.

But Ron Fellows has accomplished all of the above, and a whole bunch more. From his Windsor home where he started in karting and then advanced to Formula Ford and the Players Challenge Series, Fellows became a dominant name in SCCA Trans-Am racing in the late 1980s, along with competing in the IMSA GT series. He also drove in the Cadillac LMP program of the early 2000s.

Less than 10 years later, he became involved with Corvette’s racing program, and was a driver of the team that took the racing world by storm in IMSA, ALMS, and Le Mans racing with the GTS CR-5 and CR-6 Corvettes, highlighted with a class win twice at Le Mans, a class win at Daytona, and a class win at Sebring.

Fellows shifted camps so to speak during this time, racing in NASCAR’s Cup, Nationwide, and Truck series from 2002 to the present, where he has won two truck races and four Nationwide events, including the NAPA 200 on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal in 2008, perhaps his most memorable and satisfying accomplishment in the sport.

Ron Fellows has had a racing career as one of North America’s most versatile and successful road racers in several racing venues. As a patron of Canadian motorsport, he has quietly counseled and mentored young racers with his Sunoco Ron Fellows Karting Championship, and of late, has helped in the rejuvenation of one of Canada’s most iconic road racing tracks, the former Mosport Park, now known as Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

And the car named after him? The Ron Fellows edition Corvette Z06 of 2008, compete with a signature trim package. This Corvette was the first signed special edition in the history of the US sports car, and with only 399 samples produced is a fitting tribute to one of Canada’s top racing ambassadors.

Tom Walters

tom walters

Inducted 2012

This competitor has been racing on Southern Ontario’s short tracks for over 40 years. His approach to oval track racing has so far carried him to a total of 30 division championships, and he continues building on this legacy in 2013.

Tom Walters did not get into racing through the normal channels of family or friends. After a neighbor invited Walters to watch him race at Sunset Speedway in 1970, the neighbor told Walters he’d had enough after three straight rain-outs and his race car was for sale.

Walters bought the car, won a race that season, and found out he enjoyed the sport, competing up to three times a week over the next several years on the bullrings of Sunset, Wasaga Beach, and Pinecrest.

During this time Walters developed friendships and track rivalries while competing with racers such as Tom Milligan, Nate Gaiter, and Tom Waite. In 1979 he hit the track with his first new car, a Camaro Late Model, built by noted car-builder Jim Ward.

By 1990 Walters had certainly found his way around an oval. He won the Sunset Late Model championship every year from 1990 through to 1998. He also won the Molson Export Super Series title in 1991 and 1992, along with the 1993 Goodyear Challenge Cup and a couple of championships in the ALSTAR series.

Walters continued with his success going into the new century, with titles in the Lucas Oil as well as championships at both Barrie and Kawartha Speedways. In 2010 he raced three different cars, and more titles, at Sunset and the touring McColl Racing series.

Now, after more than four decades of weekly racing, Walters continues to rack up the wins. The Bradford, Ontario native has shown no indication of slowing down, picking up a win at Sunset in typical fashion against younger but strong competitors such as Billy Zardo, Andy Kamrath, and Jason Witty in his Mustang-bodied Late Model earlier this year to add to his total of several feature victories.
When not competing, Walters is heavily involved in programs to help special needs athletes the opportunity to stay active and socialize in the community, working with such groups as the Ontario South Simcoe Special Olympic Athletes and Project Track Champion.

A passionate individual about his racing, Walters is thankful for the dedication of family, friends, and sponsors to allow him to race over the years, and plans on continuing to race as long possible.

John and Sharon Fletcher

fletcher
Inducted 2012

From Hamilton, Ontario, this family ran a successful automotive speed shop, but selling customers high-performance parts wasn’t enough. In 1982 they decided to buy a drag strip and through perseverance and hard work revitalized Dragway Park just outside of Cayuga Ontario in Southern Ontario.

Purchasing the facility from bankruptcy trustees, the Fletchers had their work cut out for them, as a great deal of equipment was missing, including the all-important quarter-mile timing clocks and equipment.

Also missing was the trust from the racing community, which had a bad taste in its mouth from the former owners, and this trust had to be re-established.

But John and Sharon, and the rest of the family not only built the former Cayuga drag strip back to a viable track, they also fostered and received support from the racers, fans, and sponsors.

They also expanded the track and its facility, and welcomed some new classes of drag cars that were becoming popular as well as maintaining a solid foundation with regular local racers.

With the sponsorship of the Becker’s Milk Company, the Fletchers introduced such classes as Pro Modified and Super Gas at the track in the late 1980s, and hosted the first Canadian national event under the sanctioning of the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA), a sanctioning body that would visit the track several more times over the years.

After these accomplishments, the Fletchers were presented with an offer of selling Cayuga that they could not refuse. And they left the track, which is Canada’s oldest drag racing track and in operation since 1954, in solid shape. But instead of taking the money and retiring, they purchased another historic track about 80 miles west along Highway 3 from Cayuga.
Saint Thomas Dragway is located in Sparta, Ontario, and was developed in 1962 by the Harvey Family. It had long been an NHRA track and the home of some of the biggest events in the country. With some spit and polish, and modernized equipment, Saint Thomas returned to its former glory under the work and guidance of the Fletchers, who continued to operate the track under the NHRA with the name of London Motorsports Park in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

One of their most noted endeavours while at Saint Thomas was to bring in the biggest name in the sport, and racing icon John Force wowed the fans three times with his nitromethane-burning Funny Car.

The Fletchers have stepped away from the day-to-day operations at Saint Thomas, but their positive hand at the track continues. To take not only one, but two ailing race facilities and return them to a viable place for competitors and fans of drag racing is to be highly commended.

Jimmy Carr

jimmy carr
Inducted 2012

One of the most influential people in Tony Stewart’s Sprint Car endeavors is a quiet former drag racer from Canada’s West Coast who has been so behind the scenes he has been almost invisible.

From the bullrings of British Columbia, Jimmy Carr entered the world of Sprint Car racing spending more time running up and down the I5 than he did on the dirt ovals in Washington, Oregon, and California, but by 1990 he was ready to take a shot at fulltime racing in the World of Outlaws Series.

He became a quick study, taking rookie of the year honors in the WoO and placing eighth in 1991, but it was an expensive experience, and he went to turn wrenches for WoO regular Danny Lasoski while driving one of the winged warriors once in a while.

Through Lasoski, Carr met up with Stewart and the Chili Bowl, who was still racing in the IRL, just before Stewart embarked on his NASCAR Cup career. Stewart always wanted to get into a Sprint Car, and Carr and Lasoski planned and prepared an Outlaw team for the future Cup superstar in 1999 while continuing to race on the dirt tracks when he could.

But by 2001 building the new team was taking all Carr’s time, and for the past 12 years he has been a crew chief or in a management role helping to build Tony Stewart Racing into one of the WoO’s dominant racing team, along other successful efforts in dirt racing such as winning USAC’s National Sprint Car and Silver Crown titles in 2011 along with the prestigious Knoxville Nationals with driver Donny Schatz.

Carr has also played a dominate role in Stewart’s success behind the wheel of a Sprint Car, where the team has several victories, including two in a row at Ohsweken Speedway when the Outlaws have made their annual appearance at that Southern Ontario track.

Carr, who manages five race teams from Brownsburg Indiana, has said that winning in Canada as part of the Stewart effort has made him very proud.

“That’s a huge notch in my belt to put Tony in victory lane at an Outlaw race,” he said. “That’s probably one of the coolest things to happen to me. In all the years I’ve raced, I didn’t get a chance to race in Canada very often, but when we did I never got a win, so his first-time win was a first-time win for me as well.”

Michael Andretti

GG_andretti

Inducted 2011

He was born into one of the most prominent racing families, and he continued with his family’s tradition of success, both on and off the track in motorsport.

And for this success, Michael Andretti has been inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame as the 2012 International Category recipient.

A Pennsylvania native, Andretti never lived in the shadow of his iconic racing father Mario, proving he could drive his own race, and was a dominate racer in the PPG/CART IndyCar era. He won a record-setting 42 races in the open-wheel series, including a seven at the former Molson Indy between 1989 and 2001, another record he still maintains.

Starting in Formula Vee and Atlantic cars, the younger Andretti also competed at Le Mans before joining up with Kraco Racing in 1983. The next year he found racing in Canada to his liking, placing third at Sanair in Quebec.

He raced in the first three Molson Indy events in Toronto, starting in 1986 and with limited success, but after signing on with Newman/Hass, the team was a strong contender, placing in the top five all but three times from 1989 to 2000. He also had a stint at Formula One racing in a McLaren, which did not enhance his career at all.

After retiring from behind the wheel in 2003, Andretti became the major shareholder in the former Green Team, and changed the name to Andretti Green. As a team owner with drivers such as Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan, and Danica Patrick, he was successful, winning the IZOD IndyCar championship in 2004 and 2005, including the famous Indianapolis 500 in 2005.

Not content to stay behind the wall watching his team race, Andretti donned the driving gloves once again to compete, and drove in 2006 and 2007 with a third at Indy before taking up his place as team leader once again. He also watched the budding career of his son Marco, who has become an IndyCar star in his own right for the past several years under the tutelage of his father.

In 2009 the team’s name was changed again to Andretti Autosport, a year after he purchased the assets of the Toronto Indy, keeping this important race on the IndyCar schedule.

Andretti, who is Chairman, President, and CEO of Andretti Autosport, has property in Indianapolis and Florida, but retains a fondness for Canada.

“I’m extremely honoured to be inducted into the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame,” he said recently. “Throughout my career, I’ve always considered Canada to be almost like my second home. The Canadian race fans have been some of the most supportive I’ve ever seen and I’m thrilled that almost a quarter of my career wins came on Canadian soil and in front of such enthusiastic fans.”

And in keeping with the Canadian theme, Andretti signed one of the series’ rising stars, James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, to drive one of the team Chevy Dallaras in the IZOD IndyCar Series this season.

Image courtesy of Gary Grant.

Robin Edwardes

robin edwardes

Inducted 2011

The sport of rallying would not be where it is today without the involvement of Robin Edwardes.

Not only did he compete in road rallies for over 50 years, he was also instrumental in the rules and procedures which make up the sport, along with setting standards for licenses with the CASC.

Born in England in 1930, Edwards was an athlete during his early years, and also received his honors mathematics degree from King’s College in London before taking employment as a rocket scientist with the Napier motorcar firm.

He and his family immigrated to Canada, and he worked for Canadair (Bombardier) in Montreal, and then Northern Electric, working on projects ranging from turbo compound diesels to rocket engines for the aircraft and aerospace industries.

In the late 1950s he joined the Canadian Automobile Club, and through the Sports Car Club of Montreal, began to compete in rally and economy events. It was during this time he achieved a milestone event, recording 90 miles per gallon, that’s gallon, not liter, in 1959 with a Renault Dauphine.

With his appetite whetted, Edwardes took to rallying in earnest, and competed throughout Canada and the US in RAC and FIA-sanctioned events.

Over the next several decades he navigated or co-drove for over 100, including the Ford Works drivers Henry Taylor and Roger Clark, John Buffum and Eric Jones of the US, and prominent Canadians such as Walter Boyce, Jean Paul Perusse, and Randy Black. Some of his vehicles included Lotus, Simca, Toyota, Volvo, SAAB, VW, and Jeep.
Highlights during this time include a first in class in the 1962 and 1966 Shell 4000, Quebec Regional Champion Navigator titles in 1960, 1963, and 1965, and four firsts in the Rallye des Neiges.

But the competition side is only half his story.

Edwards was vice-president of the CASC from 1975 to 1977, and brought forth many changes to the sport of rallying, including recovery points, timing methods, and scoring procedures. He was also the national scorer, and issued the CASC rally press releases.

Although he retired from his day job in 1998, Edwardes continues to work within the Canadian rally community in organization, administration, and getting into that right side seat in competition.

Paul Manson

Paul Manson co-drove with Fritz Hochreuter in the 1966 Shell 4000

Paul Manson co-drove with Fritz Hochreuter in the 1966 Shell 4000

Inducted 2011

When Paul Manson rolled his VW driving in only his second rally event in 1960, the Toronto resident decided he would make a better navigator than driver.

And thus began one of the most illustrious careers in Canadian rally history.

This winner of many national, regional and club rallys during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s competed in 80-plus events in the years of 1964, 1965, and 1967. His resume includes winning the Fidler Trophy in the Canadian National Rally Championship in 1967, the Wilson Trophy in 1964, 1965, and 1967, and four top-ten finishes in the prestigious Shell 4000 Rally in the 1960s.

The cars he competed in varied greatly, from Chevelles and VW 1500s in the Shell 4000 to national events in a Datsun 1300.

Not only did Manson compete in rallys, he was instrumental in their organization and marshalling. He was the National and Regional Rally Steward with the CASC in the 1960s and 1970s, and contributed to print and broadcast media on the Canadian rally scene during this time.

His passion took him outside of Canada from time to time, helping to score rallys in the United States in the 1990s. He also competed in the Total Rally in South Africa in 1974.

An accountant by trade, Manson believes this background was of benefit when working with the Heuer watches, the Curta calculators, the Tripmaster, and a large collection of topographical maps.

And as demonstrated by his winning record, Manson’s numbers added up.