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 percevered 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.”

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.

Ben Docktor

Inducted 2011

As a distraction from his business activities, North Dakota native Ben Docktor started to race stock cars on the dirt ovals of Alberta and Montana. He also competed as an IMCA open-wheel racer and the Players/GM Challenge. The former oil field roughneck also fielded teams in the local stock car arena.

But his goal in racing was to provide others with a facility, and the original plan of a small oval track grew to a race facility that would become a showpiece for motorsport in Western Canada. Preliminary work started in 1982, and the oval track was completed in 1985. By 1987, and using his own capital, Docktor was ready to share his dream amid the racing world with the multi-purpose Race City in Calgary.
Along with the half-mile oval track, a 2.1-mile road circuit, and a quarter-mile drag strip were built at the complex, and for the next 20 years fans were able to watch their racing heroes from several types of racing, including NASCAR, NHRA, IRL, CASCAR, and CASC events. Along with the sports cars and dragsters and stock cars, motorcycle racing was also a big attraction. Fans were able to watch such notables as Bobby Unser, Michael Waltrip, Mark Martin, and Shirley Muldowney compete at Race City.

Until 1995, when the facility was sold to Art MacKenzie, Docktor was at Race City every weekend as the track’s biggest fan. During his time with Race City, Docktor brought the best in major-league racing to Western Canada as one of the country’s biggest boosters of motorsport.

Rudy Bartling

At Mosport in 1967

Inducted 2011

He had 20 years of racing behind him in 1981, but he had another 20 to go. Rudy Bartling has been described as Canada’s most experienced endurance racer, and Sebring was his second home, as he started that Florida endurance classic 17 times, between 1972 and 1996, the most of any Canadian driver and fifth among all drivers.

Bartling hired himself out for various racing teams throughout his career, driving a series of Porsches not only at Sebring, but in such major venues as the IMSA Camel GT races, the BF Goodrich Sundown Grand Prix, and the Molyslip Endurance Series.

He began racing in the early 1960s, and was the 1962 under two-liter Canadian champion with his Porsche Carrera. After numerous victories including the Oak Cup at Mosport, he placed fourth in the 1968 Road America race with co-driver Ludwig Heimrath in a McLaren Elva.

In his first appearance at Sebring, he placed seventh overall, and took four top-ten finishes at the ex-airport road course, his best placing a sixth overall in 1977.

During his career, Bartling proved he could work on cars successfully as well as drive them. He turned the wrenches for noted California Porsche racer Vasek Polak, first in 1965, and again in 1973 with the Porsche 917 Turbo that was driven by Jody Scheckter.

He continued to race in endurance contests throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, driving with Klaus Bytzek, and the team won four of five Molyslip races in 1997 to win this championship. Also in the same year he was campaigning a Porsche 911 of his own, placing third in the Canada GT Challenge Cup.

Bartling’s success as a racer is only a part of his career. Along with his mechanical skills, the respect from his fellow racers and teams mark his achievements in the world of Canadian motorsport.

Image by Jerry Melton via Etceterini

Jacques Duval

Inducted 2011

As road racing became big in Quebec, Jacques Duval was its biggest star prior to the Villeneuve era. He began at the St. Eugene, Ontario airport circuit in an Alfa Romeo Sprint Veloce. By the time the Mont-Tremblant road racing circuit opened in the fall of 1964, he was winning in one Porsche after another.

For four consecutive years, 1963-1966, Duval won the Sterling Moss Trophy as the outstanding sports car driver of Quebec while racing against the likes of Roger Peart (long-time head of Canadian racing through CASC and ASN), Jacques Bienvenue, Tom Graham and John Sambrook. Victory in the inaugural Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres in 1967 in his Porsche 906 ahead of Rudy Bartling in another 906 and Serge Adam in a Sunbeam Tiger confirmed his prominence.

Canada’s Centennial year was among his best. At the first Grand Prix of Canada at Mosport, he dominated his class ahead of Craig Hill’s Triumph GT6 for 9th overall in the support race won by John Cordts’s McLaren. That year he collected wins both at Mosport and Mont-Tremblant. Notably, he was second to noted American Chuck Dietrich in an Elva BMW in a six-hour race at Trembland and traveled to Riverside, CA, hoping to add to his points in the Doug Revson Trophy series. On the unfamiliar California track, he finished behind Joe Buzzetta, Scooter Patrick and Monte Shelton, all of them ranking American racers. But it was with Hall-of-Famer Horst Kroll as co-driver that Duval’s international stature blossomed.

In 1966, Kroll and Duval finished second in class in the 12 Hours of Sebring in Duval’s Porsche 904 GTS behind class winners George Follmer and Peter Gregg in another 904 GTS, and 16th overall.

Returning in 1968, Duval/kroll drove a 911S to 9th overall, third in class behind Alan Johnson and Gregg Loomis.

In 1971 he was the first Canadian to win his class in the 24 Hours of Daytona, taking 7th overall. With co-drivers George Nicholas, a Canadian, and American Bob Bailey, the Sunoco 914-6 finished eight laps head of the second GT2 car, another 914-6 driven by among others Erwin Kremer. Pedro Rodriguez and Jackie Oliver won overall in a Porsche 917K, as Ferrari 512s and a pair of racing Corvettes completed the top six finishers ahead of Duval in the overall results.

Among other successes, Duval drove a 911 to 7th in a Trans-Am event at Tremblant in 1968 behind such ponycar stars as Mark Donohue and George Follmer, Sam Posey and Craig Fisher. That year Duval also won a six-hour Tremblant race partnered with Quebecer Jean-Guy Ostiguy. He also co-drove a 906 in the BOAC 500 at Brands Hatch, England. Originally his teammate was to be world champion Jimmy Clark, but the Scotsman opted to race in a Formula Two event at Hockenheim, where he died in a solo crash. Duval and co-driver Mario Cabral, a -1 part-timer, finished 19th in the outdated 906, while Jacky Ickx and Brian Redman won in a Ford GT40.

Duval remained prominent as a track announcer in the early years of Montreal’s Canadian Grand Prix.

He continued racing occasionally, winning at St. Eustache as Jacques Bienvenue’s teammate in 1978 in the latter’s Carrera, and in recent years runs for fun with his son, Francois, as co-driver in Quebec vintage events.

Image via La Presse

Professor Sid Watkins

Inducted 2010

Professor Sid Watkins, “the Prof”, is a virtual icon in motorsport worlwide and, of course, is well known to all involved in motorsport Canada because of his many years involvement with the Formula 1 race initially at Mosport and St. Jovite and then at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.

Sid Watkins has always been interested in motoring, growing up around cars in his father’s garage, situated not far from Silverstone. He began to attend Formula 1 and other events in Silverstone in 1958 and subsequently ran the medical services of Silverstone for the Aston Martin racing weekend in 1962. During his time as a Professor of Neurosurgery in Syracuse, New York, commencing in 1962, he joined the administrative team of the American Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. He was really the first in the world to take a team of appropriate specialists trackside to provide immediate, high class medical attention, management and direction. Upon his return to the United Kingdom as the Professor of Neurosurgery at the London Hospital, he provided the medical and related safety services for the British Grand Prix from 1971 through 1977. Sid encouraged and supported Dr. Hugh Scully, with the support of Harvey Hudes, to establish at Mosport, one of the most advanced race medical intervention teams in the world at the time. (The Ontario Race Physicians continue to provide expert medical and related safety services at Mosport today).

In the spring of 1978, Sid was appointed the Medical Delegate for Formula 1 by Bernie Ecclestone and in fact attended virtually every Formula 1 race in the world for the next 25 years. Sid was elected the President of the FISA (Federation Internationale du Sport Automobile Medical Commission) in 1981 where he worked again with Dr. Hugh Scully to continue to improve the services in Montreal and, by association throughout Canada.

Labatts was a major sponsor of the Formula 1 enterprise in Montreal. In 1992, there was a ceremony in Montreal where Sid Watkins was presented with the “Labatts Award for Safety” by the Duke of Kent. (Sid was the second recipient of this award. The first had been Sir Jackie Stewart).

From 1992 through July of 2007, Sid continued to work actively with Dr. Jacques Bouchard and Ronald Denis as the Co-Medical Director’s of the Formula 1 race in Montreal. Without question, Sid’s support of the “Montreal model” was instrumental in establishing and maintaining a high standard of medical care in motorsport. The model created initially at Mosport and subsequently in Montreal has had significant positive effect on motorsport medicine and safety at virtually all motorsport events in Canada.

Professor Sid Watkins went on to become the President of the new FIA Medical Commission until his retirement from that position in 2007. In 1994, he was appointed Chairman of the FIA Expert Advisory Committee reporting to the President of the FIA. Organizing research groups for open cockpit, closed cockpit, rally and karting events, he was the founding President of the FIA Institute for Motorsport Safety in 2004. The “Institute” continues to do leading research in motorsport safety in all categories. In his capacity as President of the Medical Commission and President of the Institute, he served with distinction on the FIA World Motorsport Council.

Sid has bee the recipient of many awards related to his leadership in motorsport safety. In 1996, he was awarded the Motorsport Industry Association Achievement Award and also the Mario Andretti High Performance Award for Medicine. In 1997, he was given the R.A.C. Centennial Prince Michael of Kent Award. In 1998, he received the British Racing and Sports Car Club Silver Trophy for services to racing and in 1999, the Autosport Gregor Grant Trophy for Outstanding Contribution to Motor Sport. In December of 2006, on behalf of the FIA Institute for Motor Sport Safety, he received the Society of American Engineering (S.A.E.) Award for Excellence in Safety Engineering. In July 2007, he was unanimously elected to membership in the International Council of Motorsport Sciences (ICMS) and to a position as Honorary Member of the Board. Remarkable, in July of 2008, he received the Motor Industry Association Award for Outstanding Contribution to Motorsport Industry in the House of Lords in London, England.

In his professional career as a neurosurgeon, Professor Sid Watkins has been recognized as an outstanding surgeon, scholar, teacher and leader with a determined commitment to excellence which facilitated expert care to those injured in motorsport virtually anywhere in the world. It was recognition for the combination of world leadership in neurosurgery and in the development of motorsport medicine and safety that Sid Watkins was awarded the prestigious Order of the British Empire at the Jubilee Honours Ceremonies by the Queen in June 2002.

Professor Sid Watkins is unquestionably the leader of the past quarter century in the development of motorsport medicine and safety not only in Formula 1 races in Canada but across the country in all forms of racing.

Image via The Telegraph

Roger Peart

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

Inducted 2010

While in school to become an engineer in the UK, Roger Peart’s involvement with motorsport began in 1949 when he worked as a racing mechanic. Moving to Canada, Peart began his own racing career as a rally driver, often behind the wheel of the Volvo factory team.

Moving to circuit racing in 1964, Roger Peart raced on tracks across North America, driving a variety of cars from Mini Coopers to Porsche 911, Formula Ford and several special sports racers.

In 1967, Peart became involved with the organizational end of the sport, acting as Chief Timekeeper, Chief Steward, Chief Scrutineer, Clerk of the Cource and Race Director at events across Canada. This would prove to be Peart’s primary role within the sport moving forward.

Having been Vice-President and then President of Canadian Automobile Sport Clubs (CASC), Peart became President of ASN Canada FIA, which is the governing body for motorsport in Canada under the FIA, the world governing body.

In 1978, Roger Peart designed the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, which remains home to the Canadian Grand Prix. As Clerk of the Course and Race Director for the first ten years that the Canadian GP has been held in Montreal, Peart continues to be the National Steward at the Canadian round of the Formula One World Championship.

Following the creation of the Canadian circuit, Peart became increasingly active in Formula 1 track safety. Peart has served on the FIA Circuits Commission, which is in charge of safety standards at all tracks that host international racing events, since 1978 and has stood as President since 1998.

Roger Peart is also a member of the FIA Safety Commission, which has overall responsibility for motorsport safety and of the FIA Open Cockpit Research Group. This is a “Think Tank” group which focuses on open cockpit safety issues.

Bobby Rahal

Bobby Rahal at 2011 ALMS awards banquet

Inducted 2010

Robert “Bobby” Woodward Rahal was born in Medina, Ohio, in 1953, and worked his way up through the racing ranks starting with the SCCA’s feeder series to Formula Atlantic and then onto European Formula Two. In an 18-year career spanning F1, Can-Am, Le Mans/IMSA, and CART, Rahal notched three CART championships, including a win at the 1986 Indy 500, along with wins at the 1981 24 Hours of Daytona and the 1987 12 Hours of Sebring endurance races.
One of open wheel racing’s most consistent drivers during his career, Rahal started 264 races for five teams and he took 18 poles and scored 24 wins. He collected back-to-back CART championships in 1986 & ’87, and picked up his third in 1992. When Buddy Rice won the 2004 Indy 500, Rahal became only one of a handful of individuals to win the Indy 500 as both a driver and a team owner.
Following his retirement from competitive racing after the 1998 season, Rahal spent time with Jaguar’s F1 effort and in mid-2000, he returned to the U.S. to become the interim boss of CART. Along with late night talk show icon David Letterman, he is a principal in Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing where Rahal has overseen the growth of the team from a one-car program to a multi-car, multi-discipline organization. Rahal has been responsible for finding and developing some of the top-young talent in open-wheel racing. Among his current and past protégées are Ryan Hunter-Reay, 2004 Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice, Danica Patrick and Vitor Meira. It also was Bobby Rahal who was responsible for bringing Honda into North American open-wheel racing in the early 90s, an involvement as a manufacturer that has produced eight championships and over 100 victories including three Indy 500 triumphs.
In addition, his team won the 2010 GT team and manufacturers championships in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) with BMW, and Rahal is the driving force behind the new HMP Legends of Motorsports historic racing series. Along with his leadership of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, he operates Rahal Automotive Group, a string of car dealerships in Pennsylvania, and is very active in the community through the Bobby Rahal Foundation.

Bobby Rahal Racing Record

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
-1974 SCCA B/Sports Racing National Champion
-1975 Formula Atlantic National Champion (SCCA President’s Cup)
-1981 24 Hours of Daytona winner
-1982 CART Rookie of the Year
-1986 Indianapolis 500 winner
-1986 CART champion
-1986 Driver of the Year
-1987 CART champion
-1987 12 Hours of Sebring winner
-1992 CART champion
-1992 Driver of the Year
-Only driver/owner to win CART championship
-One of three drivers to win three CART/Champ Car championships
-First IndyCar driver to win $1 million in a single season
-First IndyCar driver to surpass $12 million in career earnings
-Recorded IndyCar/CART victories in ten seasons (eight straight)
-Introduced Honda to North American open-wheel racing
-Inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2004

WINS (Driver 1982 – 98 Owner 1992—present) 1982 – Cleveland, Michigan 1983 – Riverside 1984 – Phoenix, Laguna Seca 1985 – Mid-Ohio, Michigan, Laguna Seca 1986 – Indianapolis, Toronto, Mid-Ohio, Montreal, Michigan, Laguna Seca 1987 – Portland, Meadowlands, Laguna Seca 1988 – Pocono 1989 – Meadowlands 1991 – Meadowlands 1992 – Phoenix, Detroit, New Hampshire, Nazareth 1998 – Laguna Seca 1999 – Laguna Seca 2000 – Homestead 2001 – Motegi, Milwaukee, Portland, Chicago, EuroSpeedway, Laguna Seca 2002 – Fontana 2003 – Milwaukee, Montreal 2004 – Indianapolis, Kansas, Michigan 2008 – Watkins Glen 2009 – Road America, Okayama 2010 – Road America

POLES (Driver 1982 – 98 Owner 1992—present) 1983 – Mid-Ohio, Michigan 1984 – Montreal 1985 – Cleveland, Mid-Ohio, Michigan, Michigan, Montreal, Laguna Seca, Miami 1986 – Elkhart Lake, Phoenix 1987 – Toronto 1990 – Nazareth 1991 – Elkhart Lake 1992 – Milwaukee, New Hampshire, Toronto 1997 – Mid-Ohio, Laguna Seca 1998 – Long Beach, Portland, Laguna Seca 1999 – Chicago, Laguna Seca 2001 – Monterrey, Texas, Milwaukee, Portland, Michigan, Elkhart Lake, Rockingham 2002 – Long Beach 2003 – Long Beach 2004 – Homestead, Indianapolis, Portland, Kansas, Nashville, Milwaukee, Kentucky 2005 – Kansas, Kentucky, Chicagoland 2007 – Texas.

Image via Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Jack Christie

Jack's Pic

Inducted 2007

Many people think all the action is on the track but even before competitors load their cars for the trip to the track much has already been done. Dedicated people such as former formula car racer Jack Christie have worked to create and administer racing series, find sponsors, organize tracks and get it done all out of the limelight.

For over 20 years, Jack Christie has filled that role, creating the Canadian Tire Formula 2000 Series, the Nissan Racing program, the Super Beetle Racing series, and the outstanding Rothmans Porsche Turbo Cup which captivated Canadian and European racing fans.
Jack also founded the Canadian Formula Racing Drivers Association improving safety and funding for Canadian racers and co-founded the Canadian Motorsports Sponsors Association that assisted motorsports sponsors in their use of racing as a marketing tool. As well, he was instrumental in running several Canadian drivers in the 24 Hours of LeMans. He built motorsports marketing opportunities for such companies as Canadian Tire, Castrol, Pirelli Tire, Rothmans Canada, Shell Oil and Porsche AG.

Jack was also instrumental in guiding the careers, as a manager, mentor or advisor, to notable drivers such as Scott Goodyear, Ron Fellows, Paul Tracy, and Greg Moore. Quietly, Jack got the job done and helped build and advance the enjoyment of our sport.

Jim O’Donnell

Inducted 2009

Wishing to create a brand identity for his financial firm, Jim O’Donnell took his love of auto racing and merged this love with his business acumen to provide a solid marketing tool in motorsports sponsorship.

O’Donnell worked with Ron and Rob Fellows in the Players GM Series, and then, with the MacKenzie Financial backing, entered into the world of Trans Am racing with Ron Fellows driving for the teams of Jack Roush and Tom Gloy.

Then O’Donnell ramped up his involvement with a foray into Indy car, promoting the MacKenzie name in major centers across North America.

The familiar blue and silver cars were part of the Dick Simon, Ron Hemelgarn, Doug Shearson, and Derrick Walker teams.

Driving the MacKenzie cars included Ludwig Heimrath Jr and then Scott Goodyear, who achieved the greatest success, winning two Indycar events, and placing second in the coveted Indy 500 by only the blink of an eye in the closest one-two Indy 500 finish in history.

Aside from winning on the track, O’Donnell was also a winner with his clients, providing hospitality at the races, successfully merging business and pleasure.