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.

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.”

Greg Sewart

sewart

Inducted 2011

Not many racers win the first time they are behind the wheel of a race car, but Greg Sewart’s victory in the 1976 Sportsman Series at Atlantic Speedway was just the beginning of an illustrious career in stock car racing for this Halifax native.

Born in 1957, Sewart watched older brother Jim race in the early 1970s, and by 1976 he was ready.

The younger Sewart was a natural on the paved ovals, winning his first title in 1976 with a Sportsman championship. After taking the 1977 title, the team decided to step up to the Modified ranks in Eastern Canada and the Northeast US, along with some trips to Southern Ontario, where they found they could compete with some of the best in short-track racing.

When MASCAR was established in 1983, the Sewarts, with Greg driving and Jim crew chiefing, purchased a new Blair Cooks car, and the stage was set. He won two International 200 events at Riverglade in 1983 and 1984 against the likes of Jr Hanley, Don Biederman, and Rollie MacDonald.

He dominated the series for the next several years, winning the MASCAR points championship in 1983, 1987, 1992, 1993, and 1995.
But the team set its sights outside of local racing during this period, and Sewart took second in the prestigious Oxford 250 in Maine in 1994. He also won the Riverside 250 twice, in 1986 and 1993, and to show he could turn right as well as left in a race car, won the Halifax street course Moosehead Grand Prix in 1991, 1992, and 1994.

With over 100 feature wins to his credit, Sewart was a natural talent behind the wheel and was able to get the most out of a race car when needed. After a race at the Scotia Speedworld in 2002 Sewart finished his racing career.

In 2010 Sewart was inducted into the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame, and we are pleased to honor him tonight.

Image by Tim Krochak via The Chronical Herald

Dick Foley

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Inducted 2011

Dick Foley has been a racer, a promoter, and a car owner from Montreal, but he is best known as the first Canadian to compete in the nirvana of stock car racing, the Daytona 500.

Born in Halifax in 1932, Foley began to race in the late 1940s on tracks around his Montreal home at the speedways of Bouvrette, Drummondville, and Rawdon. He was also a stunt car driver of note during the 1950s.

In the late 1950s Foley also raced on the famed NASCAR Daytona Beach road and beach course in 1957 and 1958, finishing the race 19th in the last year of the circuit before the race was held at the new paved tri-oval in 1959.

Through the consolation race Foley made the 1959 field of 59 starters and was in fourth spot with his Chevy until mechanical problems sidelined him into the pits for 20 minutes, and he placed 32nd at the end of the race. He also ran in the 1960 Daytona 500, and took tenth spot in the 1960 250 Mile Sportsman/Modified race at Daytona, driving a 1957 Chevy.

During the 1960 season, Foley also won the track modified titles at Bouvrette and Drummondville, later to be known as Autodrome Drummondville. In 1961 he retired from active racing, and promoted racing in the Montreal area throughout the decade.

Over 30 years later, in 2002, Foley purchased a Sportsman-class car, and went CASCAR racing with nephew Danny Foley behind the wheel. Two years later he purchased a second Sportsman car, this time with Hugo Vannini driving.

In 2006, he acquired the Quebec City area 5/8th mile oval Circuit Ste Croix, and renamed it Riverside Speedway in honor of his father Richard who constructed the original Riverside in St. Vincent de Paul (Duvernay) Quebec, and continues to operate this facility to this day.

Norm Ellefson

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Inducted 2011

One of the most outstanding short-track open-wheel racers, Edmonton’s Norm Ellefson, began in 1952 at Calgary’s Springbank Speedway when he was 20, and his career continued until almost the turn of the new century.

During this time, Ellefson was a dynamo in Sprint Car and Super Modified action throughout Western Canada and in the Northwest United States. He also raced fendered race cars in the NASCAR West stock car series, winning his fair share of events in the 1970s.

But it is the Sprint Car and Super Modified racing that he is best known for, and while all his accolades are too many to note here, there are some moments in Ellefson’s career which really stand out.

He won the Canadian-American Modified Racing Association title three times, in 1966, 1967, and 1969. He captured some of the biggest events in Super Modified racing, including the Copper Cup in Salt Lake City, The Billy Foster Memorial in Victoria, and the Gold Cup in Edmonton.

But he also excelled in Sprint Cars as well, as this example demonstrates:

The Minnesota State Fair Grounds was holding an event in 1969 which was big, with 143 Sprinters vying to make the 44-starter show. The event was held in four races, three 50-lappers and then the big 200-lap main. Ellefson won the first and second 50s, placed fourth in the third, and won the 200-lapper as well. This was accomplished with a traditional roadster, but in 1971 Ellefson showed up at the Fair Grounds with an unconventional rear-engined car with a small powerplant built by noted West Coast car builder Jim Tipke. While the car was very quick and handled well, there was no clutch or starter, and Ellefson would have to wait for a push-truck to help when he spun out on some oil on the track. The car did become successful with impressive outings and victories.

Along with his Super Modified racing, Ellefson also raced in USAC events in the Northwest US with the likes of Tom Sneva, Gordon Johncock, and Mario Andretti, but admitted road circuit racing was not for him.
Ellefson has received numerous accolades for his career, including induction into the Inland Empire Motorsport Hall of Fame, his involvement with the Edmonton Kinsman Sports Celebrity dinner, and his guest speaking appearances at racing and auto-related functions.

News clipping image via Racin’ through the rain drops

Norm Mackereth

Inducted 2009

Norm Mackereth started racing in 1948 around his home of Toronto, and continued in oval track competition for the next 30 years.

He honed his skills on the bullrings of Speedway Park, Oakwood, and at the Canadian National Exhibition, where he witnessed the transition from the crude jalopy-like race cars with cut-down coupe bodies and Flathead Ford V8 engines to pure race cars known as Modifieds.

By the late 1950s, Mackereth was driving a full-blown, powerful, open-wheeled racer known as a Super Modified, and excelled in this class on the large pavement ovals that began to spring up in Ontario and the eastern US.

An interesting foray into road racing in 1960 raised a few eyebrows with the sports car crowd. Mackereth took his Ford-bodied, Chevy-powered Super and ran in the Carling 300 at Harewood Acres. He started fourth against the likes of Roger Penske, Al Holbert, and Peter Ryan, and was running in the top ten before a radiator hose ended his day.

But running the ovals was where Mackereth excelled, and he was a regular at the most famous of all Super Modified tracks, the 5/8ths-mile oval in Oswego, NY. In the 1960s he always finished well up in the points. He also competed at many venues in the Northeast US, and was track champion at NY’s Shangri-La Speedway and Delaware Speedway outside of London.

Mackereth retired from racing in 1978, but his legacy lives on. Not only did he pave the way for Canadian racers such as Warren Coniam and Doug Didero on the big US tracks, sons Andy, Brian, and Craig all continued the racing tradition in open-wheeled Midget racing, and grandson Tyler continues to race Midgets.

Image via Jakes Site

Tony Novotny

Inducted 2007

Tony Novotny started his life in motorsport as a 16 year old fan and drag racer at St Thomas Drag Strip. His passion for the sport lead him to open a speed shop in Chatham. Over time this business expanded into race wheel manufacture and race tire sales. This lead to relationships with race tracks. In 1979 he purchased Delaware Speedway and embarked upon a career as track owner and race promoter.

The challenges he faced there prodded him to create standards for cars and competitors that raced on his track culminating in the formation in 1981 of the Canadian Association of Stock Car Auto Racing. Under Tony’s guidance CASCAR built the profile of stock car racing in Canada, raising the standards so sponsors would find value in Canadian racing scene. CASCAR’s success brought the attention of sponsors and in turn TV and a constantly growing fan base and CASCAR expanded into more tracks, road courses and across the country. Support and feeder series were built to ensure growth which has left CASCAR as the predominant racing series in Canada.

Tony Novotny has been recognized with the John Bassett Award which has in the past been awarded to Harvey Hudes, Paul Tracy, Scott Goodyear, Dr. Hugh Scully, Jacques Villenueve, Gilles Villenueve, Jim O’Donnell, Ludwig Heimrath and Greg Moore. Tony has also been recognized with the “Promoter of the Year” award by RPM at the Annual Race Promoters Workshop on Daytona Florida during Speedweek, which covers all race tracks in the USA and Canada!

Image via Ontario Oval

Alan Labrosse

Alan Labrosse with racer Isabel Tremblay

Inducted 2007

Alan Labrosse burst upon the Canadian motorcycle racing in 1980. Riding as an amateur, he won five Canadian championships that year. In 1981, racing as an expert, he won four national pro titles. Over the next four years, Alan won races in Canada and impressed in the AMA’s Pro Formula 2 Series. In 1985, he was Rookie of the Year in the AMA’s Formula 1 series, the top class in North America, capping the season with an impressive race win at Brainerd. In six years of motorcycle racing, some of Alan’s biggest battles had been with the economics of the sport. Seeing better prospects on four wheels, he jumped to the Canadian F2000 series for 1986. His debut was remarkable. Alan finished second in the overall standings and beat Paul Tracy for Rookie of the Year. He also won the F2000 title at the CASC Runoffs. At the end of the season, Alan’s team owner, Raymond David, offered him a chance to move to the business side of the sport. He accepted. Since then, Alan Labrosse has been an instructor, a racing circuit and racing school manager, the head of two national sanctioning bodies, a motorcycle magazine publisher, a race promoter, a team owner, track owner and the agent for Miguel DuHamel, Pascal Picotte, Patrick Carpentier, Alex Tagliani, and Andrew Ranger, some of Canada’s finest motorcycle and automobile racers. He has been a success in all of those roles.

As a racer and builder of the sport, Alan Labrosse has made, and continues to make, a remarkable contribution to Canadian motorsport on two wheels and four.

Image via Dany Flageole

Scott Fraser

Inducted 2007

Scott Fraser started to race at 16 in the Street Stock at Onslow Speedway and soon was runner-up as Rookie of the Year in the Maritime Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.

Scott’s abilities were honed on local tracks and at 21 he moved to his first international competition, finishing 3rd and 4th when the ACT series came to Nova Scotia in 1991. Scott moved into road racing at the 1992 Moosehead Grand Prix. He adapted quickly and qualified 3rd only to fall victim to a broken gearbox. In his second road race the following year he finished 2nd.

In 1994, at 23, Scott won his first ACT race. Between 1993 and 1998 he dominated the annual Riverside 250, the longest and most prestigious annual stock car race on the MASCAR circuit, with six consecutive wins.

In 1996, Scott experienced perhaps the most successful season ever for any driver in the history of Maritime motorsports. While competing on the MASCAR circuit he scored an impressive 12 of 15 feature wins en route to his first touring series championship. Nine of those wins were consecutive. He led an amazing 58.9% of the total laps run. Scott was so dominant the most commonly asked question in racing circles that year was “Who finished second?”

Scott went on to win many races, build cars and be a dominant force in the Maritimes, a car builder of note and in 1999 the Nova Scotia Male Athlete of the Year. Scott’s life was cut short in a snowmobile crash in 2004.

Image via Scott Fraser Racing

Jack Smith

Vern Bruce, Bruce Passmore, Jack Smith at Langford Speedway in 1947

Inducted 2005

Jack Smith, who flew combat missions in not one but two World Wars, built his first race car in 1911 in his hometown of Calgary after watching the legendary Barney Oldfield in action. He was 15. After World War I, he built and drove his own sprint cars to two successive Alberta championships. He then moved to British Columbia, where he proceeded to win the Victoria, Northwest, B.C. and Vancouver championships. His many talents enabled him to manufacture not only his own chassis but his own engines and the parts for them. In 1927, he decided to branch out and try boat racing but returned to cars after winning 14 of the 15 races he entered. He’s particularly remembered for two things from the early 1930s: he was instrumental in forming, and was the first president of, the B.C. Automotive Sports Association, the parent club from which all B.C. motorsport clubs today have sprung, and he was part of a group that built the Langford Speedway in 1936. His last race as a driver was at Victoria’s Colwood Horse Race Track in 1934. He won. He then ran cars as an owner till World War II broke out. Influenced by the European Auto Union cars, he built a pair of rear-engine sprint cars after the war and campaigned them successfully at Langford in the late ’40s. Mr. Smith passed away in July, 1974.

Image via Canadian Racer