Don Thomson Jr.

Don Thomson 1 600

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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Dick Foley


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.

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

Doug Kennington

DJ Kennington crests the hill leading into Mosport’s Turn 2.

Inducted 2004

Independent, dedicated, versatile and determined. For more than 40 years, Doug Kennington has displayed those qualities at drag strips and oval tracks throughout Canada. Fuelled by a passion for motorsports and a single-minded determination to succeed on the road of his own choosing, Kennington has created a wide-reaching legacy that has left an indelible mark on the Canadian racing scene. It was Doug Kennington who convinced local businessman Bob Harvey to build St. Thomas Dragway and he became the driving force behind the new facility. As well as overseeing the operation, he was Technical Director and he also raced. With a young family and a growing business, Doug eventually backed away from St. Thomas. It wasn’t until young son DJ started in go-karts that Doug got involved in the sport again. Faced with the choice of going drag racing or oval racing, young DJ opted for stock cars. By all accounts, Doug was always a ‘MOPAR Man’, regardless of what he raced on the track. Although successful in a ’52 Olds, a sedan Willys and several other makes, Doug’s heart always belonged to one certain brand. The Kenningtons’ decision to race MOPARs on stock car ovals was anything but the easy route to take. But their perseverance paid off in spades. In 1996, powered by Doug Kennington-built MOPAR motors, DJ captured the CASCAR Sportsman track championship at Delaware Speedway, as well as his first CASCAR Super Series win. In the time since, they’ve been – more often than not – the top performing MOPAR Super Series team. The team’s level of respect is further evidenced by its long-running sponsorship support from Castrol Canada.

Image courtesy of Gary Grant.

Junior Hanley

Junior Hanley in 1980

Inducted 2000

Like car racer Greg Moore and motorcycle racer Yvon Duhamel, Junior Hanley does not need a lot of introduction. He started racing in 1961 as a drag racer. By 1970 he was the Maritime Champion of stock car racing. He moved to Oakville, Ont., in 1975 where he raced and won championships in southern Ontario and the United States. He has won Copper World titles in Arizona and the World Series of Asphalt Racing series at New Smyrna Beach, Fla., during Daytona Speedweeks. He has won CASCAR championships ACT Tour championships and competed on the ASA and Busch Grand National circuits. A master car builder, he has build short-track cars for, among others, Bill Elliot, Alan Kulwicki, Mark Martin, Kyle Petty, Dick Trickle and Darrell Waltrip. One very interesting thing about Junior is that he only delivers a car to a customer after he has test-driven it in racing conditions. A legend in his own time, Junior continues to race and win today, primarily in the Kendall Oil Series for late models in Ohio and Indiana. He is one of the last of a breed: the short-track racer who races for a living.

Image via The HAMB