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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Alex Tagliani

Tagliani 6 600

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

John Chisholm - 2 600

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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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.

Lloyd Shaw

Inducted 2006

Lloyd Shaw had a spectacular career as a builder of racing cars, as a champion racer at home and in the United States in both open-wheel and closed-wheel cars, and as an administrator and promoter. Born in Toronto in 1912, he was 20 when he built his first sprint car and went racing at speedways in places like Leamington, Chatham, and Sarnia. With most of the records missing, we don’t know how many races he won in those days but we do know that on his first visit to the circuit in Leamington, he set Canadian and British Empire speed records for a half-mile dirt track. Following the Second World War, in which he flew bombers for the Royal Canadian Air Force, Lloyd won Canadian Auto Racing Society sprint-car championships in 1948, 1950, ’51 and ’52. During the 1950 season, Lloyd also drove a stock car and won that year’s CARS stock car championship. In 1953, NASCAR opened up a Grand National race at Langhorne, Pa., to “foreign cars.” Lloyd’s sponsor, James Cook, who was the Canadian agent for Jaguar cars and had dealerships in Toronto and Winnipeg, entered a Jaguar for Lloyd and he won the pole in it. To this day, Lloyd Shaw is the only Canadian ever to win a pole in NASCAR’s premier division. As well as racing himself, he was also a builder. He was one of the founders of the Toronto Racing Drivers’ Club (he also served as treasurer and was instrumental in the club’s construction of Canada’s first post-war race track, Pinecrest Speedway) and the Canadian Auto Racing Society. He retired from active participation in the sport in the mid-1950s and died in 1983.

Image via Ed Moody

Roy Smith

Inducted 2002

“Rapid Roy, the stock car boy” was one of Canada’s most outstanding in this class of racing. He began racing in 1965 at the age of 20 with a 1950 Ford Stock Car. In 1967, he graduated to driving the powerful A-Modified cars and was awarded the popular driver award.

Not only was Roy successful in his home country breaking track records and winning numerous races and track championships in British Columbia and Alberta, he was also one of the most respected stock car racers in the western United States. A professional racer, Roy won the NASCAR Winston West championship four times — 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1988 and was third twice (1987 and 1989) competing against such NASCAR stalwarts as Chad Little, Hershel McGriff and Jim Bown.

The highlight of is career came in 1982 with a top-10 finish in the Daytona 500, which is the Holy Grail of NASCAR racing.Roy was 22nd in the 1976 and 20th in the 1978 Daytona 500s.

Roy has also been inducted into the Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame (1992) and the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame (2002).

Earl Ross

Inducted 2000

Still racing after all these years, there are those who will say that the name EARL ROSS is what put Ailsa Craig, Ontario, on the map. Still racing and still competitive, Ross’s career stretches back to 1970. Along the way, he became the first (and so far, only) Canadian to win a NASCAR Winston Cup race (then Grand National), became the only Canadian to be named NASCAR Winston Cup (then Grand National) Rookie-of-the-Year, as well as becoming the first Canadian to race in the Daytona 500. After a career in stock car’s “small-time,” Ross first made his mark in 1970 when he won nine of 10 international stock car races held in Ontario that featured drivers from across Canada and the United States. In 1973, Ross won the Export A Series, a stock car series that was run in Eastern Canada.

He qualified for his first Daytona 500 and finished third in his first superspeedway start, the ARCA Daytona 200, a race he thought he could have won. In 1974, a banner year, he competed in 21 Winston Cup races, won the Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville Speedway and was named Winston Cup Rookie of the Year. In ’75 and ’76 he qualified for his second and third Daytona 500s. In 1982, he won the inaugural McKerlie Millen 200 at Delaware Speedway Park. In 1994, he finished second in the CASCAR Performance Fibreglass Series and in 1995 qualified in the top 12 at most CASCAR events and finished 13 in points. In 1996 he finished 13th in the CASCAR Eastern Series points and in 1997 he finished 15th in CASCAR Super Series Points. Like Ludwig Heimrath, Junior Hanley and other “old dogs,” Earl Ross shows no signs of ever slowing down.

Image via Racers Reunion

Ernie McLean

Ernie McLean on the left, congratulates John Shirtliff on his win at the inaugural River Glade International race in 1965.

Inducted 2000

Stock car racing in New Brunswick was literally invented, nurtured and propped up by this dynamo of a promoter. Originally from Chatham, N.B. Ernie got into racing in Ontario when he started hanging around the Pinecrest Speedway in Toronto. He bought his first jalopy-type stock car from Jim Hallihan. Like many people behind the scenes Ernie realized his talents lay in other areas. Taking his wife and family back to the Maritimes, he settled in River Glade N.B. There was no racing in New Brunswick at the time; so Ernie put up posters and held meeting to gauge interest in Moncton and other locales.

As a result, he plowed out a quarter-mile track behind his barn on his River Glade property and River Glade Speedway was born in 1964. In 1965 he paved the place and thus was born the first asphalt oval speedway in the Maritimes. His extra-distance “International” was born in 1965 and many a Canadian and U.S. driver has claimed this race as their first “big win,” among them Earl Ross, Junior Hanley and Don Biederman. As other tracks opened, Ernie responded to the competition by bringing in the NESMRA supermodifieds and other attractions.

As other tracks fell into disrepair or neglect, Ernie stepped in to rescue them – among them Miramichi Speedway, Fredericton’s Brookside Speedway, Bathurst’s Danny Speedway and Riverside Speedway near New Glasgow, N.S. Due to the unwavering work of Ernie, those tracks continue to flourish today. Ernie was instrumental in forming the MASCAR touring series.

He also brought the NASCAR North and American-Canadian Tout to Maritime ovals. Not one to sequester himself in the racing fold, Ernie also sponsored courEt1ese local hockey teams from kids to old-timers. He was twice honoured by Toronto’s Promoters Workshop, once with the Achievement Award for Dedication to Racing Promotion and a second time as Promoter of The Year. In short, Ernie introduced a sport to an area of the country where none existed, he initiated hundreds of drivers to this sport, he gave thousands of fans the opportunity to enjoy the sport.

His nickname, “Father of Maritime Canadian Stock Car Racing”, is richly deserved.

Image via Petty International Raceway

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

Brad Francis

Inducted 2005

For 35 years, Brad Francis has built winning cars for every major form of racing in North America. A self-taught racing engineer, he was for 20 years an integral part of the successes of Performance Engineering of Thornhill, Ontario. (Indy, Can-Am, NHRA, shorttrack stock cars, Trans-Am). He built championship-winning IMSA and Trans-Am cars for General Motors before becoming manager of special projects for Richard Childress’ NASCAR Winston Cup Team and director of R&D for Bill Davis Racing. In 2004 Francis was Director of Safety for Rousch Racing, part of the Nextel Cup winning effort of Kurt Busch.

Photo courtesy of Margie Gerard.