Norm Ellefson

ellefson edit

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

Pete Bicknell

Inducted 2002

A driver of modified racing cars on dirt tracks in southern Ontario and northern New York state, Pete also owns several racing-related businesses — Bicknell Racing Products (chassis builders) and Pete’s Automotive B.R.P. (engine builders). Racers from coast-to-coast and in the U.S. purchase cars and engines from him. He also owns a Hoosier Tire distributorship. In a many-season career, Pete Bicknell has won more than 30 track championships and 300 modified features. He has won those features and championships at 14 different speedways in Canada and the United States. He has also won the prestigious Syracuse 200 big-block headline race during Super D.I.R.T. Week in Syracuse, N.Y., in 1998 and 1999 and 2001, won the smallbock championship at Super D.I.R.T. week in Syracuse in 1982 and 1983, was the 1991 and 1994 Mr. DIRT 358 champion, is a former St. Catharines, Ont., Athlete of the Year and a former St. Catharines Sportsman of the Year. In 1999, as well as winning the Super D.I.R.T. Week Syracuse 200 for big-blocks, he set a world closed-course dirt record with a speed of 120 miles an hour on the Syracuse Mile.

Image via Ontario Oval

Doug Duncan

Warren Coniam in 1983 aboard a Doug Duncan machine

Inducted 1996

Doug Duncan was Canada’s most innovative and successful race car builder. He built cars for Ted Hogan (super modifieds and stock cars, including the first tube-frame stock car in Canada), Warren Coniam (the super modified that won the 1987 Oswego Classic) and many top Canadian oval racers. He also built cars driven by Danny Shaw, Grant Clark and Peter Ryan for the fabled Comstock Racing Team.