Toronto, Ontario (December 15, 2000) - The Canadian Automotive Collection, Canada's home of speed, host of the Canadian MotorSport Hall of Fame, announced today the nominees for the Canadian MotorSport Hall of Fame for Year 2000. Created in...
Toronto, Ontario (December 15, 2000) - The Canadian Automotive Collection, Canada's home of speed, host of the Canadian MotorSport Hall of Fame, announced today the nominees for the Canadian MotorSport Hall of Fame for Year 2000.
Created in 1993, the Canadian MotorSport Hall of Fame recognizes the giants of Canadian Motorsport. The Hall currently honours 70 people and organizations that have made Canadian motorsport the internationally recognized force that it has become.
The nominees will be inducted into the Canadian MotorSport Hall of Fame at the 8th Annual Gala Black -Tie Induction Dinner to be held in Toronto on Saturday, February 24, 2001.
GORDIE BONIN, RON HODGSON, GORDON JENNER
DR. HUGH SCULLY
GORDIE BONIN, RON HODGSON, GORDON JENNER
These three people could well make up what is arguably the most successful drag racing team in Canadian motorsport history. Gordie Bonin, the driver, won 9 NHRA Funny Car national events, the AHRA Top Fuel World Championship in 1989 and numerous other runoffs. Gordie also served as the NHRA's director of marketing for six years. After a short retirement, Gordie returned to action two years ago, competing in the FIA's European Top Fuel category. Ron Hodgson, the team member, ran Edmonton International Speedway from 1974 to 1979. He also fine-tuned dragsters that won 6 NHRA Funny Car national event victories, two AHRA Top Fuel World Championships and numerous other events. Ron today is associated with the top fuel dragster driven by Craig Smith out of Spokane. He also campaigns a sprint car with his youngest son, Jeff. Gordon Jenner was, for years, associated with a number of drag racing teams, acting as crew chief. He joined theBonin-Hodgson team for the first time in 1972 and was crew chief when many of the team's victories were recorded. Gordon worked as crew chief on a team with driver Terry Capp in 1988 that won the NHRA's World Championship. In 1989, he rejoined Bonin-Hodgson in time for the World Championship, which they won. True drag racers, they were quick to lend a helping hand to fellow competitors when the need arose and over the years they worked with Gary Beck and Ed McCullough, among others.
A fine competitor who won many formula car and sedan races and championships, and who continues to teach the art and techniques of motor racing, Jacques Couture won the Canadian Driving Championship during a long and varied career. Jacques established the first racing school in North America, the Jim Russell school at Le Circuit/Mont Tremblant in Quebec -- and was the instructor who taught the young Gilles Villeneuve how to race. He was a mentor to many other than Villeneuve and was instrumental, for instance, in helping David McConnell (of the Montreal Star McConnells) to reach the Formula 2 level in Europe. Jacques today lives happily in California, looking for another Villeneuve.
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 inte4resting 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.
For four years in the late 1950s-early 1960s, Bob Hayward was Canada's best-known international athlete. He raced unlimited hydroplanes, the fastest and most powerful racing boats known to man. Hayward and his boat, Miss Supertest, dominated the sport. By domination, it means that if Hayward and Miss Supertest entered a race, they usually won it. A racer who tinkered with the design of his boats, as well as building the motors, Hayward won the famed Harmsworth Trophy all three years he tried for it, defeating such famous hydroplane drivers as Bill Muncey in Century 21 and Miss U.S. 1 driven by Don Williams. Hayward died on Sept. 10, 1961 at the Silver Cup Regatta on the Detroit River when he lost control rounding a curve. In his honour, the Canadian government renamed a bay in Lake Ontario near Picton, the scene of many of his hydroplane triumphs. It is called Hayward Long Reach. Although his career was short, it was totally spectacular.
One of the most famous names in Canadian auto racing, Heimrath won the Canadian Sports Car Racing Championship (later known as the Canadian Driving Championship) in 1961 (the first year the title was awarded) and in 1964. He was first runner-up in '62, '63 and '65 -- a pretty impressive record. He was the second Canadian to race in Formula 1 (Peter Ryan was the first), when he entered the U.S. Grand Prix at Watkins Glen in 1963. He won the SCCA Trans-Am championship twice -- in 1977 and again in 1979. He was an expert long-distance racer and teamed up with such champions as Johnny Rutherford and Craig Hill in entering the Sebring 12 hours, the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 24 Hours of LeMans, although he never won any of those races. He was a USAC Indycar competitor in '68 and '69 and raced in the Canadian and Continental Formula A division (he bought his car from George Eaton) in 1970. Not to be confused with his son, Ludwig Jr. who was good enough to race in the CART series, Heimrath Sr. is still active today, driving in endurance races.
Stock ear 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.
GREG MOORE One of Canada's finest young Indycar drivers, Moore's rise to the top was meteoric. From his first exposure to karting in 1985 until he lost his life in a CART race in California in 1999 it was obvious that Greg was a driver to watch.
In 1989 and 1990 he won the North American Enduro karting championship; 1992 saw him win the USAC West Formula 2000 champion. His first year in Indy Lights (1993), he had eight top 10 finishes. In 1994 he finished third in the Indy Lights championship and in 1995 he won the Indy Lights title, winning 10 of 12 races, thus breaking a record set by fellow Canadian Paul Tracy (who won 9 of 14).
In 1996 was Greg's first year in CART and he had two podiums and one front-row start. In 1997 he just edged Al Unser Jr to the became the youngest driver to ever to win a National Championship race in CART (including when the series was sanctioned by USAC and the AAA) when he won the Milwaukee 200. He had one other win that season and finished fifth in points. He continued to win races and to finish on podiums (he was third in the standings in 1998) and, at the time of his death, had been signed by Roger Penske to team with Gil de Ferran on Team Penske in 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 13th 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.
DR. HUGH SCULLY
Dr. Scully has made an immense medical and safety contribution to the sport of auto racing in Canada and the world though his work with safety proponents such as Jackie Stewart and Dr. Sid Watkins. As well as chief of surgery at Toronto General Hospital, Professor of Medicine at University of Toronto and immediate past-president of the Ontario Medical Association, current president of the Canadian Medical Association, Dr. Scully is also medical director of the Grand Prix of Canada/Montreal and the Molson Indys Toronto and Vancouver. As well, he is No. 2 in the world, behind Prof. Sid Watkins, on the FIA Medical and Circuit Safety Committee. Although not as visible to motorsport fans as the drivers, promoters, and team owners, the contributions of people such as Dr. Scully are vitally important to the growth and prosperity of our sport.
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905 274 0996 Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame