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Author Topic: Delaware Speedway Historical Thread (**photo threads from 2011 merged on Jan 7)  (Read 101838 times)

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Offline Shadowracer

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Welcome to the unofficial Delaware Speedway Online History Project.

This is the place for everyone and anyone to post any old photos or Delaware stories that you'd like to share. I'll be getting it started by making a number of posts myself, but its a community thread. I'd like to encourage everyone to post here.

The Reason

The purpose of this thread, simply put, is to share memories, old photos, stories and recollections. If there's one thing that long time fans are good at, its telling stories about the old days, and we've found that people are generally good at sharing this stuff. Every once in a while a thread pops up with some old photos, and the discussion goes well for a little while then it, like any other thread, tends to drop off the board.

There's already been a bit of a trip down memory lane for some of us in the "Please introduce yourself" thread, and we'd like to keep it going. This thread will be stickied so that, for years to come, everyone that turns up here on the Delaware message board gets a chance to see it. We hope that every once in a while, we'll get a new member that just happens to have some old pics or programs squirrelled away in a box somewhere and would like to share.

What many folks might not know is that Delaware itself does not have much in the way of documentation for anything that happened before 1998 or so. So much history has been lost to the ages, as past management was understandably more concerned with running the business of the speedway than chronicling its history. Believe it or not, that APC 300 wall of fame when you walk through the main gate is the only record in existence of most of those races. So really, any history the place has only exists in the memories, old photos and programs of the fans and drivers.

We want to get those memories where others can see and enjoy them too.  


The Plan

It is my hope that one day we'll have enough here to put together a small "historical society" with a legitimate book or a historical display that can be exhibited at the speedway and maybe at car/hot rod shows as well. So in that regard, there may come a time when we'd be happy to accept donations of old programs or memorabilia, and you can rest assured that anything you did donate would be treated like the treasure that it is, and shared for all to see.

In the coming months, the plan for me is to go through all these old threads that contained photos and articles and bring them here. Over the years I've posted a lot of stuff. We had a great collection that Gary Brooks shared with us, and various other posters as well. It will be a time consuming process. I will soon open up a designated photo sharing site just for this, most likely a Photobucket site, and transfer everything over there. I'll also make sure that someone else also has admin access to the site, likely John from Delaware, just so the keys are being held by the "society" rather than just me as an individual.  

Bringing them over here will be a time consuming process, but the end result will be worth it. Couple all those photos with the (hopefully) flood of new ones, and this thread should become a really great read.


If You Want to Share

If you are not entirely computer savvy and are unsure about scanning and posting photos, feel free to contact me personally and I'll be happy to help. If it should happen that you have a bunch of great photos but can't scan them, someone may be able to come to you with a scanner so that you get to have your photos up...but don't have to turn them over to anyone to do it. Old racing photos are rare and priceless to thier owners. We recognize that and would never ask you to just hand them over, unless of course, you want to.

Likewise, if you can scan them but don't know how to share them on the net, send them to me and I'll post them on your behalf. Try and give me a caption for each photo and it will get posted with full credit to the donator and photographer if possible.

If you are a "lurker" which means you read the boards but don't have a profile, and you want to share, please email me at

tjjjames@ZZZZyahoo.ca
(remove the ZZZZ part...its just there to prevent automated spam crawlers - and yes, its 3 j's)



What we're looking for

The criteria is loose here. If it relates to Delaware in some way, then its good. By proximity, anything regarding the old Nilestown Speedway is naturally welcome too, as most of the drivers/fans of that era did both places. We'd love to have at least a caption for each pic, but mystery "who's in this car" photos are good too. Someone on the boards usually has an answer.

Its been our experience that the tale-telling seems to snowball. Someone posts a photo, then someone else says "I remember that. Does anyone remember the night when...." etc etc, and we heartily encourage that here. You don't need to have photos to participate at all. This is a "history" thread, but unlike high school history, we want it to be fun too.

We REALLY hope you'll grace us with your participation!  

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« Last Edit: January 07, 2012, 05:37:21 AM by Shadowracer »
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Offline Shadowracer

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This was what started it all for me. These are scans of 2 old programs, one from 71 and one from 72. Just go through the lineup sheets and see how many names you recognize. There's a lot of 2nd and 3rd generation drivers at Delaware now.

Also, on the cover of one is Harv Lennox in the Tammy 10. Look closely: A couple of years ago Harv was the grand marshal of our opening day ceremonies, and he honored me my autographing the cover for me. I never saw Harv race that I remember, being ony 2 years old in 71, but I heard enough stories from my mom and dad over the years that it was almost like I'd been there.

Harv was a bit of a villain back in the day. He was one of those guys who tended to dominate a lot of races, and therefore got booed a lot. In those days, the tradition was to take a victory lap with the checkers. One night at Nilestown, he declined the victory lap because whenever he did one, people would throw stuff at him on the way by. The crowd took his refusal as a slap in the face and booed even more vigorously.

Legend has it that Nilestown's promoter later offered Harv an extra bonus to his feature winnings, provided he continued to be the bad guy and not do victory laps, as in enraged the fans...and kept them buying tickets.

Thes programs are pdf files, hosted generously by FromTheStands.   

1971 Harv Lennox cover

1972 Delaware Program.



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Offline jcrashm2

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great deal on a pinto, prices like that they would be selling cars like crazy.

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Raced Flamboro,Varney,Sauble,Barrie,CNE, Sunset,Ohsweken,Humberstone,Peterboro, Paris,Delaware

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Offline Shadowracer

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This one is only from just over a month ago. Unless you're brand new here, you've seen it already. This was written in honor of the NASCAR Canadian Tire series coming home to Delaware, and was also printed in the souvenir program for that weekend.

-------------------------------------------------------------

NOTE- All B/W photos are scans from either programs or copies of PRN. All color photos were taken by myself.

CASCAR/NCTS...a Brief History

Its no secret that the Nascar Canadian Tire Series is a really HUGE deal for Delaware. Its probably the biggest and most highly anticipated event in recent history, and the stands are expected to be full. All this talk about the series coming "home" is not just overblown hype...in this case its the real deal.

Once upon a time, the Super Late Model division ruled the roost at Delaware. Russ Urlin, Jr Hanley, Don Biederman, Don Mallat, Bob Merrifield all were regular campaigners here in a period starting in 1978 or so. (before that, our late models were Limited Stock, and the big boys only visited about 4 times a season) Through the early 80s this went on, and the typical Friday night races at Delaware consisted of the Super Late Models, as well as a vibrant Street Stock division with so many cars it had to be split into Street Stock A and B. It was good times, but darkness loomed. �


Open rules meant some funky race cars

Super Late Model racing was facing 2 main challenges at the time. Firstly, it was getting expensive...too expensive for most regular Friday night campaigners. How could they compete with the likes of Junior Hanley on a regular basis without throwing more money at it than most teams could afford to spend? It got to the point where as soon as you saw that 72 car come in the back gate, everyone else might as well have packed it in for the night. The second problem was where to draw from. Always before, a Late Model was a Late Model no matter what track you went to. By the 80s, tracks were divided (as they still are today) and every place had a different rules package. The old formula of locals mixed with visitors was starting to go sour.

Tony Novotny, Delaware's promoter at the time, had dabbled with a common series and a common ruleset for Super Late Models called CASCAR, and the CASCAR Number 7 Lights Series was successfully run at Delaware, as well as places like Sauble, Barrie, and Checker Flag/Windsor. However, even as the series did fairly well, skyrocketing costs, and prize money that did not escalate at the same rate as expenses, left Super Late Model racing in trouble.


The Number 7 Lights Series years - Londons Dave Isen


Don Beiderman wins at Delaware



Now all this time, the Street Stock division was thriving, sometimes with almost 70 cars in the pits.

There were a couple of years of failed desperation tactics to try and bolster the Fri Night SLM fields at Delaware. Some of those tactics included opening up the rules completely, so that as long as you were going by the rules of your home track, then you were legal at Delaware. Another was offering up a 1st place prize of $1000, an unheard of amount � for a Fri nite feature. But still, fields dwindled and became less competitive. (occasianally going so low that they had to reneg on the 1000 and offer up 750 instead.) The big guns still came in the form of Tracey Leslie and Junior Hanley, but everyone else was relegated to the title of mobile pylon, and the crowds on the hill started to dwindle too.

In the winter of 1985 it was announced that the Super Late Model division was done at Delaware as a regular division, � just as the SuperModifieds had done a decade earlier. They'd still run, but only once a month or so for 100 lap races. On tap for Friday nights now was a new kind of car called a CASCAR Late Model, and the competitors were drawn primarily from the Street Stock A division. For the first year in fact it was hard to tell the difference, as the cars looked pretty much the same, but before long they began to look more like Late Models. The class was basically a throwback to something called the Diamond class that ran in the 70's - essentially a Limited Sportsman. With this new divison, some of the old timers from the decade previous came back to the fold, such as Doug Garner, Moe Merner, and Ken Johntson, and they came back to rub fenders with CASCAR LM pioneers like Steve Robblee, Ron Ling, George Wall, Mark Patrick, Doug Stewart and Bob Morris.


32-Steve Robblee leads 10-Jim Weirsma down the frontchute in Fri nite action.



12-Mark Patrick takes heat race checkers.

Suddenly racing was good again at Delaware. These races in the new divison were certainly not a given...often over half the field had a shot at winning. And the crowds started to come back. Stars were born in the form of Barry Harmer, Skeeter Betteridge, Brad Jacques and Andy Farr.


Brad Jacques


04-Andy Farr from Mich, with "the Mayor of Sweaburg" Barry Harmer (number 26) in the background.


Skeeter from London


One of the first times the CASCAR late models ran more than a 25 lap feature. Labor Day 1990. It was the McKerlie Millen 200, but they split the bill with the Super late Models that day. Each ran a 100 lap race. Junior Hanley won one, and Brad Jaques won the other.

And then the next step went into motion, as a few other tracks adopted the CASCAR philosophy as well, which was to keep costs down. 2 barrel carbs, and 8 inch tires were the order, and it was adopted by Ottawa, St Eustache, and the short lived re-opening of the CNE stadium. Of course, more tracks meant you could now have a travelling series, and the CASCAR General Tire Super Series went into motion, and we were then introduced to guys like Rob Neely, Kerry Micks, and Dan Shirtliff.

There were some amazing years and some amazing races. At Delaware, Scott Lindsay, Jim Patrick, DJ Kennington and Brad Graham emerged as stars, and in the Super series we were intoroduced to Duke Sawchuk, Al Turner, Ron Beauchamp, a reborn Speedy Jack Monaghan, not to mention a 2nd time reborn Earl Ross. There were a number of years during this era where the rules package for both Friday nights and Super Series were close enough that Friday nighers could run both, so the fields for big races at Delaware and nearby Cayuga were huge, with often a 20 car consolation race and the main event starting 36.


Glory Years - Cayuga approximately 1995. Fri nite regulars like Jesse Kennedy and Doug Stewart lock horns with 7-Sean Depius, 93-Alex Nagy, 74-Duke Sawchuck, 3-Dan Shirtliff.


Duke and Jim Lapcevich in the Tim Hortons car.


Who's this young guy?
 
Now, it didn't take long before the Super Series took on a rulebook all of its own...soon the Fri nighters couldn't make the field any more for the big races. While still respectable the fields shrunk a bit. But the competitors were taking it seriously, dedicating themselves to it and boosting the credibility. A Westen Division was born, so now competitors from Calgary and BC were part of it, and the National Series had begun to develop as a sort of Canadian version of the Winston Cup.

The rest is history. A few years ago, Tony Novotny sold his series to the big one: NASCAR. And the Canadian Tire Super Series was born.

And here we are.

So, on Saturday night, you'll look down into the pits, and you'll see all kinds of really big haulers for really big NCTS teams. A few million dollar teams there with the best equipment out there, multiple cars, and every team member with a spiffy uniform. But look down at the other end of the pits too - the turn 3-4 end. There you'll see the Delaware Super Stock Division, regular weekly racers, some with small haulers, some on old fashioned open trailers - guys in jeans and t-shirts. And all the cars looking like something slightly faster and more Late-modelish than a Street Stock...
 
...Pretty much exactly what the first CASCAR Late Models were 24 years ago.

Thats the evolution of Cascar from its inception right up to the NCTS, all in the same pit area....right where it all started.

And I think that's pretty cool.

 ;D

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Offline Shadowracer

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Just to show how connections sometimes get made:

Gary Brooks once sent me this photo (bolded type is Gary's words)

This white car was owned by my dad and driven by Bob Mc cormick but don't know the year.



After seeing this photo, I went back to the old family photo album, where I have a couple of photos of my uncle Ray Eaton (Ford coupe #46) driving at Nilestown in 1969.

Here's one:


and here's one more from the same race. - now go back to Gary's photo. The white bumper of the car in this photo is my uncle's 46, and he's following Gary's Dad's car.



Goes to show what a small world it can be.

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Offline ernie

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Great Idea and great start Shadow! You should move this over to the Canadian Driver HOF section along side Sunset and Barrie.

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Offline Shadowracer

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These photos are from another old thread. Once upon a time, Gary Brooks, Powereade Mod number 57, sent me all these photos to post on his behalf.

All quotes/captions are his.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote from: Gary
The blue 29 was the same car a couple years later with my brother Vic driving, the 30 car was also my dads and Fast Freddy Cameron drove it . the 39 vega in the back ground is Davey Isen.




Quote
Fast Freddy in the 30 winning at Nilestown ! If you look close you can see the duct tape on the top to patch the holes in the roof from rolling the car the week before at Delaware !!!



Quote
The black and white 29 is Vic at nilestown and the car is a mecury meteor !!!


Quote
The blue 29 is another Nilestown car and I think Vic has a funny story about driving it home after the races LOL !!!


Quote
The vega is at a car show at skate land and I think that Ken Chapman the guy with the trailer of stuff ran the place then and oh ya thats a good family friend Ralph Reddick standing with Vic in the pic !!!  



Quote
The one in the garage is my mom & dad R.I.P.



Quote
Here's a few of me.
    The red car is one night I ventured out to Flamboro Speedway and won the feature.


Quote
The white monte was the first night of the season and belonged to Steve Henderson.


Quote
The big monte you might remember.


Quote
The OWM was the first time I ran one and won the feature.


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« Last Edit: July 13, 2009, 03:06:32 PM by Shadowracer »
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Offline raceguy

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What a great idea Shadow!   How can I help? This is something I have always thought should be done.  I do have some pictures,etc from old programs and newspapers, but would like to help out even more, if I could

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Offline Shadowracer

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This post came at us from Statsman a month or 2 ago. Statsman is up from Barrie way and has an impressive archive of photos. Here he shared a few that were relevant to Delaware. We were gearing up for the NCTS weekend at Delaware at the time these were originally posted, and the post sort of slipped thru the cracks the first time around.

All other text is from Statsman himself, and I thank him once again for sharing!


----------------------------------------------------------

Lots of interesting memories posted in the introduction. I thought it would be a good idea to start posting some pic of old times at Delaware and old timers who ran there.

Wheatley Ontario's Brian Setterington ran quite regularly there in the early to mid 70s.


This is Cayuga but Earl Ross and his 13 had lots of 70s success at Delaware. Not sure how often NHL and WHA goalie (last one to play without a mask) Andy Brown ran there though.


A pair of Box cars at that 1975 Carling 100. Terry Kitchen was in the #8 Camaro and I don't remember who drove the older Chevelle that day. Nice view of the grandstand in the back of this one.

This was my first visit to the track for the NASCAR Canada Carling series race in 1975 won by Joe Ruttman in the AVC Camaro who ran away and hid from a stellar field that day. There was a new to racing guy named Gary Pratt involved with that car and he would go on to some success building the Corvettes that have dominated sports car racing for the past 10 years.



Someone mentioned Ken McIlroy's #4 Mustang that was dominant in the Diamonds/Limited Lates in the early 70s. Here he is at Hide-A-Way outside of Kitchener ahead of Ron Snyder. But the car was commonly seen at Delaware, Nilestown and Sauble.



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Offline mike32

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sports car racer Bill Adam from the Dundas suburb of Greensville used to take a turn driving the Ron Box Chevelle on occasion (both were usually number 68 with tape changing the Chevelle to 78). The cars were detailed like Ron's hot rods are now. I believe they renumbered the Camaro on occasion to 8 as I think Toronto's Ray Gullison had first dibs on the #68 for the tour.
 And re the old program cover showing late model driver Ron Smith 88 from London. At Cayuga, the announcer, Doug McLellan, used to refer to him as the "Late Ron Smith" as he could never make it to the track before the races started. What ever happened to Ron?
 I believe Mr Novotny got the nickname "Two Barrel Tony" when the #7  late model rules he instituted changed the late models
 to a 2 bbl carb and Delaware and Flamboro ran as sister tracks and even shared the souvenir program. The early Cascar late models were actually 2bbl super lates. After Delaware switched to Fridays, Cayuga suffered car count wise and the late models class merged with the compact division there.

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« Last Edit: August 10, 2009, 09:27:00 PM by mike32 »

Offline raceguy

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The first big race program after it went to 1/2 mile





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Offline Shadowracer

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Now thats cool.

I was strapping lad of about 5 months of age when that came out.

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Offline Shadowracer

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A video. More recent...but certainly deserving of being in the history thread.

This, to my mind, is still the race that defines Super Stock racing to me.

In June of 2006 we lost Dave Lawrence, who'd pretty much been the Street Stock division's elder statesman and most successful driver. The next year, Duane Manning took the helm of the 28 car, and went back to Dave's very first paint scheme.

This evening was a race that went 28 laps instead of the usual 25, in honor of Dave. If I recall correctly, it was exactly a year after his passing. We take up with about ten laps to go. Manning's actually well out in front, but he bobbles slightly in turn 2, allowing 87-Jeremy Ouellette to catch him.

Manning isn't behind the wheel any more, but is still helping out the BT Racing team, and also fields a Krown Jr car driven by his son Lucas. I have no idea what's become of Ouellete.

If this isn't an example of a guy racing his heart out, then I don't know what is.


Speedway Peterbilt Super Stock Final Laps June 15[/url]

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« Last Edit: August 23, 2009, 06:06:32 PM by Shadowracer »
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Offline Shadowracer

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Some Sweet Old Hobby/LM photos from 1968 (Sun morning update)
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2009, 12:47:59 AM »
Let me first preface this by saying these are not my photos. They were posted over on the Inside Track Boards by a poster named Christian Genest, and I've left the watermarks on them indicating (I think) the photogs name is/was Paul Michaud.

There was a link to them posted here in another thread, but I thought they deserved to actually be posted here.

These pics are amazing. I'd guess the colors may have been sweetened a little, but they are very clear.

I'd invite any and all that can hazard a guess as to who some of the drivers are. Some of them are labelled, but most are a mystery to me. Its about time we had another "old times" thread.

Also note that the speedway is in its 1/4 mile paved configuration and in some photos you can see Pop Degraw's Hot Dog wagon up on the hill. Yes back in those days you paid at the gate down by the road and just drove in, as you can see by the cars parked on the hill.

Dave Scott



A Couple of Marsh Manning





17 Geoff Rennison (I have a program from 71 stating he was from Lambeth)


Mystery Driver 77 (might be Bill Atchinson from Sarnia)







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« Last Edit: October 08, 2009, 11:25:31 AM by Shadowracer »
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Offline Shadowracer

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Re: Some Sweet Old Hobby/LM photos from 1968
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2009, 12:56:43 AM »
Some Action Shots

I'd guess the 66 is Grant Manning (check out the pipes on the side of that car) , but I cant place any of the others. One says London 1 and I'd be curious about that. I think Jack Sharpe was driving Lobo 1 during that era, and it was a supermodified...so I don't think its him.










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« Last Edit: October 02, 2009, 12:58:27 AM by Shadowracer »
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