1973 Membership Card
<div class=”maint”> This was part of my crew in 73. From left to right, my dad Merile, Jim Bunting, me, Don Roth and Aubrey Harris. Ed Hennessey was missing this particular day. Ed, Diane,and their kids, Dave, Sherri and Johnny spent a lot of time each week end at Peterborough with his sister Ruby and husband Bob.
Preparing for 1973
<div class=”maint”> It was about 11 below zero, a very small space heater in the garage and we pulled out the engine and got the car primed for paint. Little did I know that my sponsor, Sherwood Auto Body, would sand everything away that I did.
West Coast Mirrors
<div class=”maint”> Waiting on Lydon avenue in the freezing cold, some items should be noted. We were allowed mirrors then. So I went to Canadian Tire and bought the biggest mirrors I could find. Most guys used the “wink” mirrors. They didn’t have West Coast mirrors at Canadina Tire, so I got the next best thing, East Coast mirrors. See the steering box, the specially designed sub frame under the chassis to stop flexing (like I would know that). Big heavy shocks and within a week 4 gallons of bondo…but it will look great. The steering box drag link must have came off at least twice at Pinecrest while in the front of the pack in the heat. After a 4 car pile up, someone picked up the tie rod, or idler arm and said “is this yours”?, I looked at it and said “I have no idea”! Not good.
CAA Finally Arrives
<div class=”maint”> The tow truck picked up my car and took it to Sherwood Auto Body. David at 16 months makes sure everything is ok.
Must Be Hooked Up Properly
<div class=”maint”> I’m sure the tow truck driver asked me about towing with the drive shaft in the car. After I asked how I would get it out, he gave up and towed it anyway. The tires were recaps, the left front was called a peanut wheel, if we had the space saver tire back then I’m sure we would have used it. The trunk was terribly wrinkled but the body shop will deal with that. New sheet metal? No! Tons of bondo. This is a nice shot of the mirrors. It would be hard to sneak up on a car with those monsters. In my case, they were used so I could figure out how to get out of the way.
Fixing the body
<div class=”maint”> The following 3 pictures show the stages of the body work
<div class=”maint”> I was on my way to work and had to see the progress. If you look close you can see the door handles on the car. They were original and the door opened. It was tied shut with a leather strap.
Heading To The Paint Shop
<div class=”maint”> The car was moved to the paint shop. That looks like a Police crusier in front of my car.
The First Coat Passes David’s Approval
<div class=”maint”> The green is on and the white is next. Who said don’t paint your car green?
Harry Helps Tune The Engine
<div class=”maint”> Just before the paint we put the engine in and got in running. The engine was built by Lothian Engineering and cost $1400. Harry Bow knew how to set up engines and he was a big help for me. In 1973 $1400 was 7 weeks pay.
<div class=”maint”> This car had an awesome high gloss paint job. They did an excellent job.
Ready For Lettering
Beauty and The Baby Boy
Norm Letters My Car
<div class=”maint”> Norm was a great sign letterer. He would do whatever I needed done and make the car look great. I was fortunate over the years in that area of racing.
Plymouth Pulls Hobby car
<div class=”maint”> Ed used his 1965 Fury to pull my race car for my first season and part of 1973. We were on our way and it was opening day.
First Pit Stop
<div class=”maint”> On the way to the races we stopped at Canadian Tire to have the transmission level topped up. Any future racng pit stops would be for much more serious reasons. Imagine holding up the Pit Stop drive thru to get a picture.
Entering Flamboro, The First Time In 73
<div class=”maint”> It was a very narrow gate into the pits. It cost $5. John would tell us $5 was cheap. I asked him how come drivers had to pay, the Beatles didn’t pay to entertain the fans, so why should drivers pay to race? The debate continues.
Don Roth Making An Adjustment
<div class=”maint”> Don Roth, who pitted for me for 3 years on my Mini Stock, hepled out whenever he could. Him and Ed kept me together. In the back ground is #80 Bob Kurtin. We became and still are good friends.
Dad and Ed Fix The Car & I Watch
<div class=”maint”> Dad came out opening day. He always wanted me to do good, but we struggled most of our early years, I’d say for the first 14. He was an excellent high pressure welder, a member of the Boiler Makers union. He usually did all my welding, and I kept him busy. Ed is pictured here also.
Heading Out For Practice
<div class=”maint”> Late Models can be seen in the back ground. I was heading out for warm ups. They may have been heading for cover….okay it wasn’t that bad, well not always.
David Wants To Drive
<div class=”maint”> David is a little small for the jacket and helmet, for now. Our driveway was adjacent to 5 Italian neighbours who were more into gardens, vegetables and wine, than cars. I usually woke them up with the noise, in fact some times we greeted them in the morning after working all night. We tried being quiet but it was tough. One night we were working late on the car in 73′. It was the 3rd week in a row that we got wrecked on Friday night at Speedway Park and had to race the next day at Flamboro. We closed the garage to reduce the noise but that meant nothing when we upset Eds entire tool box on the garage floor at about 4 in the morning. We turned out the garage lights and peaked out a crack as lights in their houses came on. It was a bad deal, but we had to get ready.
Daddy I Want To Drive
First Win May 19th
<div class=”maint”> On May 19th at Flamboro I finished 9th in the heat and did not qualify, so I ran the consi. I won this race and you can see my finger held up proudly with my first win. Here is a coincidence that I never realized until recently. I ran 30 races in 1972. Up until this race we ran 2 races on May 5th (heat & feature), 2 races on May 12th (heat & feature) and this was my 2nd race on May 19th. It was my 36th race entered and my first win. What’s amazing is I never knew until one day I decided to count how many races it took me to win my first win. I was surprised that it was 36….but I don’t what it means?
Harry’s First Car
<div class=”maint”> There’s a lot in this picture. Harry is out with his first car, a Ford coach #35. Beside him is Bill Lyons the President of the Hobby club. After removing the door strap I was able to open my drivers door. A Late Model heads out to practice. This is the same parking area the Hobbys used for years.
Fred Poets Buys Harrys Car
<div class=”maint”> After only a few nights of racing the Coach, Harry traded the car with some cash to Fred Poets who had at that time proven the car was the fastest on the track. Fred was winning features in bunches. When Fred bought the Coach he primed it, but was very unhappy with it’s performance, unlike Harry who was very happy with his new quick Coupe. Harry would win his heat, trophy dash and feature within two weeks of buying the car. It was fast and he was a good driver, and Harry, I never won a hat-trick.
Harry In Warms Ups At Speedway Park
<div class=”maint”> Harry wanted more than anything to beat me. Once he bought this car it was a done deal. The car was super quick, and he could get around. There was no weight rule at that time and many of the fastest cars weighed under 2100lbs. Most of us who were showing up just to race were scaling in at 2500 plus. Parity came later when we lightened our cars.
<div class=”maint”> I was sponsored by Hillmack Services in 72 and 73. Harry was a broker for a company that did business with Max Hiltz, the owner of Hillamck, for carrying freight. Harry worked a deal with Max to sponsor him too. We painted both cars the same. Max also owned race horses so we put horses on the trunk.
Grassy Pits at Speedway Park
1966 Galaxie 500 Crew Cab
<div class=”maint”> Nonie and I bought this beauty, a 1966 Ford Galaxie 500. We used it to tow to the races. One day I was towing it in Toronto near our home and came to a qucik stop. There was a loud bang and when I looked in the mirror my race car was tipped down. The rear frame rails broke on the Galaxie right at the wheel well area. Dad ended up welding it back together and we got the rest of the year out of it…you can see Ray in his Coach. Ray and I started at the bottom of the ladder and fought for many years to keep racing close and fair. We always had in mind the importance of the first heat runners. Many other drivers felt the same.
<div class=”maint”> This picture was taken on September 1st at Flamboro. It was my 4th win of the season, a consi win. Check out the packed grand stands. Also you can see my helmet is red. Bill Lyons landed a sponsorship for us with Carlings and we called the Hobbys the Red Cap Racers. Part of the sponsor agreement was to have all the drivers paint their helmets red. Imagine now a days asking racers to do that. We were proud to run under the Carling banner and did what it took to keep them as a sponsor….thats Harry Clark the head starter for Flamboro. He was a gentleman and always had something nice to say when he gave you the flag. Bill Fewson is the same way.
<div class=”maint”> John Hasselfeldt takes over the ride for Steve Barr in the #66.
<div class=”maint”> Harry ran so good when he bought this car that almost overnight he went from the fist heat to the fast car heat running with Lyons, Dickenson, Godfrey, Nicholson, Fields and other top runners.
The Big One!
<div class=”maint”> This is the original 5 wide…Bob Field #2 is the only car to get by this 8 car pile up. Don Cockburn #73 appears to have come to a stop. I’m not sure who the car is that spun(#75), that’s Max McKee #44 (Dave McKee’s dad) and #64 is George McLeod with me beside him and John Hasselfeldt on the outside of my car. There’s a car in the fence it looks like #63 Merle Godfrey.
Pinecrest Speedway July 2 Gas Pedal Sticks
<div class=”maint”> This was the 3rd race of the weekend for us. We ran Saturday night at Flamboro and I took 2nd in the feature. We ran again on Monday afternoon at Flamboro and I finished 4th in the feature. We changed our gears and headed to Pinecrest Speedway, which was perfect, not only because we raced twice in one day, it was also heading back home to Toronto, home. After finishing 3rd in the heat, I had a lot of confidence. However only 15 laps into the feature I would have my worst wreck to date. Going into turn one the gas pedal jammed and even with both feet jammed to the floor I couldn’t slow the car down. I went in almost straight and hit so hard that I thought I was going right over the wall. Danny Shirtliff was behind me and is shown here passing on the low side. I thought I was clever by running fine small steel line as a throttle cable. The line was secured to the gas pedal and went through a plastic tube in the firewall. I got the plastic tube from the Canadian Tire sports department. It was used for drinking through water bottles. The wire was secured to the carb. It worked great for the first 2 months of racing. We found the cause when we got home. At some point the wire started to unravel. Finally when the gas pedal was right to the floor the frayed end of the line came through the plastic tube and when I let off the gas the frayed end jammed in the plastic tube keeping the gas pedal to the floor. I was 26 years old, yet the impact almost knocked me out. Fred Poets would go on to win the 50 lap feature. Bill Lyons also wrecked earlier in the race when he tangled with #8 Rich Harris. Later on in my career, some of my peers will get upset with wanting to run so many races (over 20), but I was raised on 30 plus race nights a season.
Harry Bow Battles On The Outside
<div class=”maint”> What a battle this was. Harry Bow started last on the big 1/2 mile oval and on the last lap he caught up to me. With the East Coast mirrors polished to the max I could see him coming. He got into 2nd place as I took the white flag. He closed the gap quick on the back chute and I thought there is no way I can keep him back. Even though we didn’t have radio’s I could hear my dad saying “keep down”!! Coming off turn 4 I stayed low and he went outside and I beat him by half a bumper at the finish line. He wasn’t happy and reminded me that in another 20 feet he would have had me. I didn’t care because it was my first win ever at Speedway Park and my 3rd of the season. But if he was mad then…oh, oh,!!…In the feature Harry and I tangled going into turn one. He went outside of me and I didn’t see him and I moved up. He went over my right rear wheel and flew not into the fence but through the bottom of the guard rail. He slid out of his seat belts and had to be rushed to the hospital. Nonie and I followed Ding and Mike DeLeeuw to the hospital. Harry was okay but he wasn’t happy with me. I can still picture me telling him I didn’t know he was there. Imagine, not knowing he was there with those monster mirrors. His car took a beating and in 1973 the emphasis for drivers was more on the car than our well being. Dumb? Oh yea!, but our Angels watched over us. I wonder if Harry’s Angel was mad at me too?