Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Maurice (Mo) Carter Dies Peacefully At Home - March 28, 2002

1924 - March 28, 2002
Maurice (Mo) Carter
(Photo; www.camaros.org)
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
A decorated World War II veteran, a dedicated community leader and successful auto dealer in Hamilton, Ont. Mo attended St. Johns College School and proved to be a superb athlete, playing professional Hockey, Football and winning the Canadian Army Mile Run. During the 50s MO was Sports and Special Events Director for CJCR Radio in Edmonton. He did considerable freelance and commercial broadcasting in Eastern Canada, including a number of Grey Cup broadcasts.

Carter started rallying in 1961 and road racing in 1966. Over the next 15 years, he drove his familiar red-and-white Carter Camaros on every road racecourse in North America. In 1973, he became the first Canadian to win Trans-Am and IMSA races in the U.S. His Carter Camaro finished fourth behind a trio of Porsche 935 Turbos in the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1980.

On March 28, 2002, the 1971 & 1972 "Canadian Driver of the Year", and Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame member, passed away peacefully at his home, September Springs Ranch, Pincher Creek, AB at 80 years of age.

"Canadian Motorsport Hall of Famer" Dick Foley Born - March 28, 1932

March 28, 1932
Dick Foley
Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Dick Foley has been a racer, a promoter, and a car owner, but he is best known as the first Canadian to compete in the Daytona 500. Living in Montreal in the late 1940s, he began racing at local speedways in Bouvrette, Drummondville, and Rawdon. He was also a stunt car driver of note during the 1950s.

In the late 1950s, Foley raced on the famed NASCAR Daytona Beach road and beach course, finishing the race 19th in 1958, the last year of the circuit before the race was moved to the new speedway.

Foley's best year came in 1959, when he finished 55th in points. Again he competed exclusively at Daytona. In the inaugural Daytona 500, Foley raced a car built by Marshall Teague, who had tragically died while attempting to set a world speed record at the track two weeks before the race. Foley finishing well off the pace in 32nd. He ended the year with a 31st in the July Daytona event.

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 modified titles at Bouvrette and Drummondville, later to be known as Autodrome Drummondville. In 1961 Foley retired from active racing, and began promoted racing in the Montreal area.

Over 40 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, Quebec, and continues to operate this facility to this day.

Foley was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2011.

Nascar: The Ride Of Their Lives
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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Bob McLean Dies In Crash At Sebring, Florida - March 26, 1966

September 24, 1933 - March 26, 1966
Bob McLean
(Photo; www.thecoralsnake.com)
Born:Australia, Home: Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Bob started his driving career in 1957 with an MGA, racing frequently at his home track, the very new Westwood Racing Circuit in Coquitlam, located close to his hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. By all measures, McLean was well liked and respected on the road racing circuits.

In 1965, McLean set out with his 1.6 litre twin-cam powered Lotus 23B to conquer the Canadian Driving Championships, a venture which would see him travel extensively. By air and by ground he travelled to every national event that year, covering nearly 100,000 kilometres. After a season of dominant performances, he was successful at winning the Championship, a remarkable accomplishment considering the eastern Canadian "establishment" drivers and their bigger and faster cars.

Early in 1966, Bob McLean earned a spot with the Comstock Racing Team, a Canadian endurance-racing team. Sharing the driving with fellow Canadian driver Jean Oulette, they piloted one of the team's two Ford GT40s in the 16th Annual Sebring 12 Hour Grand Prix of Endurance for the Alitalia Cup race at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida, United States of America. This was a showdown battle between Ford and Ferrari. Shortly after McLean took over driving duties in the fourth hour of the race, his Ford GT40 crashed into a utility power pole and exploded into flames, killing McLean.

Bob McLean left behind his wife Kathie and their two young children. McLean's death was a huge blow to the motorsport community. The funeral procession to his final resting place in Burnaby included a line of cars that reportedly stretched out some two miles, a testament to the fact that he was well admired. McLean was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in Toronto in 1993. In more recent years, McLean was featured in a Peter Lipskis documentary entitled King of Westwood.

Monday, March 20, 2017

"Hall of Famer" Scott Fraser Killed In Snowmobile Accident - March 20, 2004

March 20, 2004
Scott Fraser
Home: Shubenacadie, NS.
Scott a popular stock car driver, and builder of top-quality race cars, at the Scott Fraser Racing Shop, lost his life at just 33 years of age in a tragic snowmobile accident.

In 1999 he was named Nova Scotia Male Athlete of the Year. He was inducted to the Maritime Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2006, the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2007, and the Colchester Sport Heritage Hall of Fame in 2010.

For more see Canadian Auto Racing Blog; Tribute To Scott Fraser

"Midget & Sprint Legend" Bert Brooks Born In Fredericton - March 20, 1920

March 20, 1920 - September 2, 1968
Bert Brooks
Born in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Bert Brooks was a motorcycle racer before World War II. Following the war, Bert tried his hand at midget racing. Bert competed in midgets and sprints from Florida to Maine.

Brooks was one of the countries premier Midget drivers during the busy post-war era. His first race was at Danbury CT. in 1945. In the early years, he drove a Ford-powered car and often won the non-Offenhauser championship. He joined the United Racing Club sprint car circuit in 1954 and won the championship four times, including three consecutive years - 1956, 1957 and 1958. He switched back to the ARDC midgets in 1959.

Like many of the open-wheel specialists of his era, Bert Brooks also spent a limited amount of time wheeling stock cars, a division whose popularity was on the rise. Due to a variety of reasons, the Coupes would become the main weekly fare all across New England with the “Mighty Midgets” becoming primarily a traveling circuit.
In 1961 Brooks attempted to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. He passed the rookie test but was too slow to make the field in the Hall-Mar Curtis-Offy. He also tried to qualify at Milwaukee the week after Indy, but again was too slow, this time in the Eelco Custom Shaft Kuzma-Offy. Later that year he suffered a mangled arm in a wreck at Flemington.

His 23 year career came to an end following a violent multi-car crash during an ARDC Labor Day event at Hershey (PA), Stadium in 1968. In 2009 Bert Brooks was inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Canadian Racing Legend “Buddie” Boys Born - March 19, 1933

March 19, 1933 - October 2, 2010 
George William “Buddie” Boys
Home: Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
This Canadian auto racing legend was driving delivery trucks in Moose Jaw, Sask., when he was 10. Boys went on to race stock cars, sprint cars, midgets, modifieds and supermodifieds on dirt tracks, paved tracks and road courses all over North America, including three NASCAR Cup starts.

He was the father of Trevor Boys, who raced on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit for several years during the 1980s, and the grandfather of Wheeler Boys, who’s now making a name for himself in west coast racing circles.

On October 2, 2010 "Buddie" Boys died after a courageous battle with cancer.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Dizzy’ Dean Murray Dies Suddenly At Home - March 18, 2008

June 19, 1936 - March 18, 2008
Dizzy’ Dean Murray
(Photo; maritimemotorsporthalloffame)
From Steeves Mountain, NB & Kleinburg, Ont. 
Dean joined the Canadian Navy at age 16 and set off to see the world. An adventurer and entrepreneur, he never looked back. After a stint in the Merchant Marine, Dean landed in Ontario. He was passionate about motorsport and spent his adult life promoting all facets of the sport. He is perhaps best remembered as the editor of Wheelspin News, the flamboyant track announcer, and the tough, fair-minded car show producer. Forever the adventurer, Dean travelled the world, equally comfortable on the Concord to Paris or on a goat caravan in the Sahara.

He has been recognized by Speed-O-Rama in Toronto, by an annual ward in his honor called "The Diz" award. A tower was also named in his honor at Cayuga International Speedway, a number of years ago, where he promoted and announced for many seasons. He was the founder of Motion Custom Auto Shows, which is held annually at the International Center in Mississauga, Ontario early in March.

Dizzy was inducted into the Canadian Street Rodding Hall of Fame in 1994, the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1995, and the Maritime Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2012.

Dean died suddenly on March 18, 2008, after a fall at his home in Kleinburg, Ontario. He was 71. 

(Photo; yesterdaysspeedways.com)
(L-R) Bob Slack, Dale Earnhardt and Dizzy Dean Murray - 1982

Thursday, March 16, 2017

"Happy Birthday" Kees Nierop

March 16, 1958
Kees Nierop
(Photo; keesnierop.com)
Born in Purmerend, Netherlands.
He is most noted for winning the 1983 12 Hours of Sebring race while driving a Porsche 934. He is also credited with being the only Canadian to have his name on a Porsche factory race car, which is displayed in the Porsche Museum located in Stuttgart, Germany.

Nierop was exposed to motor sport through his father Klaas who took Kees to races in Europe before immigrating to Canada. It was after the Nierop family settled in Kelowna , BC, that Kees, at the age of 18, attempted his first motor sport event, the Knox Mountain Hillclimb. Success never comes easily, as Nierop rolled his Datsun 240z on his way up the hill.

Undaunted, Nierop repaired the 240z and proceeds to achieve greater success, finally winning the Canadian GT-1 Championship in 1978. It was also that year that a Formula Atlantic ride was obtained for his home track at Westwood, BC. The North American Formula Atlantic Series was still hotly contested. Gilles Villeneuve had just moved to Ferrari and the likes of Tom Gloy, Howdy Holmes, Danny Sullivan, Keke Rosberg and Jacques Villeneuve were looking for their big break. Nierop, never having driven a Formula car of any kind, qualified a remarkable sixth. Mechanical problems forced him out of the race.

Other highlights of Nierop’s career include, two years racing the highly competitive English Formula 3 Championship, competing at Mosport in the World Endurance Championship race, driving a Porsche 956 and achieving a 5th fastest time after the Rothmans and Skoal Porsches, drove the late Bob Akin’s famous Coca Cola 962 to a third place finish at Road America, and won the Firehawk 24 hour race at Watkins Glen with a 944. 

Nierop captured the Rothmans Porsche 944 Championship in 1986, competing against names like Scott Goodyear, Richard Spenard, Bill Adam and Paul Tracy. Nierop was named among the top 10 in a field of 150 competing for the Porsche North American Cup. Nierop also drove a full season for Steve Saleen in the Saleen Mustangs.

For 2007 and 2008 Nierop was the Porsche North America (team Canada) driver entered in the grueling 7200 km Transsyberia Rally driving a specially Porsche factory prepared Porsche Cayenne S. This is a two week off-road event from Moscow , Russia to Ulaan Bataar , Mongolia .

Kees is a certified Porsche Sport Driving School instructor since 2008. In 2009 Kees worked together with Jonathan Urlin on the “Tour de Porsche” program. The “Tour de Porsche” was a Porsche Canada program which visited every Porsche dealer in Canada and promoted the Porsche line up of vehicles to prospective customers.

Kees joined Bullet Racing in 2009, for selected races with their Porsche Turbo. In 2010, he teamed up with Bullet Racing and Ross Bentley, for the 2010 Rolex Daytona 24 hr, in a Porsche GT3 Cup car. Nierop drove across the finish line of the Daytona 24hr race for the final time. He also won the Westcoast Sportscar Championship in BC. Nierop then retired in 2011 from competitive racing and has since been a full time driving instructor at driving events for Porsche Sport Driving School, Porsche USA and Porsche Canada events.

Monday, March 13, 2017

"Happy Birthday" Robert Wickens

March 13, 1989
Robert Wickens
Born in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
Robert is currently driving in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters for Mücke Motorsport. Wickens is also a part of the revitalized Mercedes-Benz Junior Team, together with Christian Vietoris and Roberto Merhi. In 2009 he finished in second place in the FIA Formula Two Championship, and in 2010 he was runner-up in the GP3 Series. In his return to Formula Renault 3.5, where he competed in 2008, he won the 2011 season championship with Carlin Motorsport, with backing of Marussia. Wickens then left the series to race in the DTM.