Giving Back to the Rookies
A young Mike Granton started his career
at 19 years of age taking over the driving duties of a late
model 1957 Chevrolet #77 way back in 1969, where he won his
heat race and was hooked. Mike seemed to have a talent for
driving and definitely a desire to race in Merrittville
Speedway’s top modified division, and with fellow “Western
Hill” resident Ray Stevens, they built a bright blue and
yellow #33 modified coach. At one of Mike’s first outings at
Weedsport, New York, he crashed the car, but with hard work
they had the car fixed for Merrittville Speedway’s 1971
Mike would learn quickly, under Ray’s
guidance & would become the 1971 Rookie of the Year. After
his start with Ray Stevens, Mike teamed up with Terry
Edwards and formed the “Sissy and Sassy” racing team, and
according to Mike, his #33 Sissy did most of the winning on
the team. Again, Mike decided to move along, and this time
he and friend Billy Matthews built a beautiful purple and
gold #33 coupe and competed up and down the new D.I.R.T
circuit, with his home track being Merrittville Speedway.
During the 1974 Merrittville Speedway 100
lap Schaeffer Qualifier, Mike was contesting for the win,
when on lap 98 he got caught up in a tangle with Lloyd Holt
causing the #15 to spin. This caution put Mike’s #33 behind
leader Will Cagle’s #24 with 2 laps to go.
On the restart Mike passed Will Cagle and
won the Qualifier - that is when the fun started! The
Cagle crew protested the scoring and the #15 Holt crew was
furious about the spin out. In the end, it was probably the
biggest home town win of Mike Granton’s career. Mike and
Billy Matthews sold the car to Carl Game and moved in to the
new Gremlin style modified #33m owned by Bill Morden with
engine power by Jim Binks. This car would be campaigned at
Merrittville and as far away as Volusia County in Florida,
racing against many greats such as Buzzie Reutimann. Mike
would continue to race dirt modifieds through the mid
1980's, but then he was approached by fellow modified
competitor Jimmy Horton to go Winston Cup racing along with
brother in law Mike Hillman.
Mike Granton was now learning a new facet
of racing as a fabricator, engine mechanic and crew member
on a Winston Cup Team. When Jimmy Horton was replaced by
Dick Trickle, Mike continued to gain experience as a Winston
Cup fabricator and crew member and on race day was a right
tire carrier and changer and was also responsible for tire
matching. Mike was restless and returned home to St.
Catharines and he and some of his veteran racing buddies
decided to start a Hoosier Stock Rookie program.
In 2004, Mike put his fabrication talents
together and built his first rookie car, a Hoosier Stock
Camaro. Mike had not forgotten his roots and remembered Ray
Stevens and Terry Edwards giving him his first big modified
driving breaks. Mike scouted the go-kart races at
Merrittville on Tuesday nights, and determined that Tyler
McPherson deserved a break, to be able to move up to the
next level. In 2004 the young “Rookie” would learn the ins
and outs of Hoosier Stock racing, and then in 2005 the # 777
Camaro became a dominant force on the dirt tracks of
Merrittville and Humberstone Speedways where Tyler took home
multiple championships and Mike was rewarded with Crew Chief
of the Year awards also at both tracks.
In late 2005, veteren driver Terry St.
Amand decided he was going to make a come back into racing
and pressed Granton to build him a Hoosier Stock for the
2006 Race Season. Terry started out racing with Mike
Granton way back in 1969, as Rookies in the late-model
division at Merrittville. For 2006, Tyler’s younger brother
Cody earned his place as a rookie in the 777, because of his
performance on the go kart tracks. One day Mike hopes to
rejoin Mike Hillman, who is presently Ted Musgrave’s crew
chief in the Craftsman Truck series, but for the mean time,
Mike wants to treat deserving go kart drivers to a Rookie
break in a good race car, much like he was given during the
early 1970's as a Rookie.
Mike has remembered his friends in racing
& is committed to giving young up & coming racers a chance
in good equipment that they may not otherwise have.
We commend you on not only being a
colourful modified driver, but also now as a fabricator,
crew chief and for mentoring the next generation of race
drivers at Merrittville Speedway.
Tonight Mike, the Merrittville Speedway
Alumni Reunion Committee has not forgotten either as you
take your place on our Wall of Fame.