Chuck Richardson entered the world of racing at
Merrittville Speedway, during it’s infancy. In 1953, this trained
mechanic took the wheel of Aalto’s #100 stock car, which was the
beginning of the Weller Park Garage racing team where Chuck worked
as a mechanic. Chuck worked by day as a mechanic raised his family
which included four daughters, during the week and served his
apprenticeship as a stock car driver on weekends. To gain
experience Chuck competed at race tracks on both sides of the
border, including the now defunct Cuba Lake Raceway, but on Saturday
nights he competed against the likes of 1952 Champion Orville
Kelley, Jerry Winger, Ray Stevens, Tommy Cook, Bruce Swartz, Don
Ledingham, Murray Stricker, Jeno Begolo, Eric Bradt, Fred Hurst and
Bruce Van Dyke at Merrittville Speedway.
This experience would be a baptism of fire as the
close competition and large fields of the flathead powered coupes,
mostly Fords, would thrill the fans every Saturday night even during
Merrittville Speedway’s 2nd year of operation, as a 1/4 mile banked
During 1954, the competition heated up and so did
Chuck’s driving, finishing in the top ten in his Ford Coupe, behind
track champion Orville Kelley’s #3 Weller Park Garage Special. At
the end of 1954 Orville Kelley retired from racing and Al Aalto and
Butch Bogusat formed the most formidable team to appear at
Merrittville Speedway. They built two 1937 Ford Coupes, #32 would
be piloted by Murray Stricker and #31 would be driven by Chuck
With the advent of the modern overhead valved
engine, the Weller Park Garage Ford Coupes would be contenders for
the 1955 Championship with Murray Stricker becoming our 1955
Champion and repeating in 1956 now with a Thunderbird powered coupe,
with sponsorship from Niagara Tile Centre and Al Aalto’s Church Road
Through all of this competition, Chuck Richardson
was becoming a consistent top contender in his #31 Ford Coupe. From
1956 to 1960, the #31 Coupe would become a top runner at area ovals,
racing at not only Merrittville Speedway, but the new Ransomville
Speedway and even at Lancaster Speedway, when it was dirt. Chuck
would be a multiple track champion at Ransomville.
The #31 Coupe, now owned by Jimmy Binks was now
one of the top race cars in 1961 and 1962, competing at Merrittville
Speedway and was now a top 3 points contender against the likes of
newcomers Lloyd Holt, Sandy MacPherson and Alex Gunn. Many believe
that 1961 was Chuck’s best year, racing for many feature wins,
against the #22 of Bill Rafter, #0 Ed Ortiz, #8 Cam Gagliardi and
1959 and 1960 champion George Winger #18.
When Speedway Park opened in 1962 Chuck
Richardson’s #31 sportsman coupe was on hand for the ceremonial
first lap around then Canada’s most modern 1/3 banked oval in Stoney
Creek. In a nutshell Chuck Richardson had raced and helped open most
every southern Ontario dirt track that is still operating today.
Chuck would continue to race in the top sportsman division on and
off for 4 more years.
When Bill Dominey sponsored and owned one of his
stock cars during the 1960's Chuck Richardson would drive it. When
Chuck decided to hang up his helmet he would continue his
relationship with Bill Dominey as a mechanic at his Toyota
dealership and worked and maintained the mini stocks.
While Chuck Richardson passed away a few years
ago, his racing legacy lives on as one of the leading competitors
especially during the era of the mid 1950's as a member of the #31
or #32 Championship Race Team owned by Al Aalto.
Tonight we honour the memory of one of
Merrittville’s racing pioneers - #31 Chuck Richardson, who will take
his place on Merrittville Speedway’s Alumni Wall of Fame joining his
team mate - 1955-56 track champion Murray Stricker.
Tonight we are pleased to have the Richardson
Family here, daughters Charlene, Sharon, Patricia and Carol Ann as
well as sons Patrick and Mike and wife Louise.