“The Blue Streak”
41 Years of Devotion and 1980 Modified Champion
Don Turner decided to try his hand at stock car racing, when Speedway Park opened its’ doors in the spring of 1962. During that period our family owned both the new Speedway Park in Stoney Creek, and also Merrittville Speedway in Thorold.
By racing both on Friday and Saturday nights, a true dirt circuit began under the NARA banner. The point is that this circuit gave drivers such as Don Turner a track to begin and later advance, their racing careers. Don in a #39 Ford coupe, started out in the newly formed late model division, along with other drivers such as Mike Zajac, Lyndon Wood, Bob Webster, Frank Fields, and Carl Game. The following season, Don brought out a very potent #39, 1957 Oldsmobile and did extremely well in the late models. So well, in fact, that Don decided to move up to modifieds in a white coupe again with the #39 painted on it, displaying a painted Canadian flag on the deck lid.
Don’s love of the sport endured the years and was always counted on as a constant fast runner at Merrittville Speedway, however 1980 was Don’s year to shine. After nearly 20 years in racing, Don’s crew purchased one of the first factory builds, a Tobias tube chassis car, with a potent 454 Chevrolet big block engine. It was during this period that Don dominated at both Merrittville and Ransomville, and was rewarded with his points Championship at Merrittville Speedway.
It was also during this period that the name “Blue Streak” was affixed to Don as a nickname. For 23 seasons since, Don Turner has continued to compete at Merrittville and had always been a tough and regular competitor.
Don’s love of the sport has rubbed off on his family, as his son Jamie started his career in Plazek owned #11 modifieds and competes today in the modified division now driving his own modified. This year, 2004, is the first season that Don Turner is not competing at Merrittville in 41 years. For 41 of its 53 years, Don Turner has been competing and winning at Merrittville Speedway. Amazingly, he has done all of this with a devoted crew and no high dollar sponsors, simply a blue metallic paint job with a Canadian flag on the deck, just like in 1966.
We will all miss Don’s competitive spirit and also his season ending corn roasts. All of today’s racers owe Don a debt of gratitude for being one of the devoted pioneers to help make the modified division what it is.
At the 1997 Merrittville Speedway banquet, it was my privilege to honour Don Turner as the first recipient of the Kelley-Winger Sportsmanship Award and he was greeted with a standing ovation. As part of Don’s legacy, his son Jamie continues to compete and we sure hope that Turner races here for many more seasons to come.
Don Turner and car owner Roy Hammill, have left their mark on Merrittville Speedway. We salute you Don, not only for your 41 years of devotion to our sport at Merrittville Speedway, but truly epitomizing the meaning of a Champion.
Sincerely, Rick Kavanagh
HIGHLIGHTS OF DON
Don Turner started racing at Speedway Park and Merrittville Speedway in the late model division in 1962. Moved up to modifieds and continued to compete at Merrittville and Speedway Park and later at Ransomville Speedway regularly in 1965. Don Turner and Roy Hammill raced as independents without any “high dollar sponsors” Don Turner won the 1978 Schaeffer Syracuse Qualifier,at Merrittville over a stellar field of Modifieds.,likely his single biggest victory Won the 1980 Modified Points Title at Merrittville Speedway in a 454 cu. in. Tobias modified - one of the first factory cars. Don’s winning ways and consistent metallic blue paint scheme, led to the nickname “Blue Streak” during the 1980's. Don was honoured at the 1997 Merrittville Speedway banquet - first recipient of the Kelley -Winger Sportsmanship Award, by the Merrittville Speedway Reunion Committee. Only driver in 2003 who had completed 41 consecutive years of competition at Merrittville Speedway. Don’s son Jamie, is carrying on the family racing tradition, driving the #11 modified in 2004. Don Turner will always be known as “The Blue Streak” from Binbrook and will always be known for his devotion to the sport of stock car racing at Merrittville Speedway. Sincerely, Rick Kavanagh