“The Blue Streak”
41 Years of Devotion and 1980 Modified
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