TERRY ST.AMAND #06
If it wasn’t for a first date with a former girlfriend where she took him to Merrittville Speedway, Terry St. Amand may never have raced in 5 different decades in a career as a driver, car owner and sponsor.
Induction into the L. St. Amand Enterprises Wall of Fame surely has been long overdue but one of the Reunion Committee’s few rules reads that drivers must not have raced for 5 years to become eligible.
Starting out in the 1969 season, Terry St. Amand’s driving career saw him most recently field a Hoosier Stock and sharing driving duties with former crew man Paul Wichert in a car built at Turn 4 Collision. That car is back on track once more the season with Wichert behind the wheel. Going back to Terry’s start in the sport, sitting in the Grandstands the first time, Terry quickly fell in love with the sport so much that he decided that racing was something for him.
Upon hearing that Ivan Little had his car for sale – he was beat to the sale by none other than Davey Moore. That former girlfriend’s brother pitted for Late Model Driver Bob Webster so the two followed racing to the tracks of the time and it was after a trip to the former Speedway Park that Terry would purchase his first race car in August – a former asphalt car from the Pincecrest Speedway. Unfortunately that car just would not work on it’s new home on the dirt with Terry vividly remembering having his hands full – spinning out numerous times every night. It was here that he would hook up with his long‐time Crew Chief Ed Potashnyk. Ed had been on the scene for a few years helping a few drivers and seeing Terry’s troubles – offered his help.
In 1970 when Terry went to purchase his membership he found that the numbers from 1 to 99 had been already used. He liked the number 6 so put a 0 in front of it to get his trademark number ‐ 06. Terry and Ed would put that number on a 1963 Chevy … the Red Dog Special … the first car Ed and Terry would build. 1971’s build would see the two put a 69 Chevelle Body on a 1957 Chevy Frame and together with bigger tires – it made for a raceable car. So raceable in fact that he would win 15 features with it.
A garage fire prior to the 1972 season saw his race car destroyed but with Ed and Terry rebuilt it and went on to take 21 feature wins en route to Most Popular Driver Award and the Merrittville Late Model Championship. Flash forward to the 1987 and 1988 Seasons when Terry purchased a former Harvey Hainer driven car to join the Sportsman Division – he is quite proud to this day of having 15 and 21 Win Seasons once again in addition to the Points Championships both years as well.
His return in the late 80’s after some 15 seasons off as a driver saw him in his first stint as a car owner with Davey Moore the driver. Moore’s first three Championships of 5 straight were in a St. Amand owned car. About the same time, Terry would venture into business opening the Harvey’s Restaurant in Welland. Terry’s 1987 return to racing saw him retain the black coloring that came with the Hainer car but for 1988, crew man Brent Ransom came up with the red and white design that many of us remember. We also remember when Terry would join the Modified ranks in the 90’s with his neon yellow cars.
Although he would not visit Victory Lane at Merrittville – he would take the 06 to the winner’s circle 4 times at Ransomville Speedway. St. Amand would add 2 more career wins in his Hoosier Stock at Merrittville in a career that spanned the 4 different divisions. Terry hasn’t ruled out a return to the sport to add a 6th different decade to his resume but thinks it might be just a one off deal. In addition to Davey Moore, Terry’s roster of drivers is quite impressive and includes Jim Begolo, Ken Cosgrove, Fred Carleton, Bob McCreadie, Don McGinnis, Ron Smoker and Mike Granton. Drivers that earned the car owner almost 60 Feature wins.
One of the most memorable – McCreadie’s 1992 Ransomville Summer Nationals $10,000 Victory. Crew members over the years have included Potashnyk, Wichert, Ransom and Granton as well as Jimmy Binks, Derek Miller (who now helps Scott Wood) and Tom Blazina among others. “Ed and I were working on the car at a garage we used to have on Hartzell Road and there was this kid that used to watch us from a distance,” reveals St. Amand, “one day he rode his bike over closer to the shop and before long … started to help us. For those that know him – that’s how Blazina got his nick name – Ten Speed.
Although currently residing in Thorold, Terry grew up in the Western Hill area of St. Catharines and it wasn’t long before he became neighbours with Randy Williamson. The two would ride together to the races until that time that Williamson took a ride with Pete Bicknell with the two eventually going into business with Bicknell Racing Products and Merrittville Speedway.
Terry comes from a large family and at first his dad could not see the point of racing – running around in circles and wasting gas. Eventually he would come around though as he saw his son and friends having fun involved in the sport.
Terry remembers creating a lot of excitement in the Late Model Division racing his Chevy against the Dodges of the day but for Ed and him – it was all about winning $20 so you could get into the pits the next week. If you wrecked – it was hard to get back on track in those days. Things were so different back in the day. “it was Labour Day and there was an afternoon race at Ransomville and night race at Merrittville,’ remembers Terry, “ we wrecked at the Big R and when I got to Customs coming home – I told the guy … I can’t stop I got to fix my car and just drove on.” Try that today and see what happens.
All through his racing, Terry and his ex‐wife Diane would own and operate the Harvey’s and Swiss Chalet in Welland and you would see the logos on the St. Amand owned racers over the years in addition to a few seasons when the current Welland Junior Canadians Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League Team was known as the Welland Harvey’s Swiss Chalet Flames. Today, daughters Lisa and Tera are involved in the family businesses and you see the Harvey’s logos from the two St. Catharines locations on the Hoosier Stock of son‐in‐law Kevin Knapp not to mention his brother Rob’s 2K Sportsman.
To borrow from Harvey’s, it’s a beautiful thing – a career as driver car owner and sponsor. It’s a beautiful thing as well that Terry St. Amand is a member of the L. St. Amand Enterprises Wall of Fame!