Female drag racer, Indigenous role model named to motorsport Hall
The Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame will induct 16 new members during a special ceremony next February. Last week, I published mini-profiles of the first eight – I put them in alphabetical order – and today I will present the remaining eight. Last week, I concluded with Graham, Brian. This week, I continue with Graham, John.
JOHN GRAHAM. John was a racing driver (he finished first in class in the 2000 24 Hours of Le Mans, co-driving with Scott Maxwell and the late Greg Wilkens) and a promoter (he was the first to push for Molson to sponsor an Indy car race, which would have been held at Downsview). In additional to Le Mans, he had podium finishes at Daytona, Sebring, Petit Le Mans (2), Sears Point – where he also won the pole in his class – Mosport, Spa, Mt. Fuji and Adelaide. He also raced in the NASCAR Busch/Nationwide/Xfinity Series and the grueling Paris-Dakar Rally. His most successful promotion was the Moosehead Grand Prix in Halifax, which ran for five years. A master at finding sponsorship, he convinced Gordon Lightfoot to sponsor him in 1986, the last year of the Can-Am Series.
COLIN HINE. Colin Hine has been involved with motorsports as a driver, team owner and team manager, engine builder, chassis distributor in circuit racing, rally racing, and karting for 59 years in England and Canada. Since he moved to Canada in 1975, he has owned and operated Colin Hine Racing and won national championships in both rally and road racing. Some of his drivers have included world-class drivers like Scott Goodyear, Paul Tracy, Walter Boyce, Ron Fellows, Stig Blomqvist, Willy T. Ribbs, Jean-Paul Perusse and Bob Armstrong. After running a racing business and doing what was needed to help young drivers, Colin then became a race official for multiple IMSA series in Canada and the United States. In that role, he trained new officials in the role of technical inspector/scrutineer.
JIM MARTYN. Not only was he the Voice of Mosport (now Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) for many years, he was also the Voice of the American Le Mans Series (he travelled the continent announcing their races) and one of the voices of Radio Le Mans. In short, the late Jim Martyn could do it all. When it’s said he was one of the voices of Radio Le Mans, he was the announcer selected by ALMS owner Dr. Don Panoz to put together and train a team to broadcast the world’s most famous endurance race. Jim nearly lost his life in the early 2000s at Le Mans when he pulled out of a track access road into the sun and was hit by a transport truck. He survived but the shock had a negative effect on his life and career. In later years, he worked for General Motors at auto shows and was a volunteer announcer at karting events.
KANDY MITTON. A Maritime radio and television personality, Kandy Mittton is an administrator and drag-racing competitor. When the Atlantic Drag Racing Association was formed in 1998, Kandy volunteered as secretary/treasurer and held that job for 10 years before stepping down to race. She was the first woman to win the ADRA championship and the first woman to win Super Pro drag races in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. She raced at Lebanon Valley, N.Y., in September and went seven rounds, making it to the quarterfinals before being eliminated. She was host of a TV series called “2Fast4U” where students from 13 high schools built drag cars over the winter and held a runoff at Miramichi Dragway every 24th of May weekend to determine who was best.
FRANK ORR. As comfortable talking to Jackie Stewart as he was Dave Keon, the late Toronto Star sportswriter was best known as a hockey writer. But he had a similar impact covering motorsports, including Canada’s first Indy car and Formula One races in 1967. Orr also covered the Can-Am series, which became the leading North American road racing championship. As well as races, he chronicled the careers of drivers such as Paul Tracy, Greg Moore, Ron Fellows and Jacques Villeneuve — all of whom went on to become Canadian Motorsport Hall of Famers. With Canada entering something of a golden era in auto racing in the 1990s, Orr’s writing became a fixture in the Star’s Wheels section. He wrote more than 30 books, including three on racing, the best-known being “Five Minutes to Green,” about George Eaton.
HOWIE SCANNELL. According to his biographer, Rick Sharples, Howie (Scooter) Scannel started racing in the mid-1950s and numbered his first car 41, which was the reversed number (14) of his hero, Hall of Fame member Wally Branston. His first night out, at Pinecrest Speedway, he crashed and broke his nose. He was not discouraged. Over his career, he drove jalopies, stock cars, B Modifieds, Super Modifieds and Late Models. He raced at the CNE Speedway, Pinecrest, Cayuga, Delaware, Flamboro, Nillestown, Bridgeport, Barrie, Oswego and tracks in Florida, winning races and some championships along the way. He was a fan first but he wanted to race, not watch. Since retiring, he’s been involved in the stock-car racing careers of his son and grandson, while also coaching young go-kart racers.
GLENN STYRES. In the backyard of his family home on the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve, Glenn Styres built a 3/8-mile clay speedway where he races sprint cars and promotes races for others. The World of Outlaw Sprint Car Series, which races all over North America more than 80 times a season, named him Promoter of the Year, not just once but twice. A sprint car champion himself, Glenn is also a public figure and role model in the Indigenous Community. Styres has brought major networks to auto racing, including the APTN Network, which is currently airing the Friday Night Thunder Series that takes viewers inside his Ohsweken Speedway. He’s a personal friend of Tony Stewart’s and a sponsor of NASCAR star Kyle Larson’s sprint car program.
BILL ZARDO, SR. During a 40-year career, Bill Zardo took Canadian stock car racing to new heights, while demonstrating hard work, dedication and commendable sportsmanship. Born in Brampton in 1942, Bill got hooked on the sport in 1960 while helping his longtime friend Jim Halahan at Pinecrest Speedway. In 1981, Zardo went racing in the CASCAR No. 7 Lights Series and won his first CASCAR Super Late Model Series championship. Zardo was arguably the No. 1 stock car racer of the 1980s but that wasn’t enough for him. He set his sights on making a splash on the international circuit in the 1990s, and started racing on the American Canadian Tour. He achieved his goal by winning the Flexmor Super Late Model title in 1996 when he was 54. He was inducted into the Brampton Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.