On Saturday April 13, 2019 at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg during the World of Wheels a trio of individuals were inducted into the 2019 Manitoba Motorsport Hall of Fame for their outstanding devotion and contributions to Motorsports, it is hereby acknowledged to the citizens of Manitoba a warm and sincere thanks to those who have given so much to the sport. Coming from the ranks of Antiques/Classics, Drag Racing, Oval Track Racing, Motorcycling, Street Rodding/ Hot Rodding, Fabricating, Customizing and the Automobile Industry each recipient has improved Motorsports to an unparalleled level. We are truly grateful for their efforts.
Jim has been involved in the car hobby for over 60 years. Jim’s father was a machinist during the day and a gearhead nights and weekends. When he was about 14 years old, one of his dad’s friends, Bob Swanky, took Jim to his first drag race at the old Prairie Dog Raceway on Ness Ave. After that he was hooked. By the time he was 16, Jim was racing his street car (a 1955 Chev). He then raced a 1960 Corvette in Fargo and Minneapolis.
When Keystone Dragways opened in 1964, Jim became partners with Don Chapman in a B/A Fiat. They raced that car until 1970 and then bought a second Altered, this time a T-Roadster with an injected Chevy engine. They raced at Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, Edmonton, Fargo, Minnesota and North Dakota.
Jim was a licensed mechanic and began working at Eastern Sales, and then at a few service stations. By 1968, Jim decided that working as a mechanic was not for him. He decided to join the Winnipeg Fire Department and began his career as a Winnipeg Firefighter.
In the early 70’s, while at the Gator Nationals in Gainsville Florida, Jim met a guy he knew from western Canada who had just turned pro as a professional drag racer, who was struggling with just himself and his wife trying to run a T/F car. That guy was Gary Beck and Jim offered to help him. One thing led to another, and Jim was able to get time off and traveled all over the U.S. with the Becks. During this time working for Beck, they won 18 National events: 7 NHRA, 7 AHRA, and 4 IHRA, along with membership in the Cragar 5 Second Club, the NHRA 250 MPH club, and the 1974 NHRA T/F Championship.
Over the winter of ‘79/’80 Gary Beck and Jim went to Australia to compete in the New Years Drag series. They started off in Surfers Paradise then to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and then back to Surfers Paradise. On that tour, they won every race. Also on that tour, Jim became friends with a Funny Car racer Jim Watson from Melbourne. During other trips to Australia, Jim helped Walton with his car, and one year they won the Australian Funny Car Championship. During those visits to Australia Jim didn’t spend all his time racing; he managed to find time to meet a wonderful woman. He convinced her to move to Canada and marry him.
After a long “no racing drought” he tried his hand at Land Speed Racing at Bonneville. The car and owner were from Montana, B/Gas Model A Roadster with a 410 Cu. In. Chev engine, but the owner didn’t want to spend money to achieve his goal and the result was disappointing for Jim. After Beck sold his car in the ‘80s, Jim started building Hot Rods. To date, he has built 5 including a 1932 Ford 5W, a 1932 Ford Roadster amongst others, and is currently building a 1932 Ford Tudor. Jim has helped numerous other hotrodders with their projects.
Along with all his accomplishments Jim, worked part time for 19 years with his friend of 60 years, and Hall OF Famer, Bob Forzley. Jim belongs to NSRA, NHRA, Southwest SRA, GoodGuys, and is a lifetime member of the Minnesota Street Rod Assoc. For the past 24 years, Jim has looked after the Grandstand Vendors at Back to the ‘50s in St. Paul Minn. Jim’s most memorable moment in the hobby was winning the 1974 Top Fuel Championship with Gary Beck in his Export A Top Fueler. Jim is also one of a few Manitobans’ to appear on the cover of National Dragster more than once. Currently building a 1932 Ford Tudor and spending the winters in Arizona, attending the Bakersville Vintage Drags ever year and has no plans of slowing down any time soon.
Wayne Imrie’s passion for racing began in 1966 while helping his friend Bob Parker, and has continued for over 50 years. He purchased his first car from Bob in 1968, put in gas and raced at Brooklyn Speedway. In his first race he got 3rd place and won $ 35. In 1970, Wayne raced a purple 1958 Ford. In 1972, Wayne switched to Mopars, and had a 1972 Cuda, painted to match Richard Petty’s NASCAR. He was easily recognized by #22 and a stuffed Snoopy doll that was tied to the roll cage on the passenger side of his car. Over the years, Snoopy was transferred from car to car and still remains his in his garage today. In his first outing in the Plymouth, Wayne won his heat and copped the feature and new car trophy. In the mid-70’s Wayne switched to Studebakers with his partners Glenn Duncan and Gerry Doiron. The Studebaker won numerous awards at car shows as well as on the track. In 1978, he won Top Super Stock.
In 1978, Wayne also raced sprint cars, (which he says was the most fun) when Dennis Parker got injured. Then Ken Martin also got hurt and Wayne got to drive his 9 / 12 sprint car for CKND Channel 12. Wayne also got to drive sprint cars for some Americans, like Mike Stefenrude and Son. Some of Wayne’s most memorable races were the Figure8 races in Grand Forks for promoter Jim Corcoran. Jim always made the racers feel like they had just won the Daytona 500 with the way he conducted the post race interviews in front of the crowd. Wayne raced in Canada and the U.S. including Brooklyn Speedway, Gladstone, Portage, St. Francis, Regina, Walhalla N.D., Bemidji, Grand Forks, and others. Wayne, also raced snowmobiles from 1970-1979. After a heart attack in the 80’s Wayne retired from racing for a while. Even a heart attack couldn’t keep a good racer down. He returned to racing in 1994. Wayne purchased a vintage modified 1932 Ford with a 350 cu in engine from Duluth Mn. and went to Bunkerhill, Indiana to compete in the Vintage Sprint Car Races. There were cars from all over Canada and the U.S. and mostly high dollar units with expensive trailers. Wayne sporting the familiar #22 beat them all, winning the Modified Class. In the mid-‘90s Wayne was involved the go-kart hobby, and in conjunction with Piston Ring, produced the famous Go-Kart races on Wall Street. Wayne belongs to the Northern Racing Assoc., the Manitoba Snowmobile Assoc., and has been president of the Manitoba Karting Assoc. on numerous occasions.
Wayne’s most memorable moments in the hobby were racing sprint cars and meeting so many wonderful people in the racing world. His most memorable summer, or one to forget, included blowing up 7 engines in one season, 4 times after receiving the white flag.
Wayne has had numerous cars over the years, including a 1964 Studebaker with a Chev 350, a 1972 Cuda, a 1973 Challenger, a 1955 Ford, and a 1932 Sprint Car. He has also restored a 1963 Studebaker, a 1966 Studebaker convertible, a 1963 Dodge, a 1966 Lincoln, and a 1979 Rolls Royce.
Wayne was inducted into the Winnipeg Speedway Hall Of Fame Sept. 29, 2017. He is still heavily involved in the hobby as he sponsors up to 8 cars per year and supports his two sons who race stock cars and motorcycles.
Mention the name Bob Buccini and drag racing and the words pioneer, innovator and dedicated come to mind. Bob was involved in the motorsport hobby for over 30 years. Beginning in the ‘60s, with the purchase of a 1963 Plymouth Valiant, he put on trac bars, drove to races and raced. Then, during his honeymoon, he went to Fargo and his trip included a stop at the local drag strip. He witnessed live dragsters for the first time and Bob said “I can do that”. He was hooked on drag racing, and decided to build his own dragster. He started with a T-Bucket body, chrome moly tubing for the chassis, orange and white paint, all built in his home garage. The car was named the “Karrot”. Bob never raced the car but entered in car shows in Winnipeg and Swift Current winning many trophies including Best Engineered and Best Competition Car. The car was later sold to Bob Forzley. He rebuilt it and sold it to Cam McCallum who still had it in 2013. Bob still wanted to race, so he began to build a newer, lighter, and faster dragster. In 1963, at Redboine Sheet Metal a shop owned by his dad and where Bob worked, he built a new dragster and trailer. He started with mild steel tubing and began welding it together with coat hangers. Bob built the frame, the front and rear ends. A small block 283 was used for power. His first race was the spring of 1964 in Fargo N.D. Known as the “Black Dragster”, Bob raced 3 times in 1964 3 times in 1964. Like all racers, he needed to go faster, so the 283 was replaced with a 327 purchased from Fred Turner. A few changes were made to the engine, and in 1965, Bob went on to win 14 Comp Eliminator titles at Bison Dragways. A highlight of the 1965 season was ending the winning streak of one of Minnesota’s top drivers at a race in Minnesota’s top drivers at race in Minnesota with a time of 9.99 sec. @ 142 mph. With the success of the first car, Bob and brother Fred decided to move up. In 1966, they built a copy of a C/Dragster owned by John Mitchell. The brothers built the chassis and the red body. They only raced the car for a short time, but one of the highlights was, with Fred driving, they beat the famous Olds 442 Funny Car of Lutz and Lundberg. It was a big deal for a small block dragster to take on and beat a touring funny car. Bob was approached by Bill Balicky to drive his famed “Color Machine” Dragster. This was one of Bob’s most successful periods. Bob drove the car in 1966 and 1967, racing in Manitoba, Sask., Alta., and the U.S. Their best outing was at the NHRA World Finals where they qualified in the number 3 position, 8.90 sec. @ 155 mph. Bill sold the car to Wally Dyck, and Bob drove for Wally in 1968. In 1969 Bob drove for Bob Forzley in the “Double B” dragster. Their biggest thrill was beating Norm Reis “Lick Em Stick Em” at the Indy Nationals.
In 1970, Bob built a version of his old car, a purple and white B/B Gas Dragster. In 1970/71, Bob toured all over Division 5 and won many races. In 1970, Bob also drove for Duane Engness of Fargo N.D., and qualified number 1 at Dallas at the World Finals.
From 1972-1975, Bob drove and was the pit crew for the Sherwin/Buccini dragster. The highlight of 1975 was qualifying at prestigious Indy Nationals. Bob took a short leave from racing, 1976-1979. In 1980/81, with the help of Nick Stanley and Allan Tucker, Bob started with a funny car and changed it to a T Roadster B/Altered. They had very competitive times, but Bob’s preference was the dragster, so in 1981 he was asked to drive the Hamel/Hansell/Nagamura Top Alcohol Dragster. He drove it from 81-83, and the car was very competitive everywhere it ran, with the highlight of winning the NHRA WCS points meet in Freemont Calif. Bob worked with his dad at Redboine Sheet Metal, and also part time for Bob Forzley. Bob has belonged to NHRA, the Double Fours and Clutchers car clubs. Some of Bob’s accomplishments in the hobby are Points Champion at Keystone, winning at Bison, winning at Texas, Indy and Calif. The most memorable moments in Bob’s career were winning the NHRA Points Meet in Freemont Calif, meeting all the people in the hobby, and sharing his accomplishments with family and friends. Bob is also an accomplished drummer, and his other career was playing in various bands such as the “Downbeats” with Fred Turner.
Although retired from racing, Bob is busy building drum sets, helping his brother building street rods, and attending car shows and drag races in Canada and the U.S. Thanks to Vern Scholz of the Old Car Newspaper for providing some of the history of Bob’s career.