Weedsport, NY — May 9, 2010 – By Gary Rowe, Northeast Modified Hall of Fame Selection Committee
North country veteran Gary Reddick has been selected as a 2010 inductee into the Northeast Modified Hall of Fame. Driver inductions and special award ceremonies are scheduled for Sunday, May 30 on the Cayuga County Fairgrounds in conjunction with the annual Memorial Day Super DIRTcar Series event at the Weedsport speedway.
Boasting a career covering 22 seasons, from 1960 to 1981, Reddick competed on Modified tracks from Ottawa to Martinsville. From big tracks like Trenton and Syracuse to small quarter-mile bullrings both dirt and asphalt, size didn’t matter nor did the surface. He was a winner on them all and nearly always drove cars that he not only owned but also built.
While most of his racing and success occurred at tracks located in Central and Northern New York as well as South Eastern Canada, Reddick “was the first driver from my area to go south and have any kind of success,” DIRTcar Hall of Famer Barefoot Bob McCreadie recalled of Gary, who actually got Bob interested in racing and mentored him in his early years. Not only was Gary very, very versatile winning on dirt and asphalt tracks, he was also one of the more personable drivers in racing as well as one of the most respected.
Born in Ottawa, Canada, he came to the north country in 1955 as a 16 year-old when his parents purchased a farm on Wellesley Island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River. A couple years later the family bought a bigger farm just a few miles south of Wellesley Island in Depauville, N.Y. Depauville was a small hamlet located at a four corner intersection that had, among other things, a service station whose owner in 1959 fielded a car at the Watertown Speedway with Larry Aubertine of nearby Cape Vincent, N.Y. doing the driving and Gary stationed on pit crew.
In 1960 two different drivers, Huey Conant for the first part of the season and then Skip Tucker, took over the helm and another car was added to this team with one numbered S1 and the other S2. When Gary finally got his own car on the track, with only a handful of races remaining in the 1960 season, he numbered it S3. His charge from last to second in his first-ever heat race in 1960 would forecast an amazingly successful career.
His car number changed in 1961 to the famous V-3, “the fellow that owned the S1 and S2 cars, he and I had a little falling out so I changed the number. There was already room for a letter and V is easy to paint because it has straight lines. So S-3 became V-3.” Of course it is only coincidental that his mother, Vera, name begins with “V.”
Reddick’s first feature win came on September 1, 1962 at Watertown Speedway. That season he finished seventh in points at the track. A few seasons later Gary also started competing on the asphalt in a Modified. He became the first winner on the newly paved Evans Mills Speedway in June 1968. “My biggest thrill in racing was with the asphalt modified, in fact it was my first Big-Block Modified win,” Gary recounted in a piece that Andy Fusco penned for Gater Racing News. “It was on April 21, 1969, at Fulton Speedway’s opener. I won my heat and with the heads up start I sat on the pole. I ended up beating (Hall of Famer) Dutch Hoag by a half track. I had beaten Dutch in the heat and ran away in the feature. At that time Dutch was the hottest thing not only at Fulton but in Modified racing everywhere.”
Showing his versatility five months later to the day, on September 21, 1969, Gary captured the Modified race on the dirt at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park. Two years earlier, on Labor Day Weekend in 1967, Dutch and Gary were credited with saving the life of veteran racer Billy Blum in a fiery crash at Fulton. Ironically, nine years later on another Labor Day Weekend in 1978, Gary and fellow driver Lew Miller pulled driver Kurt Bronson out of his car that had flipped in front of the grandstand at Can-Am Speedway and had caught fire. Sadly Kurt would pass away five weeks later as a result of complications from the injuries sustained in that fire.
In a career that spanned much of the glory years of Modified racing, Gary garnered nearly 200 feature wins plus seven track titles. Kingston Speedway in 1966, Evans Mills Speedway in 1968 and 1979, Watertown Speedway in 1969 and 1974 (track’s final points champion), Brewerton Speedway in 1971 and in 1975 Can-Am, where he was the track’s very first points champion.
Reddick also added to his legend by winning every major race at tracks in the North Country and Southeastern Ontario including the prestigious Jefferson County Fair Championship at Watertown Speedway in 1969 and 1971, the Woody VanOrder Memorial Championship at Watertown Speedway in 1970 and again in 1977 at Can-Am.
He sat on the pole for the 1976 Oswego Modified 200 over Labor Day Weekend before finishing 11th. “Brewerton Speedway in 1971 was a magical time,” Gary related. “Clifford Carey promoted the track that year and he only hosted 12 races. I finished 10 of those features, winning eight and had seconds in the remaining two races. One night they started me dead last (22nd), behind even the consi cars. I had the lead after 4 laps and then lapped the entire field.
Yes indeed, Gary Reddick was a magical driver with a magical year whose impact and influence on Modified racing in Northern New York and Southeastern Canada can still be felt nearly 30 years after his retirement from the cockpit.
DIRTcar Racing Northeast main office is located in Weedsport, New York on the Cayuga County Fairgrounds, home of DIRTcar All-Star Weekend in July. DIRTcar Northeast’s crown jewel event —Super DIRT Week at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse runs annually in October featuring Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Championship Series events for Big-Block Modified, 358-Modified, Sportsman and Pro Stock divisions. Ticket and schedule information is available by contacting the Weedsport office (315/834-6606) during the day or logging into www.allstar100weekend.com and www.superdirtweekonline.com anytime.
The Big-Block Super DIRTcar Series is brought to fans across the Northeast by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Hoosier Racing Tire www.hoosiertire.com and VP Racing Fuels www.vpracingfuels.com. Promotional partners include the University of Northwestern Ohio www.unoh.com and Chizmark & Larson Insurance www.chizmarklarson.com, and contingency sponsors are Bicknell Racing Products www.bicknellracingproducts.com, Bilstein Shocks www.bilstein.com, KSE Racing Products www.kse-racing.com, Motorsports Safety Systems www.motorsportssafetysystems.com, MSD Ignition www.msdignition.com, Penske Shocks, www.penskeshocks.com, Racing Electronics www.racingelectronics.com, Vicci Racing Apparel www.vicci.com and Wrisco Industries www.wrisco.com.