Brussels' McCutcheon honoured in racing hall of fame
BY MICHELLE MCCUTCHEON BLAKE
Michelle McCutcheon Blake recently wrote this piece for the website yesterdaysspeedways.com after her father, Jack McCutcheon, was inducted into its hall of fame by fan Rick Castle. McCutcheon’s racing career spanned from 1957 to 1967. He passed away in 2018.
Jack started his racing career as a young mechanic and member of the pit crew for his older brother, Casey McCutcheon. Casey, who owned Brussels Motors, built the Chevy race car, 73X, and started racing it at the Teviotdale Speedway. The 73X was originally driven by Max Armstrong, then Casey experimented with other drivers.
One night when the regular driver couldn’t make it, Jack jumped in and the rest is history! Casey finally found a driver that could put his car into the winner’s circle in his kid brother, and so began 11 years of racing from 1957 to 1967. Jack raced against the late great Ted Hogan at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in 1960, where he gained a lot of experience in his early racing years.
Soon after, the letter X was dropped from the race car and later it became the red and white winged #73 car that the fans all came to recognize and love. Half of Brussels would travel to watch him race on the weekends and he acquired many loyal fans over the years from near and far. His pit crew consisted of the McArter brothers, Mel and Gerald, Ron Huether, and brother Mel, all from Brussels. They’d get the tow truck, load up the race car and were off to the track.
Jack was known for continually overdriving the corners, spinning and coming out full throttle in the same direction without losing much ground. He had a style of his own. Jack got the nickname, “Jack the Ripper” from Dizzy Dean, who was a writer for Wheelspin and an announcer at the Flamboro track.
A special addition to the race car was Woody Woodpecker. This cartoon character was painted on the side of the car to attract the kids, so everyone looked for Woody, racing around the track!
Jack raced all his years in the Super Modified Division, approximately four to five nights a week, and usually twice a week at the CNE track. He raced at Nilestown, Flamboro, Delaware, Bridgeport and the CNE until it closed in 1966. He even raced in Sandusky and Oswego where he ran in the Classic in 1966 and 1967 with a 14th-place finish.
In 1961, he was the winner of the third Annual 75 Lap International Championship for Super Modifieds held at Pinecrest Speedway. He won a $1,000 prize driving his Chevy Corvette 400-cubic-inch engine.
In July, 1962, Jack won the first Feature Race at the newly-opened stock car track at Flamboro Speedway. This was the first of many wins for him at Flamboro. In 1966 he won the “Fireball 500” race at Flamboro, an impressive win in his career.
In 1965 and 1966, Jack was driving very consistently with two wins at the Mid-Season Modified Championships at Delaware. Although he didn’t have a lot of first-place finishes he had many second- and third-place finishes, which kept him high in the point standings for the season making him a top contender in his division and 1966 his most successful season of all.
Jack’s racing career ended after the 1967 season when many of the tracks switched to late model races. He was one of the all-time great super modified racers from the past and battled against some of the best: Jimmy Howard, Howie Scannell, Glen Schurr, Warren Coniam, Harvey Lennox and Jack Greedy, just to name a few. He made many great friends at the race track and was quoted as saying, “We raced each other hard and then we would party hard after the races and had a great time!” As kids, my sisters and I remember him getting speeding tickets on the way home after the races.
After Jack retired, he raced in a couple of old-timer races, one in Delaware where he drove a hobby car and one in the 1980s at the Paris Fairgrounds dirt track, where he met up with some of his old rivals. It was a great experience for him.
In 2015, Jack was honoured by being inducted into the Flamboro Stadium & Speedway Hall of Fame. His family accompanied him to receive this honour for a great night of reminiscing.
Jack was a leader in the racing world and also a leader in his community. He worked as a mechanic at McCutcheon Motors in Brussels for his older brother George for many years then he bought the business and it became J. L McCutcheon Motors, a very successful GM Chev Olds car dealership, until he retired.
Jack was well known in Brussels as he was reeve of the village for many years and then Warden of Huron County. His wife still resides on McCutcheon Drive which was named after him and his brother. Jack was born into a family of 11 kids, many were mechanics and all were born to drive. His father was in the automobile business in the early 1900s and this in turn led to Casey and Jack’s love for speed and racing. They practised out in the hay field at the home farm.
Including his family, one of his most memorable legacies is his racing career and he would be very honoured to be nominated by his good friend Rick Castle and to be inducted into the Yesterday's Speedways Hall of Fame.