By DON SIMPSON
This is a story of two families rich in racing history, but in some sense miles apart, having rarely crossed paths much until this season.
The Slack Transport Sales and Service Racing Team, owned by Randy and Bob Slack out of Caledonia, Ontario, have been in the racing game for over five decades. The other family, based out of Saint-Césaire, Quebec, is Morin Racing with Steve Morin and his daughter Charlotte. Up until recently, the founding member Robert Morin, who sadly passed away earlier this year, has been around racing for close to five decades as-well.
The common factor between both teams is the fact that the grandchildren are determined to keep this racing tradition alive.
On one side we have 16-year-old Dalton Slack stepping up to carry on his grandfather’s dream, while in Saint-Césaire 15-year-old Charlotte Morin is keeping the memory of her grandfather alive strapping into her own race car.
The 2020 season of racing is by far one of the most unusual seasons in the history of dirt track racing. Amongst this sporadic racing season, these two young drivers are being groomed to carry on the family name in the racing world. The surprising factor is these two teams have crossed paths more this season than in the past five decade and the fact that these two young drivers, who probably do not even know each other, are striving for the same thing.
Dalton has been around racing his entire life. Like many who grow up in such a family, racing just permeates into one’s fabric. At the age of six, Dalton began racing Karts at his home track Merrittville Speedway, along with numerous tracks in the United States. He would continue racing Karts until 2019 when a big move was made by the family and Dalton would be behind the wheel of the famed No. 3 car.
“There is definitely pressure to carry on the tradition,” said Slack. But I have such a good family that they are always there to keep my head up and to keep me in the right path.”
For Randy Slack seeing Dalton caring on the family torch, has been somewhat reflective. He explained, “I quite often watch and see a racer out there and then I see a 16 year-old-kid without a driver’s licence, yet and we have to remind ourselves who he is. For Dalton, it’s quite a learning curve I would think to go from Go-karts to a Modified. However, I do think he looks pretty well most of the time. It takes laps to get the confidence in what the car will do under you. That’s why we are driving so much this summer. Just to get him seat time. But he has to work on everything too. We are doing it all for him. It makes for a great family operation, spending time together.”
One part of Dalton I learned was the fact that he is inspired by none other than Mike Maresca.
“I really like the road to learning the sport Mike took, going to some of the tough tracks down south like Mercer Raceway, Thunder Mountain along with Lernerville Speedway, and the fact that Mike raced both small-block and big-block during those years he raced some of those tracks. I think a similar road would really help me get a handle on racing in these very competitive classes,” Dalton explained.
This plan, however, has been put on hold because of the border situation, but the team has switch directions instead of going South, they have traveled East to tracks like Cornwall Motor Speedway and Autodrome Granby.
“I think it’s a great learning experience,” stated Slack. “Those guys up there in Quebec are tough. They come out to win every night. Even though we haven’t had the results we have been looking for, I think it gets me on my A-game for every week by getting myself ready as the driver and getting the car ready and making sure it’s perfect every week.”
On the other side of this story in Saint-Césaire, Quebec, 15-year-old Charlotte Morin has just this year stepped into her own car, the No. 09 slingshot, carrying on the family tradition her grandfather Robert Morin started back in 1972.
Robert then was crew chief for the Robert Ranger car from 1997 to 2002, then moved on to the Martin Roy Team from 2003 to 2011. Since 2012, Robert along with son Steve, worked on the Alain and Mathieu Boisvert team, when in February Robert passed away. This was when Charlotte picked up the family’s long history to carry on in the sport.
For several years, Charlotte has been helping out on the 73 Team of Mathieu Boisvert, as her grandfather and dad Steve have been doing for years.
Steve commented, “Charlotte has been helping us for the past two to three seasons by washing the car and trailer, while at the track she is taking the stagger of the tires along with air pressure and compiling the team’s data at the track.”
This season, Charlotte began racing her own car. She worked at the local gas bar along with doing odd jobs to get the money needed to purchase her car. Finally, this past May she had enough money so she bought a slingshot to get started in racing. Unfortunately, luck would have it, because of the COVID-19 in Canada, Charlotte has been limited in her first year of racing. Even with the restrictions, she has pressed on and a few weeks ago raced in her first event at Autodrome Granby.
“For me, it’s an honor to follow the tradition of my grandfather and my father built over the years and it’s an honor to bring my grandfather’s number back to the track,” said Charlotte.
As for what the feature will bring for Charlotte, only time will tell, as she explained: “I want to go a step at a time and see where it brings me.”
For both families who have been a key part of the sport for so many years, it’s enlightening to see the spirit of racing being carried forward by the grandchildren. It is still wonderful to see that dirt rrack racing can still stir the dreams of some young person in becoming a race driver.