@Merrittville * THOROLD, ON – Since he was 4 years old, Rick Bellante had shared a passion for racing with his Dad Gabe Bellante. Now 41, the owner of Rick’s Delivery has been a life-long fan … a racer … a car owner … a car and division sponsor at Merrittville … all shared with his dad.
With his passing last October, we all can share his life when the 2014 David Chevrolet King of the Crates Series concludes this Saturday August 23 with the 40 lap Gabe Bellante Memorial.
2013 was the final season for Bellante as a car owner for Sportsman competitor and friend Greg Panunte whose final full season saw him earn the King of the Crates Series Title While 2014 no longer saw Bellante as a car owner – a friendship with Brad Rouse saw Rick’s Delivery become a sponsor of the 2013 Mr DIRTcar and Napa Auto Parts Super Dirt Week Champion.
“Once again we couldn’t have asked for anyone that is more passionate about the sport and the division than Rick,” said (Merrittville Speedway GM) Erica Bicknell-Jones, “the Series Finale will give us all a chance to remember Gabe.”
For 50 years, Rick’s dad Gabe was faithfully at Merrittville Saturday Nights and if you were at a special event anywhere across the DIRTcar Circuit – chances are you would see him there too.
“I don’t think he missed a single Saturday Night,” remembered Rick of his Dad, “he was a diehard fan who lived to see a good race. If you asked him who his favorite driver was … he would proudly say … All of them!”
Gabe Bellante was the kind of guy everyone knew and liked. If you would follow Series Events or attended other race tracks – chances are you would see Gabe and his wife Donna and the kids in their motorhome getting ready to enjoy a night at that track – making friends there too.
While attending races at the Volusia Speedway Park one February in the late 80’s with Davey Moore, Gabe will become ill and would have triple by-pass surgery down south. While in recent years he wouldn’t travel as much – he was able to enjoy the racing endeavours of his son Rick.
Rick Bellante, like so many, has experienced a lifetime in the sport with many memories to cherish of times at the track spent with his dad, family and friends.
“Dad always loved a good race … however it turns out – we are looking forward to a great night of racing to honor him,” added Bellante, “good luck to all the drivers!”
Rick has also provided more than $1,000 in additional purse money to Saturday Night’s Gabe Bellante Memorial.
2012 David Chevrolet King of the Crates Champion Cody McPherson leads the standings going into the finale after winning the first two series events. Defending Finale Winner Justin Sharp sits in second just 10 points behind while Austin Wood, James Friesen and Paul Gaboury round out the Top 5.
For all the news on Merrittville Speedway’s 63rd Consecutive Season in 2014 – visit www.merrittvillespeedway.com. Race fans and Race teams alike can follow Merrittville on Face Book (Facebook.com/Merrittville Speedway) and Twitter (Twitter.com/Merrittville).
From Jim Irvine / Assistant General Manager