dean.mcnulty - May 17th, 2013
BOWMANVILLE — The season-opening NASCAR Canadian Tire Series on Sunday is going big time.
For the first time in its history, Canada’s only national racing series will get live coast-to-coast coverage on the CTV network.
The Pinty’s Presents the Vortex Brake Pads 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park has been the jewel the past seven seasons for the Victoria Day Weekend Speedfest at Canada’s best known road course.
George Silbermann, NASCAR’s VP for touring and weekly series, said Thursday that now, with full network coverage, the race will likely become the most watched.
“Kicking off the season live on CTV is a huge opportunity to showcase the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and its competitive brand of racing to fans across Canada,” Silbermann said. “This is a tremendous opening to a television package that brings fans all the action and excitement of Canada’s top motorsports series.
“The historic broadcast coverage is a direct result of the dedication that our partners, Canadian Tire and TSN, have to motorsports in Canada.”
Qualifying for the race is Saturday and the start is at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.
dean.mcnulty - April 29th, 2013
Nelson Piquet Jr. is sorry about kicking Brian Scott in the groin after the NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota Care 250 at Richmond International Raceway.
But he called what happened an hour or so later when two members of Scott’s crew allegedly attacked him and one of his team members “juvenile.”
Michael Searce, a mechanic for Scott’s No. 2 Richard Childress Racing team, was arrested on two charges of misdemeanour assault and Thomas Costello, an interior specialist for RCR, was arrested on one count of misdemeanor assault.
Piquet was not hurt in the second fight but a member of his No. 30 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet team suffered a shoulder injury.
Piquet was testing on Monday at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park ahead of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race scheduled for Sept. 1.
He said he was surprised that the two RCR crew members confronted him while he was walking back to his motorhome at RIR.
“It was really quite juvenile,” he said of the alleged attack. “I have never heard of that (a confrontation so long after the original incident) happening before. It was a first for me.”
He did not want to elaborate further because the case is now before the courts.
“I hope that is over because it was embarrassing for their team,” Piquet said.
As for the original fight on pit lane, Piquet said he was sorry his kick landed where it did, but he said he was only defending himself.
“When I had 20 guys running at me I thought ‘Holy s**t, what am I going to do?’ that’s when I kicked (Scott),” he said. “Unfortunately I hit him in the wrong place, but that certainly wasn’t the plan.
“I had just came out of the car and I see him coming with a bunch of guys, so what was I supposed to do — just stand there and put my face out there to be hit?
“I was just trying to get everybody away from me. I was just defending myself.”
Piquet said he didn’t understand why Scott was so angry at what happened in the race.
“I was passing him,” he said. “We were both fighting for 14th-15th position on old tires and I barely touched him.
“We both went sideways, there was no reason for him to get upset.
“If he was upset he should have just come and talked to me, not come and hit my car and destroy my car after the race when everything is done.
“You shouldn’t do things like that.”
Piquet, a former Formula 1 star, said he did learn that in NASCAR he can’t let other drivers push him around.
“I don’t want to be getting into fights all the time but I’ve learned one thing and that is you need to fight back,” he said. “You cannot keep letting people run over you.”
And Piquet said it wasn’t the first time Scott had run into him.
“(Scott) did the same thing last year in Trucks,” he said. “I just will not accept that any more.”
Piquet said he told Scott in the meeting with NASCAR officials after the incident that he didn’t have an ongoing problem with him.
“He thinks I have an issue with him … but I told him ‘look at all the races this year, you have been running so much more in front of me. How many times have you passed me this year and we haven’t had any issues.’
“If I had done something wrong I would have said it but I don’t think I did anything wrong.”
dean.mcnulty - February 13th, 2013
Dragon Racing and TRUECar have responed to Katherine Legge’s accusations that they fired her without cause.
Here is their statements:
“Both Dragon Racing and TRUECar have tried to amicably resolve this matter with Legge and her representatives to no avail – and aside of acknowledging the existence of the dispute, due to the confidential nature of the dispute, neither of the parties will be making any further public statements regarding this matter, but both TrueCar and Dragon Racing have ample confidence that they will undoubtedly prevail,” the statement read.
“We have thoroughly enjoyed our association with Katherine, but after 12 months of collaboration, hard work, and TRUECar’s sincere efforts to resurrect Katherine’s open-wheel career, TRUECar has decided to pursue a different driver for 2013 IndyCar season,” said TRUECar CEO Scott Painter.
Team president Jay Penske added that he was confident in the revisions his team has made for the year ahead.
“We’ve had to make some difficult choices this offseason, based on the goal of winning races and doing what is best our partners, sponsors, and team,” Penske said. “And I adamantly believe with the experience of our crew, our engineers, drivers, and the tremendous support of our partners, we have a team in 2013 that can compete for the championship.”
dean.mcnulty - February 13th, 2013
Britain’s Katherine Legge has been fired from the No. 6 TrueCar Chevrolet and replaced at Dragon Racing’s IZOD IndyCar entry by 20-year-old Colombian Sebastian Saavedra, who last season drove in the Indy Lights series for Andretti Autosport.
Legge, 32, was once considered an open wheel rival to superstar Danica Patrick, but her career sputtered after the Champ Car World Series and IndyCar merged.
Last season she split the Dragon Racing ride with Sebastien Bourdais, who will be back for a full season starting March 24 at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in the No. 7 Chevrolet.
In a statement released Wednesday, Legge said her dismissal from the team came as a complete shock and that she is taking legal action to get her job back.
“I am extremely disappointed that Dragon Racing and sponsor TrueCar have announced a replacement IndyCar driver for the No. 6 car,” Legge said. “I signed a two-year deal for 2012-2013 with TrueCar as a sponsor, and then I took that sponsorship to Dragon Racing shortly thereafter.
“I firmly believe that Dragon Racing and TrueCar cannot proceed without me and I will be taking legal action to protect my rights.”
Legge has likely poisoned any hope of getting back on the team when she charged that allegations that team owner Jay Penske was involved in assaulting a woman last season at a posh Nantucket Yacht Club hurt her ability to find further sponsorship for the coming season.
“Jay Penske’s actions in Nantucket really hurt my ability to find additional and personal sponsors, and it was highly embarrassing, especially with the message that we were trying to portray regarding the empowerment of women in motorsport,” Legge said.
“I can tell you that I feel like I have been treated very unfairly in all of this and the last thing I feel at the moment is ‘empowered.’
“I have fought very hard, every step of my career, to get the opportunities that I have created for myself and I will continue to do so. I want to thank everybody for their support during all of this, it has been very tough for me to watch it unfold.”
dean.mcnulty - January 30th, 2013
Three- time Canadian national karting champion Jesse Lazare is going stock car racing.
The 15-year-old phenom from Dollard des Ormeaux, Que., has just signed a contract with Micks Motorsports to race in three, possibly four, road course races in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series this season.
Lazare had been thought of as a successor to Jacques Villeneuve and Alex Tagliani as the next Quebecer to move up the open wheel ladder, but those plans are on hold while he attempts a stock car career.
Team owner Kerry Micks said Wednesday that Lazare will begin testing the heavier, higher horsepower stock cars as soon as possible.
“We will get him in a Late Model for some testing at Sunset Speedway,” Micks said. “And then we want to test at (Canadian Tire Motorsports Park).”
Lazare will be tutored by Micks, considered one of Canada’s top road course stock car drivers, having won at both the NAPA 100 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and at the Grand Prix of Trois Rivieres.
Micks, who will share racing duties with teammate Mark Dilley in the No. 02 Ford Fusion, will build a second team car for Lazare.
Sponsorship for Lazare will come from DoorDoctor.com.