Archive for the ‘NASCAR’ Category

C’est Magnifique

- June 22nd, 2014

Not since Ron Fellows restarted at the back and came through the field of the Sprint Cup cars at Watkins Glen in 2004 to finish second behind Tony Stewart has there been such a dramatic comeback by a Canadian in NASCAR as Alex Tagliani pulled off on Saturday at the Nationwide Series Gardner Denver 200 at Road America.
And he did it mostly in the rain.
If the race had been another 100 yards, I am convinced Tagliani would have beaten race winner Brendan Gaughan.
What made Tagliani’s finish that much more impressive is that he had run out of gas in the No. 22 Penske Racing Ford Mustang with one lap left.
A caution on the final lap allowed Tagliani to be pushed to pit lane where he gassed up, put on four fresh Goodyear slicks and went to work on the green-white-checkered finish.
In two laps he went from 23rd position to the bumper of Gaughan’s No. 62 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet.
The native of the Montreal suburb of Lachenaie showed team owner Roger Penske he picked the right driver to pilot his Nationwide car in two races this season.
“It was pretty intense,” Tagliani said afterwards. “Maybe I threw a bad spell on myself because I said it was impossible that I was going to win this race, like something’s going to happen, and then on the white flag, something happened (ran out of gas).
“It’s what it is and it has to be in the cards, and if it’s not, you just have to take whatever comes to you.”
It was somewhat ironic, however, that in the winner’s circle Gaughan credited Fellows for helping him hone his road racing skills at his Ron Fellows Performance Racing School at Spring Mountain Motor Resort in Nevada and that was the main reason he was able to finish ahead of Tagliani.

CTMP gets nod for 2014 Camping World Truck race

- October 25th, 2013

As expected by just about everyone, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park is on the NASCAR Camping World Truck schedule next season.
After a record setting 50,000 fans jammed the facility on Labour Day this season for the inaugural Chevrolet Silverado 250 Truck series event, it was a no brainer for NASCAR bosses to renew its contract to race on the 3.957 km Grand Prix road course at the Bowmanville track for the same weekend  — Aug. 29-31 — next season.
Track president and general manager Myles Brandt welcomed the news, but admitted he was not worried about being left off the calendar.
“No, we were not surprised, but at the same time you never know about these things,” Brandt said on Friday.
The race this year was a surprise, in that fans began lining up at the track mid-week before the event and on race day the line of cars trying to get to the facility 80 kms east of Toronto stretched five kilometres.
Brandt said he expects an even bigger crowd for next year’s race and has been preparing for just that right from the time the last truck finished the race last month.
“We will be able to accommodate a lot more campers next year,” he said. “We have widened the camping areas with easier access.”
Brandt said he fully expects the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series will once again be a companion race, although that schedule has yet to be released.
“We asked the fans what they wanted,” he said. “And they said they wanted the Canadian Tire Series back and we will have a third series, yet to be announced, on the weekend as well.”
Speculation is that it will be the Canadian Touring Car Championship.
New for the CTMP grounds next year will be a bigger upper paddock area, to give the Truck teams more space, closer to the track itself, to work on their machines.
“We expect paving that new paddock to be begin any day now,” Brandt said.
While Brandt did not announce who the title sponsor would be for the 2014 race, it is expected that Chevrolet would be back with its Silverado brand.
Next on CTMP’s wish list is a NASCAR Nationwide Series race, possibly as soon as  the 2015 season.

NASCAR points battle down to the wire

- September 6th, 2010

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship battle suffered a couple of major casualties after Sunday night’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Kasey Kahne’s 32nd place finish pretty much ended even the slimmest of hopes that the No. 9 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford might make the cut.
Also dealt a big blow were David Reutimann in the No. 00 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota and Mark Martin in the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
On the upside, Jimmie Johnson’s third place finish serves notice that the four-time Sprint Cup champ isn’t about to roll over and play dead.
Johnson’s five wins this season and the 50 bonus points that go with them makes him still the odd-on favourite for the drive for five.
I think NASCAR bosses would love nothing more than to see a new name on the championship trophy this season.
Denny Hamlin, who also has five W’s in 2010 has to be a little less confident after a pair of Joe Gibbs racing engines failed at Atlanta — his in the No. 11 Toyota and Joey Logano’s in the No. 20 Toyota.
I would think Gibbs and company will have the dynos on double duty this week back in their North Carolina shop trying to figure out what went wrong.
Nonetheless the whole thing means that Saturday’s penultimate race to the Chase event at Richmond will be a dandy.
And I will be there reporting daily back to the Toronto Sun and QMI Agency.
Southern charm and great racing, what a glorious combination.
Speaking of Atlanta, it looked liked the live crowd was up substantially from the spring race, but there were still plenty of seats sitting empty at the big track. But compared to the family and friends that showed up for the IZOD IndyCar race at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday, NASCAR looked bountiful.
And F-1, yawn, returns with the Italian Grand Prix at Monza this week.

NASCAR rules, Harvick wins

- April 25th, 2010

Okay race fans here is why Kevin Harvick won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday. And it had nothing to do with the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet being the best race car on this day.

You see the race was advertised as the Aaron’s 499, but in reality what we really got was the Aaron’s 532 when the race went to triple overtime on Talladega’s 2.66-mile oval.
What happened in the previous three-plus hours before that counted for diddly squat.
Harvick’s good luck started when the fastest car all day — the No. 31 Chevrolet of Jeff Burton — wrecked and took the second best car — Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 Chevrolet — out with him with 10 laps to go.
So it all came down to NASCAR’s answer to sudden death overtime — the green, white, checkered — a two-lap shootout that invariably winds up in a crashfest where the best man doesn’t always win.
And it came to pass again times three at Talladega when a nine-car crash after the first attempt at a finish put the race into double-overtime. Then four-time champion Jimmie Johnson got clipped by the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford of Greg Biffle on that restart to stretch the race to a third green, white, checkered finish.
It was only after all of those events did Harvick show up near the front to beat the No. 1 Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet of Jamie McMurray to the finish line by a mere 12/1000ths of a second.
That is the way it always seems to be in restrictor plate racing where NASCAR mandates that all cars have their engines choked to death with plates that drastically reduce the amount of gas that gets through to the carbuerator, thus killing precious horsepower.
All of that contributes to huge packs of cars whistling around Talladega at 190 m.p.h. inches from one another, with none having the extra power to make a break for the lead.
So some drivers — like Harvick did on Sunday — hang around the fringes of the action in an attempt to avoid the inevitable carnage. Then on the final lap he latches on to McMurray’s bumper before making a charge to win just a couple of hundred yards from the finish line.
And that is how Harvick got to victory lane.

Pit stops

In his sophomore NASCAR Sprint Cup season 19-year-old Joey Logano is making Joe Gibbs look like a genius again for signing the youngster to replace Tony Stewart in the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota … If ever one of the big players in sports broadcasting decides to put a woman in the booth, two of the prime candidates are currently working NASCAR races. Wendy Venturini at Speed-TV and Krista Voda at FOX Sports have proven they have the chops to jump up to play-by-play duties … The decision by Shell Oil to bolt Richard Childress Racing for Roger Penske Racing next season has thrown a wrench into RCR’s Kevin Harvick’s plans for 2010. Harvick thought he had Shell in his back pocket if he had decided to form his own Cup team next season and could use that threat to get a bigger contract from RCR. Now that leverage is gone … More than one NASCAR fantasy pool that gives points for picking the first car out of a race have outlawed picking Dave Blaney and the No. 66 team because of its blatant start-and-park strategy. Sort of a reverse of the old Wayne Gretzky rule in hockey pools.

Finish lines

The only Canadian-based team in the Grand-Am Rolex series — AIM Motorsports — turned in its best performance of the season with a second place finish at the Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway on Saturday. Toronto native Mark Wilkins and his driving partner Burt Frisselle brought the Pacific Mobile No. 61 Ford Riley home just behind the winning Ganassi Racing duo of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas. “We had a great car all weekend long,” Wilkins said.

Ranger Moves South

- April 23rd, 2010

There is good news and bad news in Canadian motorsports with the announcement Friday that two-time NASCAR Canadian Tire Series champion Andrew Ranger will not be back to defend his title this season.
That is the bad news.
The good news is that Ranger, a native of Roxton Pond, Que., will race full time in the NASCAR K&N Pro East Series for Waste Management Recycling NDS Motorsports.
That is a step up to heavier, steel-bodied stock cars for Ranger who won his two championship with Dave Jacombs Racing in the No. 27 Ford.
But when Ranger’s seven-year-sponsorship deal with Proctor&Gamble and WalMart came to an end after the 2009 season, he was left to search for a new deal.
It was a tip from Mike Perrotte, a retired dirt-track racer and owner of the Airborne Speedway in Plattsburg, N.Y., that lead the NDS Racing team owners to meet with Ranger.
It’s a good deal for Ranger — he has been a winner at every level including the Champ Car World Series — who will get some attention from NASCAR Sprint Cup teams like Joe Gibbs Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and Roush-Fenway Racing.
All of those big name teams use the K&N series as launching pads for their development drivers. Including current Sprint Cup stars Martin Truex Jr. and Joey Logano.
Among the tracks where Ranger will race this season include Martinsville, Dover, New Hampshire, Lime Rock and Infineon Raceway in California.
We will be following Ranger’s exploits starting with his first race at Iowa Speedway on May 23.