A pair of NASCAR Canadian Tire Series drivers — former winners at the Edmonton Indy — are lamenting the end of the popular race in Western Canada.
And both J.R. Fitzpatrick, a winner in Edmonton in 2010, and Andrew Ranger, who won there in 2009, fear the loss of the race will hurt all of racing in Canada.
“It is just a shame,” Fitzpatrick, driver of the No. 84 Chevrolet, said. “It is a venue we need on our schedule. A lot of teams base their sponsorship packages off of the Edmonton, Toronto at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park and Montreal at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve races.
“Those bigger venues pay for racing at smaller tracks across the country.”
Ranger, driver of the No. 27 Dodge and a former IndyCar driver who raced at Edmonton in that series as well, said he was shocked at the decision by Octane Motorsports Events and the City of Edmonton not to keep the race going.
“There has always been good crowds for races in Edmonton,” he said. “And the race fans are so knowledgable. It will really hurt trying to convince big sponsors to keep supporting racing in this country.”
IZOD IndyCar Series boss Randy Bernard issued a statement saying he regretted that Octane and the city could not come to terms on a deal that made economic sense, but he pledged that a second Canadian IndyCar race to go with the Honda Indy Toronto would be on the schedule in 2014.
“We remain optimistic that we will return to having two races in Canada as early as 2014,” Bernard said.
Jason White, a NCTS driver from British Columbia, said having a major racing series in the West was important to keep fan interest in thes port alive.
“It is the biggest race in the West by far,” White, driver of the No. 21 Dodge, said.