HOMESTEAD, Fla. — The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will roar to life in Canada for the first time next season at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park — formerly Mosport.
The deal for the race, that will run Sept. 1, was finalized Friday morning and comes just a month after NASCAR pulled its Nationwide Series race out of Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve over contract squabbles with the race promoter.
Ron Fellows and his partner Carlo Fidani have been lobbying NASCAR for a year to get one of its top three — Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Trucks — racing series at their newly renovated 3.9 kms road course 80 kms east of Toronto.
“It is great news for everybody at CTMP,” Fellows said in a telephone interview just prior to the official announcement. “We have worked really hard to get this deal done.”
A big part of the success of those negotiations goes to Fellows who is among he most respected race car drivers in North America.
He has six NASCAR wins — four in Nationwide and two in Trucks — on his resume as well as a pair of Top 5 finishes in the Sprint Cup series
It doesn’t hurt that Fellows has extensive contacts among NASCAR’s power elite, including team owners Rick Hendrick and Jack Roush, both of whom were supportive of the bid to bring the Truck series to CTMP.
“We also could not have done it, as well, without the support of Canadian Tire,” Fellows said.
Canadian Tire, of course, is the title sponsor for NASCAR’s Canadian stock car racing championship.
Fellows also said that the year-long talks with NASCAR were “always positive” about sanctioning a race at CTMP, which has been the home of both Formula 1 and IndyCar racing is its glory years.
“I really want to thank Steve O’Donnell (senior vice president of racing operations for NASCAR) and Jim Cassidy who were so supportive and professional throughout the process,” he said.
Since Fellows and Fidani purchased the track from the Atlanta based Panoz Auto Development Co. in 2011 they have launched a major overhaul to upgrade to the facility situated on 750 acres of land in Bowmanville, Ont.
“Getting a major NASCAR series has been our goal from day one,” Fellows said. “And now we have one.”
He said that the Labour Day Weekend race proved a perfect book end of the 2103 CTMP season.
“We will start with the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Victoria Day weekend races, have the American Le Mans Series in the summer and now we will have this September truck race.”
CTMP president and general manager Myles Brandt said in a track release that the Truck race is “another milestone” in the track’s history.
“We’re looking forward to creating an unforgettable experience for both fans and drivers alike this Labour Day weekend,” Brandt said.
NASCAR’s O’Donnell was effusive in his praise for the CTMP facility.
“We’re excited to announce the addition of a world-class facility like Canadian Tire Motorsport Park to our NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule for 2013,” he said.
“We’re looking forward to working with Canadian Tire Motorsport Park as we introduce the truck series to our great fans in Canada. Their enthusiastic response to our sport has helped grow its popularity in Canada significantly throughout the years.”
It is expected that many of Canada’s top racing names — like Alex Tagliani, D.J. Kennington, Patrick Carpentier, J.R. Fitzpatrick, Andrew Ranger and maybe even Paul Tracy — would be interested in driving a Truck at the CTMP race.
Ranger, who will attempt to qualify the No. 27 GCMI Ford in Saturday’s Nationwide race at Homestead Miami Speedway, is excited that the Trucks will be in Canada next season.
“I have never driven a Camping World Truck but I am excited to try,” he said. “I hope this will lead to a Nationwide race at CTMP in 2014.”
As for CTMP hosting a Nationwide race sometime down the road, Ranger thinks it would be a near perfect venue.
“Oh yes, with those fast corners and the long (Andretti) straight, it would sure be fun racing those cars there,” he said.
It is expected that the Truck race will be accompanied at CTMP by a NASCAR Canadian Tires Series race and possibly other series, but no announcement on that has been made.
Tickets for the 2013 Truck race are already on sale at www.canadiantiremotorsportpark.com.