Still work to do at CMS Gordon says

- November 10th, 2012

Four time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon is elated that the proposed Canadian Motor Speedway in Fort Erie has Ontario Municipal Board approval to begin the building process.
And he should be because he is, after all, the guy who designed it.
Gordon warns, however, that there is still a long way to go before actual race cars will be roaring around the one-mile oval that is envisioned by the track’s owners.
“There is still a lot of things that need to be done,” Gordon said at Phoenix International Raceway as he prepared for Sunday’s AdvoCare 500. “It is a long process.”
The 65,000 seat track still must go through an environmental assessment study before the heavy equipment can begin the construction work on the massive project that is expected to cost more than $100 million.
“The OMB approval is a great step for us,” Gordon said. “It just takes a long time to get all the approvals that are needed.
“Now the next step is to put all the funding in place, which has been in the works for a long time, and start to make it a reality and see race cars out there one day.”
The project is being guided by Toronto businessman and CMS executive director Azhar Mohammad with majority ownership listed as The International Investor, a Kuwait based private-equity investor.
Gordon signed on to design the racing surface after he was approached by Paxton Waters, an architecture firm based in Indianapolis, that worked with another former NASCAR champion, Rusty Wallace, to build Iowa Speedway in 2006.
“I’ve been saying this for a while, it’s been a great experience for me to be a part of it from the beginning design stages with Paxton Waters who worked with Rusty on Iowa,” Gordon said. “I think we have got a great track design.”
The big question mark of course is who will race at the track once it is finally constructed.
NASCAR is adamant that as of right now it has no interest or desire to sanction one of its major series — Sprint Cup, Nationwide or Camping World Trucks — at a track that hasn’t been built yet.
And Mohammad is careful not to use the NASCAR carrot when talking about the project.
Gordon does think, however, that the Southern Ontario/Upper New York State market would be hard for NASCAR to ignore once the track is completed.
“Of course you hope that you can get the NASCAR series there, but you can’t guarantee that, nobody can,” he said.
“I think it’s a great market. I think there is tremendous support of fans and companies there. I think it can be a win, win for everybody if we can get it done.”
The Fort Erie project does have some stiff competition in trying to attract on of NASCAR’s top loops.
The Canadian Tire Motorsports Park is in the final stages of a it’s own multi-million dollar facelift under he guidance of Ron Fellows and his partner Carlo Fidani.
That project is expected to get a Camping World Truck series race next season and is in the running for a Nationwide Series race in 2014.

Categories: Motorsports

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