Brabham name inspires awe

DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

It was interesting that about a month ago NASCAR Sprint Cup star Marcos Ambrose was holding court at Watkins Glen International after his Nationwide series win and he talked about the influences in his life that led him to North America for a try at the world's top stock car racing series.

The first name out of his mouth was that of David Brabham, who just happens to be leading the championship points battle in the American Le Mans Series LMP1 class that makes its lone Canadian stop this week at Mosport International Raceway's 4-km road course.

Ambrose had high praise for his fellow Australian.

"We are a country of only 12 million people so to have world class racers like David, his dad Sir Jack Brabham and Alan Jones is quite an accomplishment," Ambrose said.

"So watching David in Formula One and now in ALMS gives me both a sense of national pride and a reason not to give up on my dream of winning a Sprint Cup race."

Brabham certainly knows how to win.

He comes to Mosport with 15 ALMS wins on his resume to go with three 24 Hours of Le Mans titles, including an outright championship in 2009.

But there is an even more special stat that Brabham will hit when the starting grid lights go out at the Mosport Grand Prix -- it will be his 100th career ALMS start .

"It's pretty cool to get to 100 races," Brabham said Tuesday. "I've been a part of (ALMS) since the beginning and I've done the majority of races in its history. I've had the privilege of working with a lot of great teams and a lot of great teammates across the years."

His connection to Mosport stretches back to his famous father, who also raced at the 10-turn Bowmanville track.

"Celebrating this milestone at Mosport, where Dad took the first Canadian GP victory over 40 years ago, means a lot as well. There's definitely a family connection with this circuit and the Canadians are always a wonderful crowd."

For the record, Sir Jack Brabham won the Canadian Grand Prix back in 1967 in his own Brabham-Repco in a race where the fastest lap that day was one minute, 23.100 seconds.

Last year at Mosport the younger Brabham won the pole with a lap of 1:05.323, a difference of almost 18 seconds -- a lifetime in motorsports.

SPEED BUMP

F-1 superstar Lewis Hamilton got away what amounts to a slap on the wrist Tuesday after pleading guilty to one count of "driving a vehicle causing loss of traction" while driving his luxury Mercedes sports car on a public road in Melbourne after practice at this year's Australian Grand Prix.

Magistrate Clive Alsop fined him the maximum $432 but declined to record a driving conviction after the court heard Hamilton was ashamed and remorseful, according to the World Entertainment News Network.

Alsop, who was overseeing the case, told the court Hamilton abused his position of influence by "behaving like a hoon (young loutish driver)" but acknowledged the star's letter of apology in which he called the incident a "momentary lapse of judgment."

FINISH LINES

It looks like Paul Tracy will get at least one more start in the IZOD IndyCar series this season. The Dreyer & Reinhold Racing team -- which fields a car for Tracy at Watkins Glen in July -- said Tracy is among two drivers, the other being South African Tomas Scheckter, to race in the season finale at Homestead Miami on Oct. 2 ... Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports are in talks with retail giant WalMart to sponsor the No. 24 HMS Chevrolet next season.

DEAN.MCNULTY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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