NASCAR Sprint Cup teams will be hauling out their best cars for the all-star race at Charlotte, N.C., this weekend; the Indy Racing League will be putting final touches on the 33-car lineup for the Indianapolis 500; and Formula One will be gearing up for its most prestigious race in Monaco a week from Sunday.
But Victoria Day weekend in Canada means that local tracks from Nova Scotia to British Columbia will be launching their 2008 seasons on road courses as grand as Mosport International Raceway in Ontario and on short ovals as pretty as Sun Valley Speedway in Vernon, B.C.
Mosport will host a three-day event that starts tomorrow with a promoter's test day and ends Sunday with five classes of racing, including the brand new Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup, the Jetta TDI Cup and the Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship.
In between, the Sun Down Grand Prix takes to Mosport's 4km road course for a three-hour race.
Both of the new series at Mosport should provide good racing and a look at some Canadian talent on the international scene.
Young Canadians who have qualified for the Jetta TDI series are: Andrew Cordeiro, 24, from Woodbridge, Ont.; Chris Holman, 20, from Burlington, Ont.; Adam Kretschmer, 21, from Brampton, Ont., and David Richert, 25, from Winnipeg.
"With the Jetta TDI Cup, Volkswagen has created an amazing platform to develop young drivers and expand their knowledge about clean and quiet diesel technology," Robert Wildberger, president and CEO, SCCA Pro Racing, Inc., said. "We look forward to the series in hopes that it will attract more attention to the drivers and advantages of diesel power."
Also on tap at Mosport will be the Mosport G.T. race and the Cup Lite series.
In Alberta the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model (Dirt) Series -- with a $200,000 purse -- takes the green flag at Rocky Mountain Raceway Park in Okotoks, just south of Calgary.
The defending NPP Series champion is looking forward to the first race weekend of 2008.
"We won the season opener last year in Drumheller," Jason Beaulieu said. "The Okotoks season opener this year will be very challenging. I love racing there. It's a tight cornered track, a driver's track."
Back east, Kawartha Speedway near Peterborough and Ottawa's Capital City Speedway are set to launch a six-race Late Model series of their own -- with events on Wednesdays in Ottawa and Friday's at Kawartha. The first race is at Kawartha June 28.
Among other venues on track this weekend: Brockville Ontario Speedway, Sauble Speedway (Ont.), Peterborough (Ont.) Speedway, Castol Raceway (Alta.), BCRaceway (Alta.), Sun Valley Speedway (B.C.), Flamboro Speedway, (Ont.), Delaware Speedway (Ont.,) and Ohsweken (Dirt) Speedway (Ont.).
DECISON DAY FOR GPT
A decision on Andretti Green Racing's purchase of the Grand Prix of Toronto assets will come today, one way or the other.
After a 45 days of negotiations that included AGR seeking federal, provincial and municipal financial aid for the annual Exhibition Place race, a spokesman for Michael Andretti said yesterday a statement on the talks would be coming today. The result will decide if Toronto joins Edmonton in 2009 as hosts for an Indy Racing League event.
Neither Andretti, nor GPT boss Charlie Johnstone have made any public comments about the deal since it was announced earlier this year.
The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series gets its 2008 season under way May 24 at Cayuga Speedway Park ... Paul Tracy is pulling out all stops to get enough sponsorship backing to put him in a Walker Racing Dallara in time for next weekend's Indianapolis 500.