Can Fellows do it again?

DEAN MCNULTY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:00 AM ET

This past weekend was a watershed -- in more ways than one -- at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.

The rain-shortened Nationwide NAPA Auto Parts 200 became the first NASCAR points race to use wet tires and the first in which Canadians -- Ron Fellows in the No. 5 JR Motorsports Chevrolet and Patrick Carpentier in the No. 9 Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge -- finished 1-2.

This week the same two drivers will face one another again, this time on a bigger stage at the Centurion Boats at The Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup race on Sunday.

This time Fellows will be in the No. 01 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet and Carpentier will be in the No. 10 GEM Dodge.

And the odds of Fellows or Carpentier repeating their Montreal success at Watkins Glen are shorter than most people might think.

Fellows has three wins at the New York road course in the Nationwide series, one in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and two second-place finishes -- 1999 and 2004 -- in Cup races.

In the 2004 race he also was driving a DEI Chevrolet that he brought through the grid twice only to run out of laps behind winner Tony Stewart.

As for Carpentier, his first NASCAR race at The Glen came in 2007 -- his first Cup race -- where he not only qualified the No. 10 Dodge but led seven laps and finished 20th after starting 40th.

On Sunday, Carpentier will be getting a second look at the 11-turn, 3.4-mile road course and this time he won't be learning on the job.

Fellows, in an interview yesterday, showed the genuine affection he has for The Glen, saying it was just about as perfect a road course for NASCAR as you could find.

"It's really like a super speedway disguised as a road course," he said. "I am hitting speeds of about 160 m.p.h. coming into the esses. I don't there's that kind of speed on the straights at Infin-eon (Sprint Cup's other road course)."

Fellows thinks both he and Carpentier will find the Car of Today more to their style of driving than the old Cup car.

One thing, however, that grates of both of these home-grown NASCAR drivers -- although both are too polite to say so for public consumption -- is that they just cannot get the kind of backing from Canadian corporations that U.S. drivers get from American companies.

On Sunday, Fellows will line up in an Iowa-based Principal Group-sponsored car while Carpentier will be behind the wheel of a car sponsored by St. Louis-based Charter Communications -- a cable TV provider.

Our major banks have been willing to pony up for naming rights to U.S. facilities (RBC Center, TD Banknorth Garden), and Scotiabank's logo was prominent at NASCAR's Nationwide race in Mexico City the past four seasons.

And let's not forget our very own Petro-Canada, whose profits are starting to dwarf that of the banks.

It's time for corporate Canada to step up to support world-class racing like what Fellows and Carpentier provide.

FINISH LINES

The Formula One Canadian Grand Prix is the king of the road as far as racing goes in this country but after NASCAR's second consecutive sellout in Montreal for the NAPA 200 last weekend, Edmonton and its Indy Racing League race are in danger of losing the No. 2 spot. In terms of prize money it's a slam dunk for NASCAR, which paid Fellows $109,963 US for first while Scott Dixon took home just $35,000 for his win at the Rexall Edmonton Indy ... Ontario's D.J. Kennington will be on the grid at Watkins Glen as well, only in the Nationwide series race in the No. 81 Dodge. He will have some heavyweight company with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman making a rare appearance in the NNS show.


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