BOWMANVILLE -- Cale Gale's Alabama drawl is as thick as molasses on a cold day.
And while his name could be the template for any American kid wanting to grow up to be a NASCAR driver, yesterday found the 24-year-old Gale, of Mobile, Ala., talking about his first race in Canada and the opportunity to win today's Mosport 200 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series event.
"My daddy named me after his favourite driver, Cale Yarborough," Gale said.
"Ever since I was a kid people kept telling me if I ever was to be a NASCAR driver, I already had the perfect name."
NASCAR Sprint Cup superstar Kevin Harvick also figured a kid named Cale Gale should be driving big horsepower stock cars.
Harvick, through his Kevin Harvick Inc., racing team, has set up one of NASCAR's premier driver development programs that scouts and provides resources for youngsters he considers future NASCAR stars.
KHI has also taken a serious page out of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.
While Gale will be at Mosport today in the No. 13 Rheem Chevrolet for Farwell Racing Inc., another of Harvick's proteges, J.R. Fitzpatrick, of Cambridge, Ont., will be in the Nationwide No. 33 KHI Chevrolet at Watkins Glen, N.Y.
"I think it's kind of neat that J.R. is driving the KHI Chevrolet this weekend at the Glen while I'm up here at Mosport," Gale said.
It won't be the first time, however, that Gale has raced against Canadians.
He'll get four more chances to race in Canada, including next week at the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres followed by the NAPA 100 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.
"I'll get a chance to drive on the Formula One road course at Montreal, which I am really looking forward to," Gale said.
His immediate focus is on today's race at Mosport.
"I've only had half a day to practice at Mosport before (today's) race, but what I have seen, I like," he said.
"It's a bit like Martinsville (Tenn.) Speedway, with a little more banking."
No matter the outcome, Gale is certain he's on the right track for his career goals.
"I've wanted to be a NASCAR driver my whole life," he said.
"With (KHI), I have that opportunity and with the Canadian Tire series I am getting more seat time."
Practice and qualifying for today's race start at 1 p.m. at the half-mile Mosport oval, with race time set for 7 p.m.
Tracy to start
Toronto's Paul Tracy will qualify today and race tomorrow in the No. 5 HV Racing Dallara at the IndyCar Honda 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports car course.
He will replace regular driver Mario Moraes, following the death of Moraes' father this week.
Tracy has raced four times for KV this season.
"I want to thank KV Racing and Mario for thinking of me during this unfortunate situation," Tracy said yesterday.