August 9, 2011
Canadians on NASCAR prowl
By DEAN McNULTY, QMI Agency
TORONTO - The next two NASCAR weekends are chock full of Canadian content, starting this week with the Nationwide ZIPPO 200 and the Sprint Cup Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen at Watkins Glen International.
Two home growns — Ron Fellows and Andrew Ranger — will be doing double duty, racing in both events.
Fellows — Canada’s most decorated NASCAR driver with five wins at Watkins Glen in Nationwide and the Camping World Truck Series — will drive the No. 5 JR Motorsports Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the NNS race Saturday and the No. 36 Golden Corral Chevrolet for Tommy Baldwin in the Cup race on Sunday.
Ranger, meanwhile, will drive the No. 32 Fast Lane Racing Ford in the Cup event for Frankie Stoddard and the No. 53 Bollegraaf-Lobo USA Dodge in the Nationwide race for Robert Torriere.
Add in J. R. Fitzpatrick who will attempt to qualify the No. 67 Go Canada Racing Ford Mustang in the Nationwide race.
Actually, all three will have to qualify their way into that race as there are a season-high 50 cars entered in the ZIPPO 200.
On Sunday, however, both Fellows and Ranger will get automatic spots in the Cup race as both cars are in the top 35 in owner points.
Meanwhile, IZOD IndyCar regular Alex Tagliani will make a detour to Virginia International Raceway this week on his way to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for Sunday’s MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 to test the No. 21 Penske Racing Nationwide Series Dodge.
Tagliani will team up with former F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve — who will drive the No. 22 Penske Dodge — at the Nationwide NAPA 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Aug. 20.
Also on tap at the NAPA 200 will be Patrick Carpentier, driving the No. 55 Pastrana Waltrip Racing Toyota.
This will be Carpentier’s retirement party, as the long-time IndyCar and NASCAR driver will wave goodbye to racing after the Montreal race.
TONY STEWART UNPLUGGED
Two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and former IZOD IndyCar champion Tony Stewart has a reputation as being hard on the media but last week at Indianapolis when he met with a group of his fans, he was able to answer their questions with frankness and a bit of fun.
South Bend Tribune reporter Al Lesar made it into the forum and recorded the following question and answer session:
On what Stewart thinks of current NASCAR bad boy Kyle Busch:
“There aren’t any bad guys in the (Cup) series. Even Kyle Busch isn’t that bad. If there are five words that mean the same thing, (Busch) is going to pick the one that makes everybody mad.”
On winning a World of Outlaws race in Canada (at Oshweken Speedway):
“I put (an oversized) Happy Gilmore cheque in the back window of the bus at the Brickyard. I was proud of that.”
On Danica Patrick:
“I’d go out with her, absolutely.”
On Jeff Gordon:
(The audience groaned at the mention of his name.) “I know. He’s got a hot wife, though. Just tellin’ the truth.” On the longevity of his girlfriends:
“Some made it a couple hours. Some made it a couple months. I just broke up with my girlfriend (Jessica Zemken) yesterday, but she drives for me (in World of Outlaws), so I guess I’ll see her again.”
On whether or not he’d climb the fence if he won later this season at the Chicagoland Speedway:
“It’s tradition at Indy, so I’d do it there. As it is, I’m living on borrowed time. I don’t want to win a race and fall off the fence and wake up in a hospital not remembering anything.”
IndyCar driver Justin Wilson says he won’t require surgery to repair the fractured vertebrae in his back following an accident Saturday at Mid-Ohio. “I fly to Indy tomorrow. They think I won’t need surgery but I will need a brace,” Wilson posted on his Twitter account. ... Sad news at Hendrick Motorsports. Mary Hendrick, mother of Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, passed away Monday afternoon at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. Hendrick was 88. ... Montreal’s Bruno Spengler has opened up a seven-point series lead over Martin Tomczyk with just four races left in the DTM series season with his second-place finish at the Nurburgring on the weekend.