Canada deserves more big-time races

Last year's Honda Indy of Toronto was one of the most viewed races on the IndyCar calendar. (QMI...

Last year's Honda Indy of Toronto was one of the most viewed races on the IndyCar calendar. (QMI AGENCY)

Dean McNulty, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:24 AM ET

The official start of the 2012 motorsports season in Canada is just over a month away with the Victoria Day Speedfest at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

So maybe it’s time to start lobbying the major sanctioning bodies for more events up here in the Great White North.

Canada has already proven over time that it can support big-time racing.

The Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is of the most anticipated races in the Formula One world championship and the NASCAR Nationwide NAPA 200 at the same track is also a winner among race fans.

Both the Honda Indy of Toronto and the Edmonton Indy are regarded as among the best street races on the IZOD IndyCar calendar.

In fact last season’s Toronto race was the highest rated IndyCar race other than the Indianapolis 500.

With these successes both IndyCar and NASCAR should be thinking of adding more events north of the 49th parallel.

A second Nationwide race or a NASCAR Camping World Truck race at CTMP (formerly Mosport) would be a nice fit as would a third IndyCar race, say in Vancouver or Calgary.

While we are at it why not a Sprint Cup race for Circuit Gilles Villeneuve?

BARRICHELLO GETS INDYCAR ROOKIE TAG

It looks like former Formula One driver Rubens Barrichello will be given a big break in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

The 39-year-old Brazilian who has more than 300 F-1 starts on his racing resume was at first refused rookie status by the North American open wheel racing loop for obvious reasons.

IndyCar rookies are given special treatment in that they get extra testing time, extra tires and an added half-hour on each track to practise before races.

But after some big-time lobbying by Barrichello’s KV Racing Technology team, IndyCar bosses have relented and given him back those rookie benefits.

His status has been “re-evaluated based on team request” IndyCar president of competition Beaux Barfield said this week prior to the Grand Prix of Long Beach that goes this Sunday.

“He will be allowed to participate in the first 30 minutes of the first practice session and he also gets an extra set of tires,” Barfield said. “So that’s a benefit. Street circuits that can be quirky and difficult to learn he has the benefit of that extra set of tires and the extra 30 minutes of practice to learn the track quickly and get down to business.”

But Barfield said that Barrichello won’t receive the extra time/tires at Infineon Raceway in August because he’s tested there twice already this season.

Barrichello will also be a part of the rookie oval test, May 6, at Texas Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile, high-banked oval. And he will participate in the rookie orientation program at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May for the Indianapolis 500.

FERRARI DAMPENS FAN ENTHUSIASM OVER FAST START

Ferrari team bosses are warning fans not to get too excited about the fact that Fernando Alonso has a win and is leading the Formula One world championship after two Grands Prix in the 2012 season.

Ferrari technical chief Pat Fry told the team’s website that the F2012 machine “still lacks the pace of its front-running rivals.”

He said he believes the team is still almost a second off the pace in normal dry conditions.

Fry said if it were not for Alonso’s driving skills Ferrari would not be so high in the championship.

“I certainly wasn’t expecting to have one driver leading the championship,” he said. “I think our dry qualifying performance is still around eight tenths off (our rivals).”

dean.mcnulty@sunmedia.ca

 

 

 


Videos

Photos