November 13, 2012
Bowmanville track officials won't give up on NASCAR event
By DEAN McNULTY, QMI Agency
The NASCAR Nationwide Series will race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2013, replacing the Montreal event at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
And the Camping World Truck Series is slated to run next season on the dirt at the Tony Stewart-owned Eldora Speedway, also in Ohio.
In both cases it has to be considered bad news for a Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (formerly Mosport), 80 km east of Toronto, which has been lobbying hard for a Truck race — at least — for 2013.
Ron Fellows, who is a partner with Toronto construction magnate Carlo Fidani at CTMP, said he remains hopeful their efforts to get a major NASCAR date for the Bowmanville, Ont., facility can still be achieved.
"We have a continuing dialogue with NASCAR," Fellows said Tuesday. "We certainly have not given up on getting a Camping World Truck race in 2013, although it is getting late in the game."
He said that his information is that NASCAR is still putting the Truck schedule together for next season and that gives him hope there is still a chance CTMP will get its 2013 date.
"We hear (NASCAR) is still wrapping up its Truck date and a schedule is not likely to be done until after the season finale at Homestead this week," Fellows said.
The Nationwide Mid-Ohio announcement, however, is a death knell for a proposed NNS race at the Grand Prix of Trois Rivieres.
The group promoting the GPTR and the city's mayor had met with NASCAR officials 10 days ago at Texas Motor Speedway in a last ditch effort to have the cancelled Montreal race at their annual street event.
Fellows did express surprise at NASCAR granting Stewart a truck race on his half-mile dirt track.
"It will be interesting to see how those trucks race on dirt," he said. "I assume they will race their short-track trucks rather than have to build brand new trucks for that surface."
On the good news side of the ledger, Fellows will very likely be driving a Dale Earnhardt Jr. Nationwide car at the Mid-Ohio race.
And he will have an advantage there in that he has competed and won on the 3.68-km permanent road course.
The track, located near Columbus, Ohio, is owned by Green Savoree Racing Promotions, the same group that runs the Honda Indy Toronto.
JOHNSON HAS HOPE
The moment he heard his front right tire explode with less than 80 laps left in the AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Speedway on Sunday, Jimmie Johnson could see his quest for a sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup championship go up in smoke.
With the benefit in hindsight, though, Johnson now sees hope -- however slim -- that he can overcome a 20-point deficit to Brad Keselowski this week at the season finale at Homestead Miami Speedway.
There is some historical precedence that Johnson can look at as an incentive to see the sun behind the cloud he is currently under.
In fact, his own record in 2010 when he went to Homestead 15 points back of Denny Hamlin, only to see Hamlin falter badly with a 14th-place finish.
Johnson rallied to a second-place finish behind Carl Edwards in that race to steal his fifth consecutive Chase championship.
He feels he has the car and the team to pull it off again.
"My focus is going down there and winning the race," Johnson said Tuesday in a team release. "We typically haven't had to have that mentality going into this race, but we have shown we can race for the win.
"We did it in 2010 against Denny, finished second and won the championship. This 48 Lowes team can do it again. We have nothing to lose and can gamble and take chances.
"Brad doesn't have that luxury. This isn't over. This team never gives up and we don't intend to, now."
Johnson said the crash at PIR may have almost killed his championship run, it also freed the team to try anything and everything when it gets to Homestead.
"I would much rather have the pressure of trying to win the championship and hang on to the points lead, but the position we're in now, it really is a go for broke."
VETTEL SEES VICTORY AT U.S. GRAND PRIX
The Formula 1 world driving championship will not be decided at Circuit of the Americas this Sunday in the U.S. Grand Prix.
The brand spanking new Austin Tex., track will go along way to making the champion, however.
Sebastian Vettel, the back-to-back reigning champion from Red Bull has come from behind to hold a slim 10-point lead over Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
He said this week that he considered the points battle pretty much all even with two races left, especially in the bad luck department, where both have had their share of woe.
"If you look at the races we've done so far I think Fernando's and my DNFs or calamities are equal," Vettel told the official Formula 1 website.
"If you look at the whole season with 20 races, you do have incidents that you don't like to have, you probably have some retirements due to technical problems.
"We had those -- and hopefully we have now passed this phase."
He likes his chances, however, at Austin and at Brazil after winning three of the four most recent Grands Prix.
"We are in a very good position now and I hope we do well until the very end to make sure that we deserve the glory," Vettel said. "Of course the last races we had were very good for us, to put it mildly. They have helped us a lot."
KEVIN HARVICK IS THE DON CHERRY OF NASCAR
What is all this fuss about fighting in NASCAR?
Kevin Harvick, who won Sunday's fight-filled NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, thinks the rumble in the garage between the pit crews of Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer was just great.
In fact, Harvick thinks NASCAR would be even more popular if there were more fights like there was at PIR on Sunday.
"The sport was made on fights," Harvick said. "We should have more fights. I like fights. They're not always fun to be in. Sometimes you're on the wrong end. But fights are what made NASCAR what it is."
Formula 1 goes to the U.S. this week for the first time since leaving Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2007.
As a Canadian fan of our own Grand Prix at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve I don't want to wish the folks at Austin's Circuit of the Americas too much success.
I know the promoters of the USGP have already sold out the new circuit, but I also hear there will be traffic nightmares as those ticket holders try to get to the venue.
Now the Canadian Grand Prix, of course, has problems of its own, with the promoter's ties to the bankrupt Edmonton Indy and the recently cancelled NASCAR Nationwide race in Montreal.
There is a belief that F-1 boss Bernie Ecclestone would like nothing more than to shut down Canada's race in favour of two in the U.S.
Remember he already cancelled our Grand Prix in an attempt to bleed more government money back in 2009 and when it came back at a reduced price Ecclestone was reportedly not happy.
It would be just like him to get rid of Canada and a success in Austin and the proposed second American race in New Jersey in 2014 would be just the excuse he and F-1 needs.