He has six NASCAR wins — four in Nationwide and two in Trucks — on his resume, as well as a pair of top-five finishes in the Sprint Cup series.
It doesn’t hurt that Fellows has extensive contacts among NASCAR’s power elite, including team owners Rick Hendrick and Jack Roush, both of whom were supportive of the bid to bring the Truck series to CTMP.
“We also could not have done it, as well, without the support of Canadian Tire,” Fellows said.
Canadian Tire, of course, is the title sponsor for NASCAR’s Canadian stock car racing championship.
Fellows also said that the year-long talks with NASCAR were “always positive” about sanctioning a race at CTMP, which has been the home of both Formula 1 and IndyCar racing is its glory years.
“I really want to thank Steve O’Donnell (senior vice president of racing operations for NASCAR) and Jim Cassidy who were so supportive and professional throughout the process,” he said.
Since Fellows and Fidani purchased the track from the Atlanta-based Panoz Auto Development Co. in 2011 they have launched a major overhaul to upgrade to the facility situated on 750 acres of land in Bowmanville, Ont.
“Getting a major NASCAR series has been our goal from day one,” Fellows said. “And now we have one.”
He said that the Labour Day Weekend race proved a perfect bookend of the 2103 CTMP season.
“We will start with the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Victoria Day weekend races, have the American Le Mans Series in the summer and now we will have this September truck race.”
CTMP president and general manager Myles Brandt said in a track release that the Truck race is “another milestone” in the track’s history.
“We’re looking forward to creating an unforgettable experience for both fans and drivers alike this Labour Day weekend,” Brandt said.
NASCAR’s O’Donnell was effusive in his praise for the CTMP facility.
“We’re excited to announce the addition of a world-class facility like Canadian Tire Motorsport Park to our NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule for 2013,” he said.
“We’re looking forward to working with Canadian Tire Motorsport Park as we introduce the truck series to our great fans in Canada. Their enthusiastic response to our sport has helped grow its popularity in Canada significantly throughout the years.”
It is expected that many of Canada’s top racing names — like Alex Tagliani, D.J. Kennington, Patrick Carpentier, J.R. Fitzpatrick, Andrew Ranger and maybe even Paul Tracy — would be interested in driving a Truck at the CTMP race.
Ranger, who will attempt to qualify the No. 27 GCMI Ford in Saturday’s Nationwide race at Homestead Miami Speedway, is excited that the Trucks will be in Canada next season.
“I have never driven a Camping World Truck but I am excited to try,” he said. “I hope this will lead to a Nationwide race at CTMP in 2014.”
As for CTMP hosting a Nationwide race sometime down the road, Ranger thinks it would be a near perfect venue.
“Oh yes, with those fast corners and the long (Andretti) straight, it would sure be fun racing those cars there,” he said.
It is expected that the Truck race will be accompanied at CTMP by a NASCAR Canadian Tires Series race and possibly other series, but no announcement on that has been made.
Tickets for the 2013 Truck race are already on sale at www.canadiantiremotorsportpark.com.
LONG-TERM PLANS FOR CANADA?
NASCAR bosses were looking beyond next season when Friday’s decision was made to award Canadian Tire Motorsports Park a Camping World Truck Series race for 2013.
In fact Jim Cassidy, NASCAR’s managing director of racing operations, told The Toronto Sun he hopes next season’s race will be the springboard for a long term relationship between the world’s top stock car racing series and the Toronto-area track.
“We like the idea of going into a place knowing we are going to be there for a long time,” Cassidy said. “Our agreements are year-to-year but we go in with the idea that we will be there for a long time.
“And that works well with (CTMP’s) vision for the track. We feel its is going to be the preeminent motorsport facility in Canada.”
It certainly would lead one of believe a Nationwide Series, or even the possibility of a Sprint Cup race, is not out of the question for CTMP, although Cassidy did not mention that prospect.
It does affirm, however, that NASCAR did do its homework before awarding the Truck race to CTMP.
“When we go to a new venue its is not something we do with a flip of the coin,” Cassidy said. “We have been in talks for quite a while just getting to know one another. Obviously we have known Ron for a long time and we have raced (at CTMP) with the Canadian Tire Series since 2007 so we know something about the facility.”
Cassidy said a series of meetings with Fellows, his partner Carol Fidani and CTMP president and general manager Myles Brandt sealed the deal.
“They came down (to Daytona) where we had a number of meetings and just the combination of Carlo, Ron and Myles left us with a very good feeling about being able to continue to bring a national series for the seventh year in a row to Canada and, in this case, to a new market in Toronto.”