Monday, August 16, 2010

NASCAR Canadian Tire Series News & Notes - Mosport Preview

•  Dickies 200 Notebook

•  GP3R 100 Post-Race Notebook

•  Points Battle Tightens Between Fitzgerald & Kennington

Thomson Still Driven In Pursuit Of NASCAR Ring

There isn't much that Don Thomson Jr. hasn't accomplished in Canadian stock-car racing, but there is still one more thing he would like to add to his bulging résumé — a NASCAR championship — before he hangs up his helmet.

"Definitely, I want to win one of those (NASCAR) championship rings," he said.

After winning back-to-back CASCAR East Series titles in 1999 and 2000, Thomson (No. 4 Home Hardware Chevrolet) went on to earn an amazing five straight CASCAR Super Series (national) championships from 2001 to 2005.

Thomson, who turns 48 on Aug. 24, does not measure success by championships, but rather by race wins.

"If you run up front and win races, then the points and championships take care of themselves," he stated.

And there lies the rub — winning races. After winning the inaugural NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 race in 2007, he went on to win three more times over the next 23 races, but he has visited Victory Lane just once in the last 22 events.

Does that bother the veteran from Hamilton, Ont.?

"Yes and no," he said. "As a competitor, it bothers me anytime I don't win, but I'm not really concerned about it. (Fitzpatrick Motorsports) is in a bit of a transition right now with our cars. We're trying some different things out and we get closer to getting it right every time out. We'll get there."

His Fitzpatrick Motorsports teammate is JR Fitzpatrick (No. 84 Schick Hydro Chevrolet), who is in a heated points battle with DJ Kennington (No. 17 Castrol Edge Dodge), while Thomson lurks well within striking distance and it is not beyond the realm for Thomson to make a hard charge as the season heads down the homestretch.

Here's the scenario — Thomson strings together a couple wins and has a shot at the title in the season finale. With 10 laps to go, he finds himself in the position of having to pass Fitzpatrick to earn that ring he covets.

"I will race him hard and do every-thing I can to pass him clean, but I will not move him," Thomson said. "I have too much respect for the Fitzpatrick family to do that."

The role of the wily veteran is one that Thomson cherishes.

"I'm here to win," he said. "But I also want to help out and teach some of these younger guys to further the position NASCAR now has in Canada."

Winning and nurturing the sport is not a bad legacy to leave behind.

Fast Facts
The Race:  Dickies 200
The Place:  Mosport Speedway, Bowmanville, Ont.
The Date:  Saturday, Aug. 21
The Time:  7 p.m. ET
The Distance:  200 laps / 100 miles
Race Purse:  $83,198 CAD
TV Schedule:  TSN, Aug. 28, Noon ET
2009 Winner:  Andrew Ranger
2009 Polesitter:  Don Thomson Jr.
Schedule:  Practice: 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.; Qualifying: 5 p.m.
Track Contact:   Ryan Chalmers, (905) 983-9141,
Twitter:  @MosportRaceway
NASCAR PR Contact:  Shon Sbarra, (704) 309-5493,
Twitter: @NASCARHomeTrack

McColm Making Progress In First Full-Season Campaign

Racing — on and off the track — is a hard business, but for Joey McColm, it has been extremely gratifying.

For the first three NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 seasons, the Ajax, Ontario-based driver has been a frequent competitor, but that full-time deal had always been elusive — until this year.

McColm decided to not pursue that one big sponsor, but rather he worked tirelessly to put together a team of sponsors to carry the weight of a long season.

"We were kind of chasing our tails looking for that single partner," he said. "Instead, we've tailored our program to fit the needs of a group of partners."

In the process, he has used the power of those partners in their specific marketplaces to garner media attention for his fledgling team.

"They've helped us and we've helped them," he said. "That's the whole idea of a partnership."

McColm has made all the races, to date, this season and currently holds down the 10th position in the points standings.

"We're definitely making progress," he stated.

Mosport News & Notes

The Race:  This event is the ninth of 13 races on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 schedule and the fifth of eight races on oval tracks this season. It is the series' fourth visit to the track.

The Procedure:  The starting field is 22 cars, including provisionals. The first 19 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials. The remaining three spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 200 laps covering 100 miles.

The Track:  The half-mile oval shares grounds with Mosport International Raceway, a 2.459-mile road course, a 2.4-kilometer advanced driver and race driver training facility, and a 1.4-kilometer kart track. All told, Mosport is Canada's largest motorsports complex, covering 750 acres located just north of Bowmanville, Ont., less than an hour's drive from Toronto, the country's largest market. The name Mosport is a contraction of motorsport and is pronounced "MOE-sport." The facility opened in 1961 and the oval track was originally a dirt track.

Last Year:  Despite a few raindrops during the event, all 200 laps were completed a year ago and Andrew Ranger led 72 laps and picked up his second career win on an oval as he held off Scott Steckly and DJ Kennington. The win came in the midst of a five-race span that saw Ranger collect four victories en route to his second series title. Kennington led a race-high 94 laps and Don Thomson Jr. earned the pole position.

The Records:  The one-lap qualifying record for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series at Mosport Speedway is held by JR Fitzpatrick at 21.592 seconds (83.364 mph) set on Aug. 11, 2007. The 200-lap race record is held by Ranger set in last year's race on Aug. 8 at 1 hour, 37 minutes, 55 seconds (61.277 mph).

New Date:  The Dickies 200 is being held two weeks later than its traditional date and provides a respite for the teams from back-to-back trips to Quebec — Trois-Rivieres and Montreal — for road-course events.

Be There:  Event information can be found at and tickets can be purchased there, as well.

NCATS Notebook: GP3R 100 Wrap-Up

Road-Course Ringer: The success of Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Dodge Dealers of Quebec Dodge) on road courses is staggering. In 18 NASCAR starts, he has 10 victories, including four this season — two each in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series — and 17 podium finishes.

Tough Day: Over his 18-year National Hockey League career, Patrice Brisebois (No. 71 L'equipeur Chevrolet) surely had his share of bad games, but probably none more difficult than his day in the GP3R 100 as he did not complete a lap after suffering engine trouble.

On A Roll: With an eighth-place finish in Trois-Rivieres, Jason Hathaway (No. 3 Snap-on Tools/Rockstar Energy Drink Dodge) has four consecutive top-10 finishes.

Mobil 1 Command Performance Driver of the Race: Ranger collected $1,500 from Mobil 1 as the Command Performance Driver of the Race Award winner. It was his second Mobil 1 award this season.

Autolite Time To Change Your Position: This award goes to the driver who improves his finishing position the most over the previous event. Kerry Micks (No. 02 Dickies/Beyond Digital Imaging Ford) earned the $1,500 prize by bouncing back to finish second in Trois-Rivieres after a sub-par performance in the prior event.

Dodge-Mopar Fast Five: This program rewards the top five finishing Dodges in the race eligible for the award. In the GP3R 100, race winner Ranger was the top-finishing Dodge and earned $2,000. DJ Kennington (No. 17 Castrol Edge Dodge) placed second among the Dodges with his fourth-place finish and earned $1,500. Scott Steckly (No. 22 Canadian Tire Jumpstart Dodge) grabbed the third spot and $1,000. The performance of J.F. Dumoulin (No. 04 Group Bellmare/Manae Dodge) ranked him fourth among the Dodge entrants and netted $750. Hathaway  finished eighth overall and was the fifth highest-finishing Dodge and collected $500 in the process.

Coca-Cola Move of the Race: Improving his position the most over the course of the race was Dexter Stacey (No. 55 Bully's Truck Stop Chevrolet). He started from the 21st position and finished 12th, which earned him the $1,000 award from Coca-Cola.

MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Race: The driver who compiles the most points in a specialized system involving qualifying, race finish and laps led collects this $1,100 special award. Ranger collected the maximum number of MAHLE points at Circuit de Trois-Rivieres to earn the bonus.

VTech Free Pass: VTech is honoring the driver who logs the highest race finish after receiving a 'free pass' during the event with a $1,000 award. Maryeve Dufault (No. 10 Dodge Dealers of Quebec Dodge) earned this award in her NASCAR Canadian Tire Series debut.

In Case You Missed It: Coverage from the GP3R 100 will air on TSN and TSN HD on Sunday, Aug. 22 at 4 p.m. ET.

From Shon Sbarra / NASCAR PR