When life deals a person a tough blow, sometimes home can be the best place to make them feel better. That's the way Ron Fellows is looking at this weekend's American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Mosport at his home track, Mosport International Raceway.
Competing and possibly winning at his home track would go far toward healing the bitter disappointment Fellows experienced when he competed in the NASCAR Winston Cup event at Watkins Glen, N.Y., on Aug. 10. Driving a Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., Fellows had what he felt was the best opportunity he had ever had to win in NASCAR's premier series. However, after running as high as third, he slid off course due to a broken suspension part and ultimately finished the race in the garage.
Fellows must quickly shake off that disappointment and be ready for race week at Mosport, which keeps him busier than any other event on the American Le Mans Series schedule. He is constantly in demand from the Toronto media, and he also spends a lot of time doing promotional events. Then, once joining the Corvette team at the track, he is besieged by fans and well-wishers who wait for him to exit his car after a practice session or exit the Corvette transporter after a team meeting.
"As the American Le Mans Series has grown, and as we've gotten a little notoriety, it's gotten busier and busier when we race at Mosport," said Fellows, who will co-drive with Johnny O'Connell in a Chevrolet Corvette C5-R in the GTS class. "It's enjoyable for me. Is it hectic? Absolutely. But I know I'm not going to be doing this forever."
Fellows and O'Connell have won the GTS class in the ALMS event at Mosport the past two years, each time coming back from some adversity. Two years ago, Terry Borcheller pulled a major upset in qualifying, beating Fellows, and then Fellows was pushed off the track during the race and the Corvette suffered body damage. Nevertheless, he roared back through the field to score the class win.
In 2002, Borcheller again beat Fellows in qualifying, snapping Fellows' season-long perfect record of winning every pole. But the Corvette performed flawlessly in the race and Fellows and O'Connell won again.
This year, the two-car Corvette team will face its toughest competition at Mosport in several years as the bright red Ferrari 550 Maranellos of the Prodrive team make their Mosport debut. The Prodrive team has been a formidable foe for the Corvettes and beat them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The high-speed Mosport circuit would seem to be a good fit for the Ferraris, which are very strong in straightline speed.
Four classes of American Le Mans Series cars will compete in the Grand Prix of Mosport, a two-hour, 45-minute timed event that starts at 1:30 p.m. (EDT) on Sunday, Aug. 17. In addition to the GTS class, the sleek and exotic Prototypes will compete in the LMP 900 and LMP 675 classes, and the highly-competitive production-based cars of the GT class will round out the field.
ALMS cars will have two hours of unofficial testing on Friday, with official practice and qualifying to be held Saturday. Also on tap for Saturday is an "open paddock" autograph session featuring all of the drivers entered in the ALMS race.
The Grand Prix of Mosport will be televised live by NBC Sports beginning at 2 p.m. (EDT). The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage of both qualifying and the race and can be heard online at www.americanlemans.com.
Ticket information is available online at www.mosport.com or by calling 1-800-866-1072.