July 13, 2003 (Toronto, Canada): Ward Imrie of Winnipeg, Manitoba, made his professional racing debut today, finishing sixth in the Barber Dodge Pro race at the Molson Indy Toronto. Driving a car partially sponsored by Jan Kelly Marketing and Russ...
July 13, 2003 (Toronto, Canada): Ward Imrie of Winnipeg, Manitoba, made his professional racing debut today, finishing sixth in the Barber Dodge Pro race at the Molson Indy Toronto. Driving a car partially sponsored by Jan Kelly Marketing and Russ Bond Agency, the twenty-year-old former karting champion won US$1500 and some well-deserved respect.
Imrie gained pace throughout the weekend as he built experience and fine tuned the car's handling. He looked poised and mature among experienced Barber Dodge Pro drivers, and kept his car off the walls that surround the temporary Toronto street course.
In tricky, wet conditions on Friday, Imrie qualified eleventh. However, times from that session were washed away when Saturday's qualifying session took place in dry conditions. Imrie posted the twelfth-fastest time, placing him on row six for the start of today's 28-lap race.
"On Friday, I basically took it easy," said Imrie. "I got accustomed to the car and learned the track, but didn't push very hard because it was wet. On Saturday, I found the car was prone to oversteer so I asked for a lot of changes to the set up."
In this morning's warm-up session, Imrie was much more comfortable with the car, but still felt he could make it a little better. A few more changes and he was ready to go racing.
The race saw several drivers hit the walls, but Imrie dodged each piece of flying debris and every wayward car. He gained several positions as some of the series' top drivers over did it. After 28 fast, consistent and tidy laps, Imrie crossed the line in sixth place.
"The race went well for me," said Imrie. "It was an excellent learning experience and I'm very happy with the way I performed. I now have knowledge I can take with me to the next race and I'm confident I will be able to build on this result."
Imrie will be back at the wheel of a Barber Dodge Pro car at the Molson Indy Vancouver, July 25-27. He has targeted a top-five finish.