NASCAR Canadian Tire Series News & Notes -- Edmonton * Canadian Tire 300 Notebook * A&W 300 Post-Race Notebook * Steckly Looks For First Road-Course Win A Renaissance Season Continues For Beauchamp At the advent of...
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series News & Notes -- Edmonton
* Canadian Tire 300 Notebook
* A&W 300 Post-Race Notebook
* Steckly Looks For First Road-Course Win
A Renaissance Season Continues For Beauchamp
At the advent of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 in 2007, Ron Beauchamp Jr. was regarded as a title contender, but it never quite materialized until this year.
The first two seasons under the NASCAR banner for Beauchamp (No. 60 Mopar/Mobil 1/Exide Batteries) turned out to be an epidemic of bad luck and mechanical failures of several varieties. Factor that in with the departure of crew chief Chris Couvillion and the result was two seasons to forget.
Now, with Couvillion back in the fold, the Beauchamp camp is near the top of the points standings right where many thought they would be from the start. He sits in third place, just 45 points behind leader Andrew Ranger.
"When (Couvillion) came back last season, we hit on some things from a set-up standpoint and closed the year pretty strong," said Beauchamp. "The most important thing, I think, is our communication as a team. Everybody is on the same page and we're really gelling and that means better results."
Better results breeds higher confidence.
"I'm really confident in the car now. The last two seasons are in the past and I don't worry about that stuff," he stated. "I just run my race and I know we'll be there at the end."
In his first two NASCAR Canadian Tire Series seasons, Beauchamp had a total of five top-five finishes. He already has four this season with eight races yet to go. Another promising sign was winning his first series career pole position last week at SunValley Speedway.
Three--Edmonton, Trois-Rivieres and Montreal--of the next five events for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series come on road courses. Many short-track racers are not particularly fond of those events, but Beauchamp isn't among that group.
"I like the road courses," he said. "It's a different kind of challenge. You have to race the track more than the other cars. If your car is working right, then it's all about the driver's ability. It's a nice change of pace from the ovals."
This week, the series heads to Edmonton for the challenging 14-turn, 1.973-mile temporary road course of Rexall Speedway--a track that Beauchamp enjoys.
"The car has to turn well there or you have no chance," he said. "It's flat and it's fast. The first part is more narrow and where the car has to turn, but the back is wide open and all about horsepower and speed. It's a fun, but very challenging track."
After meeting the challenge of stepping up his game in 2009, Rexall Speedway should be a little easier to conquer for Beauchamp.
The Race: Canadian Tire 100
The Place: Rexall Speedway, Edmonton, Alberta
The Date: Saturday, July 25
The Time: 11:00 a.m. MT
TV Schedule: TSN, Aug. 9, Noon ET
Track Layout: 1.973-mile temporary road course
Race Purse: $71,823 CAD
2008 Winner: Alex Tagliani
2008 Pole: Andrew Ranger
Friday: Practice 8-8:30 a.m., 10:45-11:15 a.m.; Qualifying 5 p.m.
Steckly Looks For First Road-Course Win
Defending NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 champion Scott Steckly is seeking his first series win on a road course this Saturday in Edmonton in the Canadian Tire 100, an event he finished second in a year ago.
Much like Andrew Ranger winning his first oval-track race last weekend at SunValley Speedway, there is a validation that comes with being able to have ultimate success in both types of racing.
In his title-winning season of a year ago, Steckly (No. 22 Canadian Tire/Tow Truck in a Box Dodge), in addition to his runner-up finish at Rexall Speedway, finished second in Montreal and Trois-Rivieres, as well. He also posted a fourth-place finish at Mosport International Raceway.
Those same four tracks are on this year's schedule, as well. In the season's first race on a road course at Mosport on June 14, Steckly experienced engine problems and finished an uncharacteristic 20th.
"I don't know that we have anything to prove other than to ourselves by winning on a road course," said Steckly. "We've done pretty well for the most part and everyone knows we are capable of winning on a road course, but it sure would be nice to close one out and get the Canadian Tire/Tow Truck in a Box Dodge into Victory Lane for one of them."
Edmonton News & Notes
The Race: This event is the sixth of 13 races on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 schedule and the second of four road-course events on the slate this season. It is the third trip to the track for the series since its inception in 2007.
The Procedure: The starting field is 22 cars, including provisionals. The first 19 cars will qualify through NASCAR Road Race (group) qualifying. The remaining three spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 32 laps covering 100 kilometers (63.136 miles).
The Track: The 1.973-mile temporary road course is fashioned from runways and access roads at Edmonton City Centre Airport and has 14 turns. At its narrowest point, Rexall Speedway is 50 feet wide and 75 feet at its widest. Over 80 percent of the track is viewable from anywhere in the grandstands, making it one of the fan-friendliest road courses in existence.
The Records: The one-lap qualifying record for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series at the track is 80.797 seconds (87.909 mph), set by Andrew Ranger on July 25, 2008. The 32-lap race record is held by Alex Tagliani at 59 minutes, 24 seconds, which was set in last year's race on July 26 for an average speed of 63.774 mph.
A Season Ago: In last year's race, Tagliani snatched the lead from his teammate and polesitter, Ranger, on the second lap and led the rest of the way for his first series and stock-car victory. Scott Steckly finished second followed by Ranger in third.
Pole-No-Winner: Ranger has put his No. 27 Walmart/Tide Ford on the pole for both of the series trips to Edmonton, but has yet to turn that into a race win. The 22-year-old former open-wheel competitor has four road-course wins in nine starts in the series. Edmonton is the only road-course track that the series visits on which he has not won.
Also On Tap: The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series joins the IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and the Northern Alberta Sports Car Club for the Rexall Edmonton Indy.
NCATS Notebook: A&W 300 Wrap-Up
Someone's Knocking At The Door: The series' all-time leader in wins is 2008 series champion Scott Steckly (No. 22 Canadian Tire/Tow Truck in a Box Dodge) with six. However, with his win in the A&W 300 at SunValley, Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Walmart/Tide Ford) is just behind with five.
This Looks Familiar: In his championship season of 2007, Ranger took over the points lead after a win at Mosport International Raceway and never surrendered the lead the rest of the season despite not winning again that year. In 2009, he now has two wins heading into a span of races in which three of five events come on road courses, an area of expertise for the young driver out of Roxton Pond, Quebec.
First Time For Everything: In addition to Ranger winning on an oval for the first time, Ron Beauchamp Jr. earned his first NASCAR Canadian Tire Series pole in his 30th race. Also, this is the first year that the NASCAR spec engine program was an option for series teams and for its first win, Ranger's Ford had a spec engine under the hood powering it to a dominating win.
Mobil 1 Command Performance Driver of the Race Award: As a reward for his NASCAR Canadian Tire Series victory at SunValley Speedway, Ranger collects $1,500 from Mobil 1 for his effort.
Mopar Quick Three: This program awards the top three finishing Dodges in the race. In the Dickies 200, second-place Steckly was the highest-finishing Dodge and thus earned a $2,000 bonus. Third-place finisher Ron Beauchamp Jr. (No. 60 Mopar/Mobil 1/Exide Batteries Dodge) was the second-highest finishing Dodge, which earned him $1,000. Picking up $500 for finishing as the third-highest Dodge was DJ Kennington (No. 17 Castrol/Mahindra Tractor Dodge). He finished fourth overall as Dodge had six of the top-10 finishing cars.
Coca-Cola Move of the Race Award: Improving his position the most over the course of the race was Steckly. After qualifying and starting 11th on the grid, he was able to finish second. As a result, he earned the $1,000 award from Coca-Cola.
MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Race Award: In a new program for 2009, the driver who compiles the most points in a specialized system involving qualifying, race finish and leading laps collects the $1,000 award. Ranger narrowly beat out Beauchamp for this award in the A&W Cruisin' The Dub 300.
In Case You Missed It: Coverage of the A&W Cruisin' The Dub 300 will premiere on Sunday, Aug. 2 at noon ET on TSN. Check local listings for the most up-to-date information.
Up Next: Saskatoon
The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 makes the final stop of its three-race swing through western Canada at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway, a 333-mile banked oval in Saskatoon, Sask. The race will be the first NASCAR-sanctioned event to be held in the province of Saskatchewan. Scheduled for Wednesday, July 29, it is also the first non-weekend race in series history.
Saskatoon and its surrounding communities have been at a fever pitch since the announcement of the event earlier this year. Track officials have brought in additional seating for this special event after selling out the track's permanent seating over a month ago.