St-Eustache preview

LONDON, ON - The second half of the Castrol Super Series starts on Saturday night (July 28) at Montreal's Autodrome St-Eustache. The 'Auto Parts Plus 150' is the seventh of 12 events on the 2001 schedule and is the first of two races to be...

LONDON, ON - The second half of the Castrol Super Series starts on Saturday night (July 28) at Montreal's Autodrome St-Eustache. The 'Auto Parts Plus 150' is the seventh of 12 events on the 2001 schedule and is the first of two races to be contested in Quebec, on consecutive weekends.

The 4/10th-mile St-Eustache oval played host to one of the most exciting races in CASCAR history last August when Peter Gibbons and Don Thomson battled for the Super Series East crown. The final lap drama saw Gibbons win the race in a mangled racecar, while Thomson fought back from an early-race spin to claw his way into a tie for the points lead. Following a controversial last lap, Gibbons and Thomson were deadlocked in the standings. On the strength of having won one more Eastern race than Gibbons, Thomson claimed the championship via the tie-breaking mechanism.

While no Castrol Super Series titles are going to be awarded this weekend at St-Eustache, the CASCAR competitors will head to the flat, egg-shaped oval in the midst of one of the tightest championship chases in series history. Blue Streak Intrepid driver Al Turner leads the standings with 864 points. Don Thomson is in the thick of the points chase again this year and sits one point back - in his Home Hardware Chevy - with 863. Ford driver Kerry Micks - who led the standings from the season opener at Delaware Speedway, until ceding it to Turner following the Toronto Indy - is third with 862.

So far, parity has been the hallmark of the 2001 Castrol Super Series. A DaimlerChrysler Intrepid, a Chevrolet Monte Carlo and a Ford Taurus fill the top three points positions, and are separated by just two points. On top of that, no driver has collected two checkered flags so far this season. The six races held so far have produced six different victors. That's a marked contrast to the 2000 championship, during which it often appeared that Thomson and Gibbons (Canadian Tire Chevy) were operating on a different level than their peers.

The St-Eustache oval is unique in terms of the facilities visited by the Castrol Super Series. The low-banked track is considerably tighter in turns 1 and 2, than in turns 3 and 4. The result is that teams have to find a compromise setup to deal with the entire track. Additionally, with practice and qualifying taking place during the day, and the green flag scheduled for 9 p.m., finding a setup that will work well for 150 laps - under the lights - is a considerable task.

If past history is an indication, the stands at Autodrome St-Eustache will be packed for the race. Since it started hosting CASCAR races, Quebec stock car fans have always come out in great numbers to witness the Super Series events.

CASCAR NOTES: At least 31 drivers have registered to compete in the Auto Parts Plus 150... The ANCA stock cars will be the support division at St-Eustache... Last Saturday at Quesnel, BC's Gold Pan Speedway, Ron Larson won his third consecutive CASCAR West race...

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SCHEDULE: AUTO PARTS PLUS 150

Saturday, July 28       6:00 p.m.       Castrol Super Series Time Trials
                        9:00 p.m.       Start: Auto Parts Plus 150

-CASCAR

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Series NASCAR Canada
Drivers Peter Gibbons , Kerry Micks , Al Turner