Toronto: Series round four preview

NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 News & Notes -- Toronto Steckly Stays The Course People do what they know best and it often serves them well. For Scott Steckly, those are words by which to live and win. Steckly (No. 22 ...

NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 News & Notes -- Toronto

Steckly Stays The Course

People do what they know best and it often serves them well. For Scott Steckly, those are words by which to live and win.

Steckly (No. 22 Canadian Tire Jumpstart Dodge), the 2008 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 champion, likes to keep things as simple as possible. He and his team don't make drastic changes to the car if practice times are not where they like. They make incremental changes to the things that they know work. In fact, they also are doing things exactly as they did in their championship season. However, it's a little different game these days.

In 2008, the Milverton, Ont., driver won four times over an 11-race    .
span Since then, he's won just twice in his last 18 starts             .

"Every team has stepped up their game in the last year or so," he said. "It's no harder for us than anybody else. It's hard for anyone to win these races. Very little separates all of us. You have to do your homework and get some good fortune to win a race in this series."

One race that Steckly has yet to win, and wants to badly, is a road-course event. In 2008, he finished second in three of the four road contests.

"We put a focus on road courses in 2008 and spent a lot of time working on that part of the program. It's critical in this series to have a solid road-race program," he said. "We got close to winning, but it never quite worked out for us. I think we'll get one soon, though."

Real soon could be real good as the Canadian Tire Series makes its inaugural visit to Toronto to participate in the Honda Indy Toronto. The race, along with the hood of Steckly's Dodge Avenger, will bear the Canadian Tire Jumpstart program.

"It would be nice to get that first one in Toronto with Canadian Tire so heavily involved in the event," he said.

While it is the series' first trip to Toronto, it is not a first-time event for many of the competitors, who were part of several CASCAR Super Series events in Canada's largest market.

Event though it has been a few years, Steckly vividly recalls the track made up of the streets surrounding Exhibition Place, west of downtown Toronto.

"I remember it well. It's fast, but has its tight sections," Steckly stated. "The passing areas, like most road courses, come in the braking zones. It's a fun track to drive because it has both speed and technical portions."

He has looked forward to the event since the return to Toronto was announced last November.

"I'm kind of anxious to see how this turns out. The field is full of some pretty good road racers," he said. "It is certainly going to be a great show whether we win or not."

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Fast Facts

The Race: Jumpstart 100
The Place: Toronto (Ont.) Exhibition Place

The Date: Saturday, July 17
The Time: 2:45 p.m. ET

The Distance: 35 laps / 61.4 miles
Race Purse: $81,450 CAD

TV Schedule: TSN, July 17, 2:30 p.m. ET (LIVE)

2009 Winner: Inaugural Event
2009 Polesitter: Inaugural Event

Schedule:
Friday, Practice 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.; Qualifying 4:30 p.m.

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More On The Line For Fitzpatrick

As winner of the last two NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 road-course races, JR Fitzpatrick (No. 84 Schick Hydro Chevrolet), racing out of Cambridge, Ont., has demonstrated quite a penchant for making left and right-handed turns after cutting his teeth on the short tracks of Ontario.

In Toronto, the opportunity to extend that road winning streak won't be an easy proposition. In addition to Fitzpatrick and his four series road-course victories, the field includes Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Dodge Dealers of Quebec Dodge) and Jason Bowles (No. 11 Triad Racing Technologies Dodge), who bring another 11 NASCAR Developmental Series wins on road courses to the table. Not to mention the cast of usual characters in the Canadian Tire Series.

Ranger (Canadian Tire Series) and Bowles (K&N Pro Series West), both reigning NASCAR champions, would love to add another notch to their belt. Undoubtedly, Fitzpatrick, currently second in the championship points standings, would, as well, but he is currently competing for the points championship in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and must keep the big picture in mind.

"They're coming in to win the race--nothing else," Fitzpatrick said. "I want to win, too, but I'm also here to win the championship. It's a pretty fine line, but one that I have to see and it won't be easy. I race to win."

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Toronto News & Notes

The Race: This event is the fourth of 13 races on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 schedule and the second of five road-course events. This is the series' inaugural event in Toronto.

The Procedure: The starting field is 32 cars, including provisionals. The first 27 cars will qualify through NASCAR road race style qualifying. There will be two qualifying groups based on practice times. The remaining five spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 35 laps covering just over 100 kilometers (61.4 miles).

The Track: The 11-turn, 1.765-mile temporary road course is set up on the streets of Toronto's Exhibition Place, a unique site situated along the shores of Lake Ontario immediately west of downtown Toronto. Exhibition Place is home to more than 100 special events and trade and consumer shows annually.

The History: Originally known as the Molson Toronto Indy, the event dates back to 1986 at the Exhibition Place site. The CASCAR Super Series, predecessor to the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, was a regular support series at the event.

The Race Name: As a partner to both the series and the Honda Indy Toronto, the Canadian Tire Corporation has chosen to raise awareness for its Jumpstart foundation. Canadian Tire Jumpstart is a community-based charitable program that helps kids aged 4-18 participate in organized sports and recreation, such as hockey, dance, soccer and swimming, to develop important life skills, self-esteem and confidence.

Full Weekend: Joining the Indy Car Series, Indy Lights and NASCAR Canadian Tire Series is the Acura Sports Car Challenge, Castrol Touring Car Championship and the SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series.

Live Television: TSN and TSN HD will carry live coverage of the Jumpstart 100 beginning on Saturday, July 17 at 2:30 p.m. ET. It is the first of two live telecasts for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series in 2010 with the second coming on Sunday, Aug. 29 at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve just prior to the NASCAR Nationwide Series event.

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NCATS Notebook: Lucas Oil National 250 Wrap-Up

Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad: After finishing in the top three in points the last three seasons, DJ Kennington's (No. 17 Castrol Edge Dodge) quest for his first series title took a step forward with a win in the Lucas Oil National 250, his second victory in three series outings this season.

Almost: Spoiled by Kennington's jump from third to first on the penultimate lap of the race, Scott Steckly (No. 22 Canadian Tire/MotoMaster Dodge) was in line to pick up his third win at Autodrome St. Eustache in four tries before finishing as the race runner-up.

Rock Star Entrance: Fresh off his NASCAR K&N Pro Series East win at Lime Rock Park earlier in the day, Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Dodge Dealers of Quebec Dodge) arrived at the track via helicopter just as driver introductions were getting underway and was greeted by a thunderous cheer from his home track fans. Starting from the rear of the field, he worked his way up to the fifth position before finishing ninth.

Mobil 1 Command Performance Driver of the Race: Steckly collects $1,500 from Mobil 1 as the Command Performance Driver of the Race award winner.

Autolite Time To Change Your Position: New to the lineup this year is the Autolite Spark Plugs Time To Change Your Position Award that goes to the driver who improves his finishing position the most over the previous event. Anthony Simone (No. 95 Graphix Factory Chevrolet) earned the $1,500 prize by rebounding from a disappointing performance at Mosport International Raceway.

Dodge-Mopar Fast Five: This program rewards the top five finishing Dodges in the race eligible for the award. In the Vortex Brake Pads 200, race runner-up Kennington was the top-finishing Dodge and earned $2,000. Steckly placed second among the Dodges with his second-place effort and earned $1,500. Jason Hathaway (No. 3 Snap-on Tools/Rockstar Energy Drink Dodge) grabbed the third spot and $1,000. The performance of Ron Beauchamp Jr. (No. 60 Mopar/Mobil 1 Dodge) ranked him fourth among the Dodge entrants and netted $750. Ranger finished ninth overall and was the fifth highest-finishing Dodge and collects $500 in the process.

Coca-Cola Move of the Race: Improving his position the most over the course of the race was Beauchamp. He started from the 12th position and finished fifth, thus earning 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 leading laps collects this $1,100 award. Steckly netted the most points in this event to earn the bonus.

VTech Free Pass: In another new award this season, VTech is honoring the driver who logs the highest race finish after receiving a 'free pass' during the event with a $1,000 award. Ranger found himself down a lap in the early going in St. Eustache before recovering to finish ninth thanks, in part, to the VTech Free Pass.

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Up Next: Edmonton

The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 next heads to the Edmonton City Centre Airport for the Canadian Tire 100 on Sunday, July 25. It is the third of five road-course events on the 2010 slate.

This is the series' fourth visit to Edmonton to be a part of the Honda Indy Edmonton. And it will be the second straight week that the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series is paired with the Indy Car Series having been together last weekend in Toronto.

Last season, Andrew Ranger started from the pole for the third consecutive season in Edmonton, but, this time, was able to claim the race win while holding off a hard-charging JR Fitzpatrick in the closing laps.

Fitzpatrick won the 2007 event while Alex Tagliani took the checkered flag in 2008.

-source: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Canada
Drivers Alex Tagliani , Scott Steckly , Andrew Ranger , Jason Bowles , Jason Hathaway , Anthony Simone