Champions honoured at CASCAR banquet. Thomson, Robblee and Harr celebrate CASCAR supremacy, TORONTO, ON - This past Saturday night, in Toronto, the CASCAR community gathered to honour its champions, participants, sponsors and officials....
Champions honoured at CASCAR banquet.
Thomson, Robblee and Harr celebrate CASCAR supremacy,
TORONTO, ON - This past Saturday night, in Toronto, the CASCAR community gathered to honour its champions, participants, sponsors and officials. The Grand Ballroom of the Toronto Airport Marriott was the setting of a black-tie affair to celebrate the achievements of those who distinguished themselves, in 2002, in both the CASCAR Super Series and the CARQUEST Sportsman Series.
For the second year in a row, Don Thomson Jr. was honoured for earning the distinction of being Canada's top stock car driver. A dedicated professional, Thomson thanked his car owner and racing teammate John Fitzpatrick for his support. He also recognized the important backing of his longtime sponsor, Home Hardware, as well as the contributions of his racing team, their families, CASCAR and all of the series' sponsors in helping to make his dream of being a full-time stock car racer, a reality. Thomson also made special mention of his partner Teresa, and his gratefulness for a safe and exciting 2002 CASCAR Super Series season. He also singled out the tough title challenge waged by runner-up DJ Kennington, who he branded as "the star of the future".
CASCAR President Tony Novotny addressed the crowd of over 400 hundred in attendance, thanking them for their support in making the CASCAR Super Series the top motorsports tour in the country. He also touched upon the series' plans for 2003 and beyond, focussing on the need for CASCAR to use creative and enticing marketing strategies to encourage new and non-traditional companies to become involved in the CASCAR Super Series program. According to Novotny, the sanctioning body has the people in place to successfully execute the plan.
Many of CASCAR's existing sponsors demonstrated their support for the drivers and the series during the 2002 season awards presentations, by handing out tens of thousands of dollars in cash and product awards in recognition of the drivers' achievements throughout the recently completed season.
MOPAR's Roy Westlake stunned the crowd when he announced that MOPAR would be significantly increasing its contingency program participation in 2003. Westlake also revealed a new logo for the MOPAR brand. On top of any other awards and earnings, if a Dodge driver wins the points championship in '03, that individual will pocket an additional $20,000. Westlake, one of CASCAR's staunchest supporters, also announced that all of the other MOPAR contingency programs would be increased for next season. His words caused a stir as many of the drivers - including champion Don Thomson - commented on the benefits of switching to a Dodge.
Anthony Stadleman, Marketing Manager - Canada for Castrol also confirmed the continuation of the long-standing relationship between Castrol and CASCAR into the 2003 season.
The November 23 CASCAR banquet was the first time ever that the Super Series and the CARQUEST Sportsman Series shared the same venue. The focus of attention for the CARQUEST Series awards was three-time champion Steve Robblee, who was complimented on his achievements and driving skill by many of the evening's speakers, including Super Series champ Don Thomson. CARQUEST Canada's Director of Marketing, Michel Rondeau told the assembled crowd that the auto parts supplier will be returning as the title sponsor of the growing series, for a third consecutive season, in 2003. Second-place points finisher Richard Beauchamp was also singled out for special recognition for his successful 2002 season.
In 2003, the CARQUEST Sportsman Series will have a mandatory event at Cayuga Speedway as part of the 'Canada Day Shootout' weekend.
CASCAR Western Series champion Daryl Harr made the trip from St. Albert, Alberta to participate in the year-end celebration. Harr's father, Carl, won the honour in 2001. According to one of the evening's emcees, Bob Ennis, the Harrs are the first 'father and son' combination to win a major stock car championship in consecutive seasons. Tony Novotny confirmed that the Western Series will have eight events in 2003, at several speedways and facilities in Alberta and British Columbia.
SPORTSNET 'Excited' about 2003: One of the cornerstones of the CASCAR Super Series program is the professional television package that is produced by James Robinson Associates, Ltd. and supported by many of the series' sponsors. At the CASCAR banquet, series President Tony Novotny read a letter from Alan Maynes, on behalf of Rogers Sportsnet's Programming Department, talking about the broadcaster's involvement with CASCAR.
"Rogers Sportsnet is excited about our association with CASCAR. It is our expectation and wish that the fan-base for this 'made in Canada' product will expand to strong fruitful numbers that will not only justify our continued support in 2003, but will also warrant significant advertiser interest. We look forward to working with CASCAR in 2003."
According to numbers supplied by James Robinson, Ltd., the 2002 CASCAR Super Series had over 55 hours of national broadcast time on Sportsnet, to a potential audience of over 7 million television viewers across Canada.
On top of that, the CASCAR Super Series will have - when it completes its run on Speed Channel - an additional 25 hours of broadcast time to an audience of 67 million viewers across the USA and into Canada. That's a total of 80 hours of Canadian stock car racing to a potential audience of just under 75 million viewers on both sides of the border.