Super Series championship to be settled at Delaware. LONDON, ON - This weekend at Delaware Speedway, the CASCAR Super Series will crown its 2002 National champion. One of the biggest events on this country's annual racing calendar, 'The Great ...
Super Series championship to be settled at Delaware.
LONDON, ON - This weekend at Delaware Speedway, the CASCAR Super Series will crown its 2002 National champion. One of the biggest events on this country's annual racing calendar, 'The Great Canadian Race Weekend' kicks off Friday night (Sept. 27) at the half-mile London-area oval with pole qualifying and the Twin 100 Sprint Races. Saturday's Final Qualifier race (Sept. 28) will set the rest of the starting field. Finally, the CASCAR Super Series season will conclude Sunday afternoon (Sept. 29) with the 'Great Canadian 300', one of the most prestigious races in all of Canadian motorsport.
Heading into the final two points events of the season, reigning Super Series champion Don Thomson is quietly confident. For the past four years, the veteran racer has been in the heat of the championship chase entering the season finale. And although last year was his first time to actually win the overall title, the Home Hardware Chevy driver also collected two Eastern championships in the previous two campaigns.
"Actually, I find I don't have as much nervous excitement this time as I did in the past few years," said Thomson, from Fitzpatrick Motorsports' racing shop, in Ayr, Ontario. "Maybe it's because we've been through this a few times. We've had a bit of a break but it's still been pretty busy getting the cars ready and doing shows for our sponsors. There really hasn't been time to worry about the championship. The plan is to have a solid Twin 100 on Friday night and then see what happens in the 300 [on Sunday]."
The Twin 100 Sprint Races and the Great Canadian 300 are both 'full points' events, which means that those who wish to keep Thomson from repeating as CASCAR's National Champion will have two events to whittle away at his current lead. He currently enjoys a 54-point cushion (1788 to 1734) over Castrol Intrepid driver DJ Kennington, who sat on the pole for the 2002 season opener at Delaware, back in May.
Three-time National champion Dave Whitlock is also within striking distance as the series heads to Delaware. The Fast Lane Taurus racer has 1668 points, which is six more than Quality Care Taurus driver Kevin Dowler, who has two Super Series wins to his credit this season. The Edmonton, AB resident enters the Great Canadian Race having won the final two CASCAR Western Series races of the season, in Wetaskiwin, AB and Vernon, BC.
Finally, two-time National champ Peter Gibbons sits fifth in the overall standings, with 1629 markers. Although it would be a long-shot for the Canadian Tire Chevy driver to win another CASCAR title, on Sunday, the Stouffville, ON resident is the master when it comes to winning the Great Canadian 300.
"We'll go to Delaware feeling good because we've won that race a couple of times," said Gibbons, following the series' most recent event, at Kawartha Speedway. "All we need is a bit of luck behind us. Our points chase has really taken a backseat because of some of the mechanical problems we've had. So, as usual, we're just looking to go out and win the race." Gibbons has been competitive in most of this year's events, but a series of badly-timed problems have kept him out of victory lane. "I'm happy we're running up front. There's nothing worse than running at the back, so at least we're running competitive each race. It's just problems you can't do anything about. It's just racing luck. Donnie's [Thomson] having another good season... he just doesn't seem to have any bad luck, ever," Gibbons concluded.
In addition to the on-track activities, Delaware Speedway will be a hive of activity involving fan participation and spectacles. Working in conjunction with Sharpe Management, Delaware Speedway will host an all-new interactive area called 'Speedfest'. Consisting of over 25 displays, games, show cars, driver and celebrity autograph sessions, and souvenir vendors, Speedfest - which is free for all three days of the Great Canadian Race Weekend - will be another fan-friendly element to further enhance this already popular racing tradition.
THE GREAT CANADIAN RACE WEEKEND - SCHEDULE:
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 27, 2002
Spectator Gates Open 2:30 p.m.
CASCAR Super Series Time Trials 6:00 - 6:45 p.m.
Driver Introductions & 1st 100 Lap Sprint Race 8:00 p.m.
Driver Introductions & 2nd 100 Lap Sprint Race 9:00 p.m.
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 28, 2002
Spectator Gates Open 11:30 a.m.
Racing Program Begins 2:00 p.m.
Pepsi Street Stock Heats, Open Wheel Modified Heats,
Midas Truck Heats, CASCAR Super Series
Final Qualifier Race (25 laps), Open Wheel Modified
Feature (20 laps), Midas Truck Feature (25 laps),
& Pepsi Street Stock Feature (25 laps)
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 29, 2002
Spectator Gates Open 11:00 a.m.
Driver Autograph Session 11:15-12:15 p.m.
CASCAR Junior Driver Introductions 12:40 p.m.
CASCAR Junior Demonstration Race (10 Laps) 12:55 p.m.
Crime Stoppers CASCAR Junior Giveaway 1:00 p.m.
START: THE GREAT CANADIAN 300 2:15 p.m.
CASCAR NEWS: The Stouffville, ON-based Team 3 Red CASCAR Super Series team will have a new driver behind the wheel of its Snap-on Tools / Cdn. Forces Monte Carlo for the Great Canadian Race Weekend. Veteran stock car driver Derek Lynch, of Norwood, ON is well-known on the Ontario oval racing scene and will be making his CASCAR debut at Delaware.
Although just 31 years of age, Lynch already has an impressive list of racing accomplishments to his credit, including track championships in Canada, prior to heading to the U.S. to race. In '94, he won the prestigious Oxford 250 and has enjoyed success in the ACT and Busch North circuits.
CASCAR ON TV: The CASCAR Super Series race at the Vancouver Indy will air on Sportsnet starting next Monday (Sept. 30). Initial airings are as follows: EAST: Mon., Sept. 30 @ 7 p.m. // ONT: Mon., Sept. 30 @ 9 p.m. // WEST: Mon., Sept. 30 @ 7 p.m. // PAC: Mon., Sept. 30 @ 7 p.m.