Ford of Canada Ford Motorsport Report CASCAR Castrol Super Series - National Championship Round ...
Ford of Canada Ford Motorsport Report CASCAR Castrol Super Series - National Championship Round #2 Edmonton, Alberta August 5, 1998
Dowler and Taurus post 'firsts' in second National round
EDMONTON, AB The second round of the CASCAR Castrol National Super Series was a memorable one for Kevin Dowler and the new Ford Taurus. In Dowler's cas e, his win in the Bumper to Bumper Motorsport Classic 300km, on the tarmac of the Edmonton City Centre Airport, was the first ever by a western competitor ina National series race. The Edmonton native assumed the lead with just five laps to go in the 110-lap event and went on to win by a healthy 11-second margin in his Ford Quality Care Service Taurus. It was a very popular win for the former road racer, in front a capacity hometown crowd.
It was also the first victory in a National event for the new Ford Taurus. The week before, in Calgary, Ford Taurus drivers Sean Dupuis and Kerry Micks we re second and third, respectively, but Dowler's Edmonton win was the first by a Taurus driver in a National series race. Incidentally, Dowler won a Western series event at the end of May, and now has a pair of victories in '98. "My dad was spotting from the 14th floor of the Edmonton Inn, across the street from the track, and he just kept saying, "'take it easy Kev, they're no t going to pass you at the end of the long straights," said Dowler. "If they do, they're going to spin out.' "So, I knew we had to finish first. I tried not to slide the car too much. On occasion, I tried to get by the #41 car [Don Thomson Jr.] and I got a little excited. It was a clean race. I don't know if there is a mark on the car.
It was super today. Just point it and go." Asked about the importance of his historic achievement, Dowler felt that it was just a matter of time before a westerner won one of CASCAR's premier events. "We, in the west, put our pants on one leg at a time, too, just like the bo ys in the east," smiled the Ford driver. "We never really had an opportunity before. Compare this: it's one versus six all the time. Look at the odds. Finally, it was our turn."
Another bright spot on the weekend was the second consecutive strong Natio nal event outing by Ford Quality Care Service Taurus racer Dave Whitlock. The Petrolia, ON driver finished fourth in the Edmonton road race event, in a purpose-built car that had never before seen duty. The result boosted the defending series champion to second in the National points, just 24 markers shy of Peter Gibbons, in his hunt for a third National CASCAR crown. "The motor had a skip in it," said Whitlock, after the race. "I had to take it easy and shift earlier than I wanted to. So that meant we were down on power on the straightaways. We got very few laps on the car during practice and it is a tribute to the crew that we were out there running as well as we did during this event." Kerry Micks of Mt. Albert, ON was the next best Ford finisher in Edmonton. The Ford Fast Lane Taurus driver started fourth in Sunday's feature race and looked like a contender to win it all before a pair of flat tires spoiled his hopes for another CASCAR road course win. The former CASCAR champion won the season-ending CASCAR race at Shannonville a few seasons back. According to Micks, it wasn't his intention to head for the front early in the race, but the opportunity was there and he grabbed the top spot before 10 laps were complete. "It wasn't my strategy. We were racing back and forth there. I wasn't running really hard. It just worked out," said Micks, who lost the lead on a restart, seven laps later, but continued to run in the top ten for most of the race. Two flat front tires brought the car in for an unscheduled pit stop late in the event. Fortunately, the incident happened near the pit entrance of the 2.7 km track, allowing the car to easily make it into the pits. "I was sure glad i t happened when it did," continued Micks. "Otherwise I wouldn't have made i t around and we would have lost more laps." Micks finished 11th. Combined with a strong second-place qualifying heat run, the #02 Ford team is in fourth pla ce in the overall National Series point standings, heading to the third event at Mosport. Micks finished second at Mosport (in 1991) in his only other road course outing.
STP / Ford Performance Parts Taurus driver Sean Dupuis was bitten by mechanical gremlins throughout the weekend in Edmonton. The Windsor, ON racer started 22nd in the 110 lap feature and finished 21st. But on the strength of his second-place finish in Calgary, Dupuis left Alberta in fifth place in the overall National rankings. Jim Lapcevich, pilot of the Tim Hortons / Ford Performance Parts Taurus sum med up his weekend in one word: "horrible". The Hamilton, ON driver had a good run in Saturday's 20-lap qualifying heat, and finished fifth. The former CASC AR rookie of the year lined up 10th for Sunday's 300km race, but was hampere d by a fuel pickup problem which forced him behind the wall for lengthy repairs. He would eventually finish 22nd. Mt. Hope, ON resident Dave Jacombs took the initial green flag in 20th place and went on to finish 26th in his Ford Racing / Ford Performance Parts Taurus.
*** Looking ahead: The next date on the Eastern schedule is Aug. 15-16 at Cayug a Speedway in Nelles Corners, ON. The Western division returns to action for an Aug. 15 event at Alberta's Hythe Motor Speedway. Round #3 of the CASCAR Castrol Super Series National championship is slated for Aug. 28-30 at the legendary Mosport Park road course circuit.