J.R. FITZPATRICK LOOKING AHEAD TO 2009 October 27, 2008. John Ryan (J.R.) Fitzpatrick and the ...
J.R. FITZPATRICK LOOKING AHEAD TO 2009
October 27, 2008. John Ryan (J.R.) Fitzpatrick and the #84 Fitzpatrick Motorsports team entered into the 2008 NASCAR Canadian Tire series racing season on a mission to compete for the championship. While a win early in the season on the Mosport Road course gave the team reason for optimism there was some tough luck on the road ahead.
A key element to any championship season is consistency and that is something that was missing for the #84 Fitzpatrick Motorsports team this season. "Just when we'd think we were on the right track something would bite us" said the 20 year old driver. "It was a year that our team had to battle for everything we achieved and while some guys would be happy with a seventh place overall season we're not. We believe that we're a championship caliber team winning races and competing for the championship is our level of expectation".
A high point of the season for the #84 Fitzpatrick Motorsports team came at Mosport Raceway on the very challenging road course on what would become the first ever NASCAR sanctioned event to run in the rain. The afternoon started out dry but when the showers appeared the #84 team called J.R. to pit road for grooved tires and the driver did the rest. Fitzpatrick charged to the front in the closing laps to take the checkered flag and celebrate a Father's Day weekend win with his dad John watching. "It was a special one for my dad who missed a lot of last season but to have him there for that win was awesome" said J.R.
There were other events that the #84 Chevrolet appeared to be in contention for the win but it didn't materialize. The one that upsets J.R. Fitzpatrick the most was in Montreal at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. "I had the lead for most of the race but on the final lap I gave it away" says a still frustrated driver. Fitzpatrick was passed at the start of the final lap but that's not what upsets him. "I knew there would be a chance to grab the lead back but I got too aggressive in the wrong spot, I put a wheel on the grass and the car just got away from me sending me off track. I made a mistake, or we could have won" he concluded.
The Fitzpatrick Motorsports team leaves no stone unturned searching for ways to win, including a change in motors during the season. "The Dodge motors seemed to have more horsepower than the Chevy's were allowed so we figured we might as well experiment with them" said the driver. They weren't a quick fix but it did give the Fitzpatrick Motorsports team some valuable information to ponder this off season. "As we make plans during the off season we'll take a closer look at the motor rules and decide if we need to make a change for next year".
J.R. Fitzpatrick finished the season with five top-five finishes including the victory at Mosport and was recognized at the year end awards banquet this past weekend with a seventh place finish in the overall championship.