NASCAR CANADIAN TIRE SERIES PRESENTED BY SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO NEWS & NOTES -- NAPA AUTOPRO 100 * Hathaway Ready To Complete The Equation * Change Of Pace For Tagliani * Hitting The Road For The Third Time DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 31, ...
NASCAR CANADIAN TIRE SERIES PRESENTED BY SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO NEWS & NOTES -- NAPA AUTOPRO 100
* Hathaway Ready To Complete The Equation
* Change Of Pace For Tagliani
* Hitting The Road For The Third Time
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 31, 2007) -- Road course racing is almost always fun and a great diversion from oval racing. However, success is needed to complete the equation to bring about enjoyment. Jason Hathaway (No. 3 Snap-on Tools/Super 8 Dodge Charger) plans on adding success this weekend at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve to graduate his road racing program to enjoyable.
The NAPA AUTOPRO 100 at the famed Montreal track is the third of four scheduled road course races on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio schedule in 2007. In the two previous road course events this year, Hathaway placed 15th at Mosport International Raceway and 10th at the Rexall Grand Prix Edmonton.
"We have tried to bring our road course program along this season," said Hathaway. "And I think we have. I love the road course events. They are a great challenge with all the things you have to think of as a driver compared to oval racing. We just need to have a little more success at them."
Choosing a preference between road course and oval racing is difficult for Hathway, a resident of Appin, Ontario. The bulk of his experience lies on the ovals, but he very much likes the level of driver involvement and concentration required for road courses.
"There's so much going on for the driver at a road course -- hitting marks, braking and shifting gears. It's hard for the crews to be very involved because they can't see everything. It's definitely a lot of fun, but, then again, so are all the oval tracks."
Adding to the prestige of racing at the world-renowned track for the Canadian Tire Series drivers and teams is the fact that it is a combination weekend with the NASCAR Busch Series, which is making its Canadian debut this weekend.
"There is no doubt this is a huge event for us. It is an opportunity to show what we can do to the NASCAR executives, some of the best stock car drivers in the world and thousands of fans," Hathaway said. "We can show our level of professionalism, our ability to adapt to the technical aspects of the cars and our desire for excellence."
It will be important, though, for not only Hathaway but all the Canadian Tires Series teams to not get too caught up in the hoopla of the event and focus on the business at hand. As for Hathaway, he currently stands eighth in the championship point standings, 144 points off the pace of leader Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Wal-Mart/Tide Ford Fusion).
"We need to really bear down this weekend and focus on what we need to do and race the track," he said. "This will be our second trip over there. Last year we had a good run going when the transmission broke and ruined things."
Hathaway noted that Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a horsepower track not unlike the Edmonton course the Canadian Tire Series just visited, but what the driver sees is drastically different.
"In Edmonton, it is wide open and you can see the next turn, but in Montreal that is not the case at all," he said. "You get a tunnel vision feel in Montreal. The track is surrounded by walls, trees and bushes. It makes the braking zones a little different. In Edmonton, while you don't want to be sliding around, if you do there is nothing really to hit. On the other hand, in Montreal, it's not at all difficult to slide into something and damage your car and knock yourself out of contention."
The pressure, most of it self-imposed, is mounting for Hathaway. He knows for ultimate success to come in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, there will have to be some measure of achievement on the road course events that make up a third of the schedule.
"It's been a while since we've had a podium finish, but if we can just improve on our Edmonton finish, then it will be a good trip," he said. "That'll leave us with one more road course race to concentrate on and we can make up some ground when we get back to the ovals."
NEWS & NOTES
* The race ... This event is the sixth race for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio in 2007. It is the second consecutive and the third of four road/street-racing events this season. It is also the first of two visits to Quebec this year, with the other coming in two weeks at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. Two weeks ago in Edmonton, the Canadian Tire Series joined forces with CHAMP Car. This time around, it is paired with the NASCAR Busch Series, which is making its Canadian debut this weekend.
* The track ... The 15-turn, 2.710-mile street course is created from surface streets on Ile Notre Dame, a man-made island in the St. Lawrence River. However, the streets were designed with the race track in mind. The track is named after late Canadian driver Gilles Villeneuve, father of 1997 F1 World Champion Jacques Villenueve. One of the highlights of the track is the wall that bears the "Bienvenue au Quebec" sign which has ended the race for many drivers racing at the track. It has become known as the "Wall of Champions."
* Early wake-up call ... On race day for the Canadian Tire Series teams, there will be little time for pre-race jitters. With the green flag scheduled to fly at 10:30 a.m., the drivers and teams will need to have their strategy in place after the Friday practice and qualifying sessions.
* A change of pace for Alex Tagliani ... Taking a break from the CHAMP Car World Series circuit this weekend will be Alex Tagliani. He will join forces with former open wheel teammate Andrew Ranger on the stock car side of racing. Tagliani currently ranks ninth in the CHAMP Car World Series standings and is coming off a ninth-place effort in July 29 at the San Jose (Calif.) Grand Prix. Tagliani is a native of Lechenaie, Quebec.
* Double Duty ... Two NASCAR Canadian Tire Series teams will be trying their luck at both NASCAR events on the docket this weekend. D.J. Kennington (No. 17 Castrol Dodge Charger) will be with his No. 72 MacDonald Racing team just as he has been for several NASCAR Busch Series races this season. He is coming off a 25th-place showing this past weekend at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. J.R. Fitzpatrick (No. 84 Milwaukee Electric Tools Chevrolet Monte Carlo), winner of the last two Canadian Tires Series events, will be making his second NASCAR Busch Series appearance this year. He also competed in the Mexico City event. He will once again be running the No. 0 car, but this time it is a car which he purchased as opposed to the rented equipment used in Mexico.
* Ticket information ... Ticket information for the NAPA AUTOPRO 100 can be obtained by calling (514) 397-0007 or by logging on to www.circuitgillesvilleneuve.ca.
What: NAPA AUTOPRO 100, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Race #6.
Where: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, Quebec.
When: 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 4.
Track layout: 2.710-mile street course.
Distance: 23 Laps, 62.137 miles.
Posted Awards: $57,464 CAD
Records: Inaugural event.
Pre-race schedule: Friday -- Practice, 8 a.m.-10:40 p.m. Qualifying, 12:40 p.m. Note: All times subject to change.
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Top 10: 1. Andrew Ranger 818; 2. J.R. Fitzpatrick 783; 3. Peter Gibbons 772; 4. D.J. Kennington 759; 5. Mark Dilley 753; 6. Don Thomson 740; 7. John Gaunt 676; 8. Jason Hathaway 674; 9. Derek Lynch 663; 10. Dave Whitlock 657