Veteran Thomson Wants To Add NASCAR Title To Extensive Resume Championships are nothing new to Don Thomson Jr. He won five consecutive CASCAR Super Series titles from 2001 to 2005, but he would like to add a NASCAR championship to his already ...
Veteran Thomson Wants To Add NASCAR Title To Extensive Resume
Championships are nothing new to Don Thomson Jr. He won five consecutive CASCAR Super Series titles from 2001 to 2005, but he would like to add a NASCAR championship to his already impressive resume.
Actually, Thomson (No. 4 Home Hardware Chevrolet) won seven straight championships, having won a pair of CASCAR East Series titles just prior to his string of national series triumphs.
The legacy of Don Thomson Jr. as one of the greats in Canadian stock-car racing is already cast in stone, but adding a NASCAR championship ring to his finger certainly would be a crowning moment for his stellar career.
"NASCAR has brought a new dimension to stock car racing in Canada," said Thomson. "I definitely want to add a NASCAR championship to the list."
That desire for success has been evident since the inaugural NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio event at Cayuga Motor Speedway in May 2007. He won the race that every driver entered wanted to win.
"That was a big win," Thomson said. "It was a pretty rough race all because everyone wanted that first one so badly. It's a win that no one will be able to take away from me."
At age 45, Thomson shows no signs of slowing down. So far this season, he has won the pole in four of seven races. He can't pinpoint the reason for his qualifying success other than reaching a comfort level during practice.
"I really don't have a reason why I qualify so well. My team does a great job adjusting the car to the conditions and the track every time out," he said. "I am just able to get a good feel for the car."
In short-track racing, qualifying is of utmost importance. Track position at the beginning of the race can set the tone for the race.
"In the Canadian Tire Series, all of our oval track events have pit stops, so I can't say that it is critical, but to have a clean track in front at the beginning, when tensions are high and everybody is beating on each other, is not a bad place to be," said Thomson.
Being the polesitter, however, does not translate to victories. Earlier this season at SunValley Speedway, Thomson became just the second driver to win a race from the pole in series history and the first to accomplish the feat on an oval track. Andrew Ranger won from the pole last season at Mosport International Raceway, a road course.
Thomson, out of Ayr, Ontario, has led 396 laps this season which is second only to Scott Steckly's 419, but has just the one win at SunValley. Steckly, on the other hand, has just one pole but three wins.
"Like I said, with the pit stops anything can happen and the competition in this series has gotten such that anyone can win starting from anywhere," he said.
Currently second in the championship point standings -- 146 points behind Steckly -- Thomson's line of a win, four top fives and five top 10s in seven starts, ordinarily would be enough to be much closer to the lead, but Steckly's superman routine this season has taken the starch out of the early season race.
"(Steckly) has been on fire this year," Thomson said. "But it's not over yet. I've seen a lot of crazy things over the years. I don't wish anything for him, but if he keeps up the pace he is on, then I'll be the first in line to congratulate him."
The Race: Full Throttle Energy Drink 200
The Place: Mosport Speedway, Bowmanville, Ontario
The Date: Saturday, Aug. 9
The Time: 7 p.m. ET
TV Schedule: TSN, Noon ET, Aug. 17 (delayed)
Track Layout: .500-mile paved oval
Race Purse: $80,292 CAD
2007 Winner: Don Thomson Jr.
2007 Pole: J.R. Fitzpatrick
Schedule: Practice 1:30-2:30 p.m., Time Trials 5 p.m.
Ranger Turns Heads In NASCAR Nationwide Series Debut
In the end, the conditions proved to be less than ideal for Andrew Ranger's NASCAR Nationwide Series debut, but the events transpiring prior to the rain falling on Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve left little doubt as to the youngster's ability to handle any type of racecar.
The 21 year-old out of Roxton Pond, Quebec, posted the eighth-fastest lap in Friday's practice session. And just moments after winning the Canadian Tire Series event in exciting fashion in front of his hometown fans, he qualified the No. 22 Supercuts/Tide/Wal-Mart Dodge 15th.
Before the rains came, Ranger gradually moved forward and inside the top 10. Soon after all the cars were brought to pit road to install the rain tires, Ranger went to work. He turned the fourth-fastest lap under wet conditions and reached fifth place in the running order, causing veteran NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace to sing Ranger's praises on ESPN2's coverage of the race.
A radio malfunction, however, precipitated a series of unscheduled pit stops that erased all of the gained ground and then some. He finished the rain-shortened event in the 29th position.
"I could not see anything and the radio was not working," said Ranger. "Regardless, I am very satisfied with my race because I kept the car on the track until the end and I was able to keep up with the leaders for a good part of the race."
Ranger, once again, will be behind the wheel of the Fitz Motorsports No. 22 Dodge this Saturday for the NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Watkins Glen.
News & Notes
The Race: This event is the eighth of 13 races on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio schedule. It is the series' second visit to the track.
The Procedure: The starting field is 24 cars, including provisionals. The first 19 cars will be determined from two-lap time trials. The remaining five spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 200 laps and cover 100 miles.
The Track: The .500-mile oval shares grounds with Mosport International Raceway, a 2.459-mile road course, a 2.4-kilometer advanced driver and race driver training facility, and a 1.4-kilometer kart track. All told, Mosport is Canada's largest motorsports complex, covering 750 acres. The name Mosport is a contraction of motorsport and is pronounced "MOE-sport." The facility opened in 1961
The Records: The one-lap qualifying record for the Canadian Tire Series is 21.592 seconds (83.364 mph) set by J.R. Fitzpatrick on Aug. 11, 2007. The 200-lap race record is held by Don Thomson Jr. at 1 hour, 43 minutes, 57 seconds set Aug. 11, 2007 for an average speed of 60.317 mph.
A Season Ago: Fitzpatrick started on the pole, but the race was dominated by his Fitzpatrick Motorsports teammate, Thomson, who started the race right behind him in the third position. Thomson went on to lead 181 of the 200 laps, eventually beating Mark Dilley to the finish line by .703 seconds. It was Thomson's second career Canadian Tire Series victory.
NAPA 100 Post-Race Notebook
Ranger Snaps Winless Streak: Defending series champion Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Wal-Mart/Tide Ford) ended a 16-race winless streak with his NAPA 100 victory at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. He had not taken the checkered flag since June 2007 at Mosport International Raceway.
Another Big Crowd: After racing in front of 60,000 fans in Edmonton, the Canadian Tire Series, once again, showed its wares to a crowd estimated to be around the 60,000 mark. Those are, by far, the largest venues on the schedule, but the series has strung together five races with capacity, or near capacity, crowds dating back to the Barrie Speedway event on June 28.
Still Looking: Ranger won the NAPA 100 in a Ford, continuing Dodge's winless streak in NASCAR Canadian Tire Series road-course events. In the seven road races over the two-year span of the series, Ford has won five while Chevrolet has two victories. J.R. Fitzpatrick (No. 84 Fitzpatrick Motorsports Chevrolet) has accounted for both Chevy wins. Ranger and Kerry Micks (No. 02 Beyond Digital Imaging Ford) each have a pair of road-course wins while Alex Tagliani (No. 7 Wal-Mart/Ubisoft Ford) has one for the blue oval contingent. Dodge has one more chance at a road-course win in 2008, at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres on Aug. 17.
Bourque Partners With Mohawk Company: The No. 29 Dodge of Pierre Bourque carried the Mohawk Internet Technologies banner in Montreal. The company is owned and operated by members of the Mohawk Indian Tribe. It is believed to be the tribe's first venture into the world of NASCAR racing.
Traffic Report: Only Scott Steckly (No. 22 Tow Truck in a Box/Schick Dodge) has completed each of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series' 1,158 laps in 2008. He has finished on the podium six times and logged a top-five finish in each of the seven events this year. Don Thomson Jr. (No. 4 Home Hardware Chevrolet) has missed just 12 circuits this season. Steckly has led a series-best 419 laps followed by Thomson with 396 laps led.
Mobil 1 Command Performance of the Race Award: As a reward for his NASCAR Canadian Tire Series victory in Montreal, Ranger collects $1,500 from Mobil 1 for his effort. He also has a win, last season, at Mosport International Raceway to his credit.
Mopar Fast Five: This program awards the top five finishing Dodges in the race. In the NAPA 100, Steckly finished second and thus earned a $2,000 bonus as the top-finishing Dodge. D.J. Kennington (No. 17 Castrol/NPP Dodge) finished fourth overall and was the second-highest finishing Dodge, which earned him $1,250. Picking up $1,000 for finishing as the third-highest Dodge was Mark Dilley (No. 9 Dodge/Leland Industries Dodge). Collecting $500 for placing fourth among the Dodge entrants was Dave Whitlock (No. 39 Dickies/NMT Dodge). Rounding out the top five Dodges was Brad Graham (No. 19 Full Throttle/Challenger Motor Freight Dodge), which pays him $250.
POWERade Power Move: Improving his position the most over the course of the race was Kent Nuhn (No. 18 Interstate Batteries/The Fuel Genie Chevrolet). After starting 29th on the grid, he worked his way forward and finished 15th. As a result, he earned the $1,000 award.
Tow Truck in a Box Free Pass Award: In a new program in 2008, the driver who receives a free pass during the event and has the highest finish wins the award. There was no winner in Edmonton, so this week the award was worth $2,000. David Thorndyke (No. 67 Thorsons EVT Chevrolet) received a free pass and finished the event in the 23rd position.