NASCAR CANADIAN TIRE SERIES PRESENTED BY SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO NEWS & NOTES -- FULL THROTTLE ENERGY DRINK 200 presented by CANADIAN SHIELD ANTICRIME RESPONSE CORPORATION * Graham Looking Forward To Mosport Speedway Race * NAPA AUTOPRO 100 ...
NASCAR CANADIAN TIRE SERIES PRESENTED BY SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO NEWS & NOTES -- FULL THROTTLE ENERGY DRINK 200 presented by CANADIAN SHIELD ANTICRIME RESPONSE CORPORATION
* Graham Looking Forward To Mosport Speedway Race
* NAPA AUTOPRO 100 Post-Race Notes
* A Quick Return To Oval Racing
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 7, 2007) -- Making left-hand turns exclusively is a welcoming thought for Brad Graham (No. 19 Full Throttle Energy Drink/Challenger Freight Dodge).
Normally, road course racing proves to be a good diversion from oval-course racing, but for NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio drivers, it is the other way around. The series is in a stretch of four races of which three are road course events. The oval race inside this recent span comes this Saturday on the 1/2-mile track at Mosport Speedway near Bowmanville, Ontario.
"I am definitely looking forward to making left-hand turns only," said Graham.
He freely admits that road racing is not his forte, despite his best two finishes of the season having been a 10th at Mosport International Speedway and a ninth-place effort at the Rexall Grand Prix Edmonton.
"It's kind of hard to explain, but that's the way it has worked out this season," said Graham. "We've just had some bad luck in the oval races so far this season."
Graham, 33, is shaking the bugs out of a brand new racecar this season, which can often lead to new and innovative ways to find the garage area during events.
"We've got a great car, but the little things have caught us a few times," he said. "I think we should have all the kinks worked out of it now."
The timing could not be better for Graham, racing out of Glencoe, Ontario. Five of the final six events on the 2007 schedule come on traditional oval courses, where he feels his program is better suited at this point. The lone road course event left is the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres, Aug. 17-19.
Even with the sub-par performance on the ovals and working on an improving road course program, Graham still finds himself holding the 12th position in the championship point standings and just 30 points out of the eighth.
"All things considered, we're not in too bad of shape," said Graham. "We need to finish strong."
The level of competition has always been stout in Canada's top stock car racing series, but this year, with the addition of NASCAR to the equation, it may have become a little fiercer. Graham feels that many of the seasoned veterans have stepped up their programs which has had a trickle down effect on the rest of the competitors.
"There has always been solid competition in Canadian stock car racing. The veteran guys like (Don Thomson Jr.) and Peter Gibbons, just to name two, are really getting after it this year," Graham said. "Then, you add in the likes of (J.R.) Fitzpatrick and Andrew Ranger. It's a solid group."
But the business at hand is the Full Throttle Energy Drink 200 presented by Canadian Shield Anticrime Response Corporation. Graham also carries the Full Throttle colors on his Dodge Charger that might just provide him that extra motivation for his first top five of the season.
"The Full Throttle and Coca-Cola people have been fantastic to work with and I'd like nothing more than to get to victory lane for them this Saturday," Graham said. "It's time for us to get moving toward some top-five and podium finishes."
The track at Mosport Speedway is a known quantity to many of the series drivers. The CASCAR Super Series, predecessor to the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, had visited the track on a number of occasions. It is a relatively flat track with differing sets of turns at each end. Turn two provides an excellent passing zone, while turns three and four are more sweeping in nature. Pit road can be crowded and the sunset can be a problem.
"The best opportunity to pass comes in getting out of turn two, but there is a little bump to deal with there. The other end has momentum turns," said Graham. "Track position is always important in short track racing, but qualifying well in this race will help with pit stall selection. It can be very busy in there, so I figure that some teams will try and use a short pit strategy. Another factor can be the sunset. If it is a clear day, then the sun makes it hard for a while down in three and four."
Graham is undoubtedly happy to be back on an oval, albeit just for one week, but look for him to make the most of it and use the opportunity to thank his sponsor in person.
"I'm not at all happy with our performance on the ovals this year," he said. "This race gives us a great chance to get some momentum built up for the homestretch of the season. What could be better than picking up our first win in front of our sponsor?"
NAPA AUTOPRO 100 Post-Race Notes
* Final lap excitement continues ... For the third consecutive NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race, the winner made a thrilling last-lap pass for the victory. At Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Kerry Micks (No. 02 Beyond Digital Imaging Ford) was able to work past Ranger (No. 27 Wal-Mart/Tide Ford) on the turns just prior to the long straightaway heading to the checkers. Fitzpatrick (No. 84 Milwaukee Electric Tools Chevrolet) provided the excitement in the prior two. At SunValley Speedway in Vernon, British Columbia, on July 15, he dashed to the outside of Scott Steckly (No. 22 Erb Group Dodge) for the win. A week later at the Rexall Grand Prix Edmonton, Ranger's car slid to the outside on a turn, allowing Fitzpatrick to pass on the inside for the triumph.
* Chevy leads the way ... Ford picked up its second win of the season courtesy of Micks, but Chevrolet continues to lead the Canadian Tire Series manufacturer's standings. Chevy, with 43 points, has three wins in six events this season -- two by Fitzpatrick and one by Don Thomson Jr. (No. 4 Home Hardware Chevrolet). Ford, with two victories -- Micks and Ranger -- ranks second with 36 points. Dodge is just off that pace with 35 points and has a win to its credit at the hands of D.J. Kennington (No. 17 Castrol/Krispy Kreme Dodge).
* Mobil 1 Oil "Command Performance of the Race" Award ... As a reward for his NASCAR Canadian Tire Series victory at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Micks collects $1,500 from Mobil 1 as a reward for his effort. It was his first NASCAR and Canadian Tire Series win.
* Mopar Fast Five ... This program awards the top-five finishing Dodges in the race. In the NAPA AUTOPRO 100, the Dodge of Kennington was the top finisher and was awarded $2,000 for his fourth-place showing. Steckly finished fifth overall, but was the second-highest finishing Dodge, which earned him $1,250. Ranked third among the Dodge entrants was Dave Whitlock (No. 39 Dickies/Hamilton Tiger-Cats Dodge), who logged an 11th-place finish. The fourth and fifth-highest finishing Dodges were those of Pierre Bourque (No. 29 DRIVING.CA/Conservative Party of Canada Dodge) and Joey McColm (No. 50 ATTO Insurance Dodge). They finished 12th and 13th, respectively.
* Another big crowd for Canadian Tire Series ... It's four and counting for the Canadian Tire Series. For four straight races, the series has raced in front of capacity or near-capacity crowds. This past weekend in Montreal, over 130,000 fans migrated onto Île Notre Dame to see the racing action over the two-day event. Prior to that, the Canadian Tire Series also performed for large crowds in Edmonton, Vernon, British Columbia and Barrie, Ontario.
* In case you missed it ... For anyone unable to be on hand last Saturday for the NAPA AUTOPRO 100 or who did not catch the live coverage on RDS. TSN and TSN HD will air coverage of the race on Saturday, Aug. 18 at noon Eastern time.
FULL THROTTLE ENERGY DRINK 200 NEWS & NOTES
* The race ... This event is the seventh race for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio in 2007. The race on the oval of Mosport Speedway breaks a stretch of road course racing for the series. The last two events on the schedule have come on the road/street courses in Edmonton and Montreal. Next week, the Canadian Tire Series wraps up the road course portion of its schedule at Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres in Quebec.
* The track ... Mosport Speedway is a flat 1/2-mile oval that shares the same complex as Mosport International Raceway, a road course track that the series visited earlier this season, with Ranger picking up his first NASCAR victory.
* One-day show ... Canadian Tire Series drivers and teams will need to adjust their schedules for this Saturday's race. The last three races have been multi-day events with practice, qualifying and the race coming on different days. For the Full Throttle Energy Drink 200 presented by Canadian Shield, all of those pieces of the puzzle will come on a single day, Aug. 11.
* A long journey for Jason White ... While Jason White (No. 21 Mormak Equipment/Twin Anchors Houseboats Chevrolet) will not be on hand for this Saturday's race at Mosport Speedway, he does have plans to trek eastward later in the season from his Sun Peaks, British Columbia base of operations. The nearly 7,500-mile round trip will allow him to participate in two series events, the Sept. 15 Atlantic Dodge Dealers 300 at Riverside Speedway in Antigonish, Nova Scotia and the season-ending Dodge Dealers of Ontario Dodge Charger 250 at Kawartha Speedway in Peterborough, Ontario on Sept. 23.
* Ticket information ... For more information about tickets for the Full Throttle Energy Drink 200 presented by Canadian Shield, call the Mosport Hotline at 1-800-866-1072 (Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET) or visit online at www.mosport.com. Tickets are also available at TicketMaster.
What: Full Throttle Energy Drink 200 presented by Canadian Shield, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Race # 7.
Where: Mosport Speedway, Bowmanville, Ontario.
When: 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 11.
Track layout: 1/2-mile oval.
Distance: 200 Laps, 100 miles.
Posted Awards: $66,949 CAD
2006 winner: Inaugural event.
2006 polesitter: Inaugural event.
Records: To be established in inaugural event.
Pre-race schedule: Practice, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Qualifying, 4 p.m. Note: All times subject to change.
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Top 10: 1. Andrew Ranger 993; 2. D.J. Kennington 919; 3. Peter Gibbons 918; 4. Don Thomson, Jr. 890; 5. J.R. Fitzpatrick 885; 6. Mark Dilley 853; 7. Kerry Micks 830; 8. Dave Whitlock 787; 9. Derek Lynch 778; 10. Jason Hathaway 777.