Mosport: Round three preview

Strategy More Than Intimidation Is Micks' Style Some say his style is to intimidate on the track. He says it is a desire to win and nothing more. Either way, Kerry Micks (No. 02 Beyond Digital Imaging Ford) is a hard-nosed racer whose experience...

Strategy More Than Intimidation Is Micks' Style

Some say his style is to intimidate on the track. He says it is a desire to win and nothing more. Either way, Kerry Micks (No. 02 Beyond Digital Imaging Ford) is a hard-nosed racer whose experience tells him to use every tool at his disposal to achieve his goals.

"I don't go out there with the thought of being an intimidator or anything like that," said Micks. "I just want to win. It is as simple as that. That's just me."

Racing is the physical act of making the car go fast. However, just as veteran baseball pitchers discover the strategy and art of their business so, too, has the Mt. Albert, Ontario-based driver evolved the mental portion of his game.

"It's a thinking game, too," he said.

Case in point is the season opener at Cayuga Motor Speedway. Pit strategy is often talked about as a difference maker, but the equipment and the competition, more often than not, dictates that line of attack. So, when the caution flag waved at about the halfway point in the race, virtually every driver in the lead pack headed down pit road for tires because the cars needed grip, and seemingly because everyone else did. Micks didn't, though. He stayed out an extra 20 laps. Therefore, when he got new rubber, he was able to more than make up.

"I did lose some ground, but I knew I would be able to work my way back to the front," Micks said.

If not for the dominating performance by Scott Steckly (No. 22 Erb Group/Tow Truck in a Box Dodge), Micks' plan may have resulted in a win, but a solid runner-up performance and jump start in the point standings was produced.

It's easy to get the sense that Micks spent a good portion of the off season sitting in a quiet room, mulling his and his equipment's performance race by race, considering every factor to gain an edge.

"There's going to be a lot of that this year from me. I have spent some time thinking about it," Micks said. "I know what the tires, motor and everything else is capable of. Our level of competition is so tight, it's going to be the little things that make a difference. No doubt about it."

Also making Micks a title contender is his ability to be strong on both road courses and ovals. Nearly a third of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series schedule is made up of road races meaning that success hangs in the balance.

He won two of the four road events in 2007, but mechanical problems unraveled his ability to contend in the other two.

"Last year at Mosport, we had a rear end gear problem. Once we got that sorted out, it was a difference of night and day," he stated.

Last year, Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Wal-Mart/Tide Ford) won the Mosport road race and set the tone for his season, which culminated in a series championship.

Micks agrees that a quick start to the season is paramount to success come season's end.

"There's no doubt that doing well early is a huge factor," he said. "Things are going to go wrong at some point. Everyone is going to have that, but if you can hold that off as long as possible, then, hopefully, there is enough cushion to absorb it."

Meanwhile, Micks will continue to race each and every competitor hard with no let-up, all the while sitting in that quiet room, contemplating the softer nuances of the sport, looking for the littlest of advantages he can use in his favor.

***

The Race: Dickies 200 presented by Lucas Oil

The Place: Mosport Int'l. Raceway, Bowmanville, Ont.
The Date: Sunday, June 15

The Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
TV Schedule: Noon, June 29 (delayed)

Track Layout: 2.459-mile road course
Race Purse: $68,511 CAD

2006 Winner: Andrew Ranger
2006 Pole: Andrew Ranger

Schedule: Saturday: Practice 10:35 a.m. - 12:15 p.m., Time Trials 3:45 p.m.

***

Brown Looks To The Future With Son Behind The Wheel

With Father's Day on the horizon, Doug Brown (No. 10 Haldex Dodge) can foresee the day, in the not too distant future, that his son, Mitchell, will climb into the seat of his NASCAR Canadian Tire Series ride.

At 15 years of age, Mitchell began his racing career last year. He won a mini-stock feature last month on the dirt track of Oshweken (Ont.) Speedway.

"I'm 44 and not getting any younger," said Brown. "We've got a great sponsor in Haldex and to keep that going with my son in the car is definitely the way we're leaning right now. He's a bright kid and has really picked up on things in and out of the car."

Brown, as a second generation racer, knows the game and the right time to make the transition.

"We're going to test him at Cayuga tomorrow on asphalt in a sportsman-class car and see how that goes," said the elder Brown. "They are running that class on the oval at Mosport when we are there this weekend. I don't know if we'll get him into that race, but if the test goes well, we might."

Brown's Canadian Tire Series program, racing out of Brantford, Ont., will look this weekend for a reversal of fortune. The 2007 season was full of bad luck and this season did not get started much better.

Just 10 laps into the season opener at Cayuga Motor Speedway, a panhard bar mount broke leading to behind-the-wall repairs and could only muster a 21st-place finish.

"It's just been a bunch of things that we can't control, but we're still positive," he said. "The Haldex folks have been great in helping us out. We'll get it turned around."

News & Notes

The Race: This event is the second of 13 races on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio schedule. It is the second visit to the track for the Canadian Tire Series.

The Procedure: The starting field is 34 cars, including provisionals. The first 29 cars will qualify through NASCAR Road Race Style time trials. There will be two qualifying groups based on practice times. The remaining five spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 51 laps covering 200 kilometers (124.3 miles).

The Track: Mosport International Raceway is Canada's largest motorsports complex. The 750-acre, multi-track facility is located within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), north of Bowmanville, Ont. Mosport features a 4-kilometer road course; a .500-mile, paved oval (Mosport Speedway); a 2.4-kilometer advanced driver and race driver training facility. And a 1.4-kilometer kart track. The facility opened in 1961 and has hosted stock car, Formula 1 and IndyCar events over the years. The road-course track was resurfaced in 2000 and widened to 40 feet.

The Records: Andrew Ranger holds both the qualifying and race records for Mosport Int'l Raceway. Qualifying: June 16, 2007, 103.614 mph, 85.436 seconds; Race: June 17, 2007, 86.838 mph, 1 hour, 26 minutes, 39 seconds.

Weekend of Racing: The Dickies 200 presented by Lucas Oil is part of the Sunoco Ultra 94 Father's Day Doubleheader Weekend at Mosport. In addition to the Canadian Tire Series, the Grand-Am KONI Challenge (GS and ST classes), Ford Racing Mustang Challenge, Castrol Canadian Touring Championship, Skip Barber BF Goodrich National and Ontario Formula Ford Challenge will be on the track offering racing of all types for the weekend extravaganza.

Autodrome St. Eustache Event Re-Scheduled

The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio event at Autodrome St. Eustache in Quebec has been re-scheduled to July 5.

Inclement weather in the Montreal area on Saturday, May 31 and Sunday, June 1 allowed drivers only an abbreviated practice session on Sunday morning. The July 5 event will include the full schedule of events with a practice session and time trials prior to the running of the Kodak 250.

The race slots in one week after the Canadian Tire Series visits Barrie (Ont.) Speedway and two weeks prior to the two-race western swing to SunValley Speedway in Vernon, B.C., and the Rexall Edmonton Indy, slated for July 19 and 26, respectively.

The airdate for TSN's coverage of this event is slated for noon ET on Saturday, July 12.

A Look Back: Ranger's Road To The Championship Began At Mosport

With just a pair of stock car stock car races under his belt, Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Wal-Mart/Tide Ford) made his mark on NASCAR Canadian Tire Series history a year ago at Mosport International Raceway.

Although only 21 years old, the Roxton Pond, Que., driver had plenty of experience on twisting, turning road courses--just not in a stock car.

He demonstrated his prowess behind the wheel right out of the gate by grabbing the pole position during time trials, but that advantage was short lived.

Still not well-versed in NASCAR race procedures, the former Champ Car standout jumped the initial race start and was penalized by race officials with a pass-through penalty, which left him well behind race leader J.R. Fitzpatrick. Unfortunately, though, that was not the only rookie mistake he would have to overcome.

Laps later when making a pit stop, Ranger stopped his Ford Fusion too close to the pit wall, leaving the jack man very little room to hoist the right side of the car. The error virtually erased all of the ground he made up following the penalty.

Undeterred, Ranger went about the business of skillfully working his way through traffic, passing cars as if they were standing still. It was difficult to tell whether the car, which seemed to be on a rail, was that good or the driver possessed an ability rarely found, but much in demand. It was probably a combination of the two, further demonstrated in the other three road course events in which he was in contention to win right to the finish line. He finished second in all three, but it was that framework on which his title was built.

After suffering through the penalty and bad pit stop in the Mosport race, Ranger was able to track down and pass Fitzpatrick at the hair-pinned Turn 5 on Lap 42.

From there, it was a matter of not making any further mistakes, which he did not. He cruised to the victory nearly two seconds ahead of Fitzpatrick.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Canada
Drivers Kerry Micks , Scott Steckly , Skip Barber , Doug Brown , Andrew Ranger , J.R. Fitzpatrick