Race #1 - Calgary Preview

CASCAR Castrol Super Series - National Championship KOMOKA, ON -- The Eastern and Western divisions of the CASCAR Castrol Super Series have been in full swing since the middle of May. The competition has been close, and both points chases...

CASCAR Castrol Super Series - National Championship

KOMOKA, ON -- The Eastern and Western divisions of the CASCAR Castrol Super Series have been in full swing since the middle of May. The competition has been close, and both points chases are very tight. But in the opinion of many of CASCAR's top drivers and teams, it's all been a warm-up for the coveted National championship; the four-race series that commences this weekend at Calgary's Race City Motorsport Park.

Eastern points leader Dave Whitlock is just one of two dozen drivers who are already on their way to Alberta to challenge the best of the west in the two race swing (Calgary: July 24-26 and Edmonton: July 31 - Aug. 2). The Ford Quality Care Taurus driver is the defending winner of the Mopar 300, at Race City, and is returning to Calgary as the reigning CASCAR National champion.

Leading the western greeting party will be Wade Lee, who narrowly lost the National title to Whitlock on the final weekend of the 1997 season. With this year's National crown being determined solely by the results of the two oval and two road course races, Lee is hoping that this will be his year. The GM Goodwrench Pontiac Grand Prix racer is also one of Canada's top road racers and is banking on his ability to go left and right to put him in position to be CASCAR's first-ever western-based National champion.

"The key to this deal, for me anyway, is to be competitive on the ovals to run in the top five cars," said the Calgarian. "I can run there [at Race City], but I have to keep the car together. On the road course, I'm confident that I can run in the top five and keep it together. It shouldn't be as tough as the ovals will be."

If there is one big challenge waiting for Lee on his home oval, at Race City, it will be the bigger fields that will be on hand for the National events. Bolstered by their eastern cousins, the starting grids will have twice the number of CASCAR Late Models as are usually on hand for the Western series races.

"The eastern guys have a bit of an advantage because they've been running in bigger fields, with more traffic, all year long," continued the Western series' points leader. "The western guys just don't have that amount of cars. It'll be a bit of an adjustment; no doubt about it. But it is 'our' track and I'm confident that we can run in the top 5 or 10 on the Race City oval."

Weekend Schedule

The Mopar 500 Race Weekend kicks off Friday evening at Race City. Time trials commence at 6 p.m., with a pair of 100 lap heat races to follow. The Friday night card of racing at the Calgary half-mile oval will set the majority of the starting field for Sunday's 300 lap main.

Another evening of racing follows on Saturday night (7 p.m.). It will lock in the remainder of the grid for Round 1 of the National championship.

On Sunday morning, after all the last-minute preparations are done, Canada's best stock car teams will park their cars on the track for the drivers' autograph session (noon) and driver introductions (1:15 p.m.). The green flag falls on the Mopar 300 at 2 p.m.

PIT NOTES: Western hospitality: On the Monday following the Mopar 300, Eastern driver Kelly Williams will use Wade Lee's Calgary race shop to 'prep' her GM Goodwrench Pontiac Grand Prix for the Aug. 2 Bumper to Bumper Motorsport Classic 300km road course event at the Edmonton City Center Airport. For fans who want to stay on top of the latest results, point standings and series news, CASCAR now has a website that is updated shortly after the conclusion of Super Series events. You can follow the action at http://www.cascar.ca/

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About this article
Series NASCAR Canada
Drivers Dave Whitlock
Teams Williams