CASCAR's Finest Celebrate 2001 Season LONDON, ON - The 2001 Castrol Super Series banquet took place on Saturday night in London, Ontario. The black-tie affair celebrated the achievements of the Series' top performing drivers and teams. It also...
CASCAR's Finest Celebrate 2001 Season
LONDON, ON - The 2001 Castrol Super Series banquet took place on Saturday night in London, Ontario. The black-tie affair celebrated the achievements of the Series' top performing drivers and teams. It also gave everyone associated with Canada's elite racing series an opportunity to look back upon what was arguably the most exciting and competitive season in CASCAR's history.
Brought together to celebrate those who distinguished themselves on the track in 2001, the drivers, families, teams, sponsors, race officials and track promoters congregated at the elegantly decorated ballroom of London's Best Western Lamplighter Inn. During the evening, those in attendance also honoured the many corporations and individuals who helped CASCAR to put behind it the air of uncertainty that existed prior to the start of the 2001 season.
First time National champion Don Thomson Jr. was the centre of attention on Saturday night, collecting the lion's share of awards and money. When he accepted the Castrol Cup at the end of the awards presentation portion of the evening, it was the culmination of the #4 Home Hardware Chevy driver's long-held racing dreams.
"I don't know how I can ever thank John Fitzpatrick for all he's done for me," said Thomson of his team owner / teammate, who gave Thomson the tools required to compete for, and win, Canada's most coveted racing trophy. "He's given me the opportunity of a lifetime and I'm forever thankful." Thomson went on to credit his team, pit crew, sponsors, CASCAR and everyone associated with the series for making his championship such a special achievement. He concluded by offering a heartfelt thanks to his 'better half', Teresa, for her continued support of his racing efforts.
CASCAR West champion Carl Harr came from Edmonton to be recognized for winning his first CASCAR championship. Harr is a longtime supporter of the sanctioning body and was optimistic about the prospects of a resurgence of CASCAR in western Canada.
Robbie Thompson, who won a close-fought battle for the Gates Rookie of the Year Award over fellow first year Castrol Super Series driver Teri MacDonald-Cadieux, thanked his team owner John Logel, as well as his father, his crew and his other sponsors, before dedicating the award to the late Don Biederman. 'Daytona' Don was one of Canada's best ever stock car drivers and was close to the Thompson family during his glory days in the sport.
Although the main purpose of the evening was to celebrate the 2001 season, CASCAR owner Tony Novotny took a moment to look ahead to 2002. Novotny announced the dates for a 12-race series, starting May 19 at Delaware Speedway and concluding at the same half-mile facility on Sept. 29. In between, the series will wind through Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia and will again feature events at the high-profile Toronto and Vancouver Molson Indy weekends. Novotny also recognized the strong support of the series' many sponsors and teams in overcoming the period of adversity that saw him return to the helm of the sanctioning body he created over two decades ago.
Offering a teaser of what could very well be the highlight of the 2002 Canadian motorsport season, Novotny hinted that negotiations are currently underway with five prominent NASCAR Winston Cup drivers that could see them participate in a 'Twin 50 plus 100 laps' CASCAR Super Series race at Cayuga Speedway on Sunday, June 30, during an 'off-weekend' for the Winston Cup tour. The names of the drivers were not released, however, pending the finalization of negotiations.
Regarding the future participation of Castrol, the longtime title sponsor of CASCAR's Super Series, company representative Craig Hill was in attendance and said, "Castrol is encouraged by the 2001 racing season and is optimistic about CASCAR's future." According to Hill, who is a member of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame, negotiations between Castrol and Novotny are still taking place. And although he didn't confirm that Castrol would be back as the primary sponsor in 2002, Hill did say, "Things can be settled shortly. You can expect to see us back."