LONDON, ON - The Castrol Super Series opens its 2001 season this weekend at Delaware Speedway. The Mopar Parts 250 is the first of 12 series races that will see teams racing - from Quebec to British Columbia - in search of the coveted Castrol ...
LONDON, ON - The Castrol Super Series opens its 2001 season this weekend at Delaware Speedway. The Mopar Parts 250 is the first of 12 series races that will see teams racing - from Quebec to British Columbia - in search of the coveted Castrol Cup.
Peter Gibbons of Stouffville, ON comes into the event in search of his third consecutive overall Castrol Super Series championship. The Canadian Tire Chevy driver has been dominant at times during the past two seasons, and is returning to Delaware to race, for the first time since securing his second the National crown, last September.
If there was a driver who was able to challenge Gibbons last season, it was two-time Super Series East champ Don Thomson Jr. The Home Hardware Chevy driver is based in Ayr, ON and is determined to climb the final rung on the Castrol championship ladder. Thomson enters the season on the heels of two consecutive Eastern titles.
This season, the series' format has changed significantly. Thomson's 2000 Eastern title will be the tour's last, as the Super Series East was consolidated into a 12-race cross-country chase for 2001.
If there is a list of favourites for this weekend's Mopar Parts 250 at Delaware, it has to include Barrie, ON racer Al Turner. In last year's opening event at Delaware, Turner took his Blue Streak Intrepid onto the track for the DaimlerChrysler offering's inaugural outing... and stunned everyone by winning the race. In doing so, Turner became the first stock car driver to win a major series race in the new Intrepid.
Turner picked up two more victories last summer - in New Brunswick and at Cayuga Speedway - before returning to Delaware for the season-ending Labour Day race. Turner repeated the trick by winning the CARQUEST 300 in what was an emotional conclusion to the 2000 Castrol Cup. Turner's son James underwent emergency back surgery during the season and when the two appeared together on the victory podium at Delaware, there wasn't a dry eye at the track.
Turning to this year's Mopar Parts 250, Turner is looking forward to another strong run at the 5/8-mile, London-area oval. Asked about his chances for a third straight win at Delaware, Turner replied, "I'm not an overconfident person. My philosophy is to race hard, all day, and put yourself in position to win with 50 laps to go. If you can be there enough times, you'll get your chance to win a share of races. To say that I think we can win right out of the box again this year, it's not going to be easy." With 41 drivers registered for the race so far, Turner's assessment of the situation is correct.
Another driver to watch this weekend at Delaware is a newcomer from the west. Kevin Dowler won the CASCAR Castrol Super Series West championship last season and has relocated his racing team to Caistor Centre, ON. It's from there he'll mount his challenge to wrestle the Castrol Cup from Gibbons' mantle. Dowler's Quality Care Taurus looked set to win last year's Mopar Parts 250 before mechanical woes dropped him from contention.
But Dowler bounced back to collect several victories on his way to the Western championship. Proving he's serious about 2001, he won that tour's first race of the season, on Saturday night, at Sun Valley Motor Speedway in Vernon, BC.
DELAWARE SCHEDULE: The Mopar Parts 250 Weekend starts Friday night with a regular racing show at Delaware Speedway, featuring Street Stocks, Trucks, Dwarf Cars and a Rod & Custom Car show (Gates open at 6:00 p.m., Racing at 8). The Castrol Super Series takes to the track Saturday night for time trials and qualifying. They'll be joined on the card by the CASCAR Open Wheels Modifieds and the Canadian Vintage Modifieds (Gates open at 5:00 p.m., Time Trials at 6, Racing at 7). Spectator gates open for Sunday's Mopar Parts 250 at 11:00 a.m. The Autograph Session starts soon after, with a CASCAR Junior Race serving as the lead-in to the 250 lap main event, which is scheduled to commence at 2:00 p.m. For more information contact CASCAR at (519) 641-1214.
SCHOOL DAYS: This weekend will mark an important point in Castrol's new 'GTX Top Tech' program. John Bax of Chatham, ON and Derick Hebert of London, ON have been selected - along with their teachers - to be in the pit of #17 Castrol Syntec Intrepid driver DJ Kennington for the Mopar Parts 250. The program is designed to recognize high school students who excel in their 'shop class', while at the same time, introducing them and their classmates to the Castrol Super Series.
"Castrol is really excited about this program," said Kara Zavitz, Consumer Marketing Manager for Castrol Canada. "It's not often that we get an opportunity to reward students for their hard work and give them a chance to experience a real-world situation while making it fun and memorable." The goal of the 'GTX Top Tech' program is to allow students to experience, firsthand, the reality of putting their automotive and mechanical skills to use in practical applications. The program will take place in 12 cities across Canada.
To be considered for the 'Castrol GTX Top Tech' program, students must be nominated by their shop teacher. The teacher must complete a nomination form explaining why the student deserves this unique honour. To receive nomination forms, please call 1-888-CASTROL.