NASCAR Canadian Tire Series News & Notes -- Year End * Season Wrap-Up Notebook * Awards Gala Set For Concord * Toyota All-Star Showdown Slated For January Familiar Faces In New Places Highlight 2009 Season Many of the storylines -- ...
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series News & Notes -- Year End
* Season Wrap-Up Notebook
* Awards Gala Set For Concord
* Toyota All-Star Showdown Slated For January
Familiar Faces In New Places Highlight 2009 Season
Many of the storylines -- hotly-contested competition, filled grandstands and exciting finishes -- remained the same, but there were twists and unexpected results as the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 completed its third season of competition.
There were faces in places they had not been before while some returned to familiar spots after some time away.
Perhaps one of the most shocking events of 2009 came to pass just prior to everyone gathering at Quebec's Autodrome St. Eustache for the season opener on May 23 when Dave Whitlock (No. 39 Dickies/NMT Dodge) announced that this season would be his last in the cockpit, putting an end to his 25-year career piloting a race car.
While everyone was still digesting that news and trying to handicap the new season, Whitlock promptly pulled another stunner and picked up his first NASCAR Canadian Tire Series win in that season-opening race in St. Eustache.
The season's second race came at a venue new to the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, but very familiar to the majority of the competitors. For years, Delaware (Ont.) Speedway was home base to CASCAR, the predecessor to NASCAR north of the border. The track, with a new ownership group in place, rolled out the welcome mat for the triumphant return of NASCAR and eventual race winner DJ Kennington (No. 17 Castrol/Mahindra Tractors Dodge), who cut his teeth on the half-mile oval.
On July 12, the series returned to Autodrome St. Eustache for the second time in four events, but it was hardly a routine race. Fans and media flocked to the .4-mile track situated northwest of Montreal as former Formula One and Indy 500 champion Jacques Villeneuve was on hand to make his series debut. The outing proved to be short-lived when he got caught up in a Lap 1 accident that ended his day, but fans get another opportunity to catch Villeneuve later in the year.
The shape of the championship battle changed in the first race of the three-race swing through western Canada and it brought a component new to the series in 2009 to the forefront.
Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Walmart/Tide Ford) won the 2007 series championship with great work on the road courses and solid efforts on the ovals. At SunValley Speedway in Vernon, B.C., Ranger debuted a brand new car powered by a NASCAR spec engine available for use in the series for the first time in 2009. He simply went out and dominated the event by lapping every car in the field but one. Not only was it Ranger's first win on an oval track, it was also the first victory for the new motor program which before season's end, found its way into no less than seven different cars.
That win was the beginning of a stretch that saw Ranger pick up four wins in a span of five races leaving him with a 131-point lead in the standings placing the rest of the contenders in catch-up mode -- a difficult place to be with just four races remaining in the season.
The trip out west ended with a first-time visit to Auto Clearing Motor Speedway in Saskatoon, Sask., for the inaugural NASCAR-sanctioned event in the province. The sellout crowd saw defending series champion Scott Steckly (No. 22 Canadian Tire/Tow Truck in a Box Dodge) overcome a blown motor in practice and a start at the very tail end of the field for his second victory of the season.
The annual visit to northern Quebec for the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres saw the return of Villeneuve to the series -- this time to much better results. With in excess of 30,000 people in attendance, Ranger picked up his third road-course victory of the season in three tries and Villeneuve turned in a fourth-place finish.
The showcase date each year is the companion event with the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. JR Fitzpatrick (No. 84 Schick Chevrolet) denied Ranger's bid to win all four road-course races in 2009 by earning his first victory of the season.
Ranger, however, did return to Victory Lane for a single-season series record sixth time in 2009 at Nova Scotia's Riverside International Speedway which all but sealed his second championship in three seasons.
In the season finale at Kawartha Speedway, Ranger made a play for a seventh win, but Kennington proved to be too tough and took the checkered flag for the second time to share the spotlight in the championship event.
The Event: NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards Gala
The Place: Concord Convention Center Hall, Concord, N.C.
Saturday, Nov. 14
The Time: 7 p.m. ET
Year-End Awards Gala Set In Industry Hub
NASCAR will honor its "stars of tomorrow" and short-track veterans by gathering them in the greater Charlotte area for two special year-end celebrations.
With a special week of activities culminating in the 2009 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NWAAS) Awards Banquet on Friday, Nov. 13, and the new NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards Gala on Saturday, Nov. 14, NASCAR brings its season-ending ceremonies home to the industry hub -- Concord, N.C.
"This is a tremendous opportunity to raise the bar for all of NASCAR's developmental racing series, by bringing the champions from all of our series to the core of much of the motorsports industry," said George Silbermann, managing director of racing operations. "In addition to these two prestigious awards banquets, we are planning a number of special activities for our series champions, for attending track operators and for the industry. We look to take full advantage of what this hub of the stock-car racing industry has to offer."
Both season-end awards banquets will be held in the recently-completed Embassy Suites Hotel Concord Convention Center which is located near the NASCAR Research & Development Center, in proximity to the future NASCAR Hall of Fame complex, as well as the home bases of many of today's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams.
Moving the banquets to the Charlotte area complements the commitment the community has made to the business of NASCAR and the development of the NASCAR Hall of Fame scheduled to open in May 2010.
The NWAAS Awards Banquet will feature weekly racing drivers from top short tracks across the United States and Canada. Invited attendees will include the 2009 NWAAS national champion, NWAAS state and provincial champions, all 58 track champions, the national/state/provincial rokies of the year, the 2009 Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award winner and many others.
The NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Gala will feature the champions and top drivers from all of NASCAR's North American regional touring series including invitees from the NASCAR Camping World Series East, the NASCAR Camping World Series West, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour and the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.
NCATS Notebook: Season Wrap-Up
One For The Books: With six wins this season, Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Walmart/Tide Ford) established a new single-season series record for wins in a season. He also holds the series' all-time mark for victories at nine. His 13 top-10 finishes also set a new series record and he now has 32 finishes inside the top 10 in 37 series career starts.
Victories................. Andrew Ranger, 6
Poles.................... 5 drivers tied at 2
Laps Led................. Andrew Ranger, 711
Races Led................ Andrew Ranger, 9
Laps Completed........... Andrew Ranger, 2,432
Average Finish........... Andrew Ranger, 4.0
Top-Five Finishes........ DJ Kennington, Scott Steckly, 9
Top-10 Finishes......... Andrew Ranger, 13
Chase Style: A popular pastime in NASCAR's premier series -- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series -- is to figure the points standings in both the traditional method and the chase-style format. This year in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, with a four-race chase for the title, Ranger would still have won the championship largely on the power of the 50-point bonus for pre-chase victories. Kerry Micks (No. 02 Beyond Digital Imaging/Royal Distributing Ford) and Mark Dilley (No. 9 Dodge/Leland Industries Dodge) would have followed in second and third.
Mobil 1 Command Performance Driver of the Race: As a reward for his NASCAR Canadian Tire Series second-place finish at Kawartha Speedway, Micks collected $1,500 from Mobil 1 as the Command Performance Driver of the Race. Ranger was the 2009 leader in this category by winning this award six times.
Mopar Quick Three: This program rewards the top three finishing Dodges in the race eligible for the award. In the Z-Line Designs 250 presented by The Dodge Dealers of Ontario and Coca-Cola, race winner DJ Kennington (No. 17 Castrol/Mahindra Tractors Dodge) was the highest-finishing eligible Dodge and thus earned a $2,000 bonus. Ron Beauchamp Jr. (No. 60 Mopar/Mobil 1/Exide Batteries Dodge), who came home in fifth place, was the second-highest finishing eligible Dodge, which earned him a $1,000 award. Picking up $500 for finishing as the third-highest eligible Dodge was Jason Hathaway (No. 3 Snap-on Tools/Vortex Brake Pads Dodge). He finished sixth overall. On the season, Kennington edged out Beauchamp for the Mopar Cup while Scott Steckly (No. 22 Canadian Tire/Tow Truck in a Box Dodge) accumulated enough points to finish third.
Coca-Cola Move of the Race: Improving his position the most over the course of the race in the season finale at Kawartha was Hathaway. He started 20th on the grid before navigating his way to a sixth-place finish. As a result, he earned the $1,000 award from Coca-Cola. In 2009, Steckly gets the nod for the season-ending award over Joey Hanssen (No. 40 Prime Champ Dodge) and Cale Gale (No. 13 Rheem Canada Chevrolet) as all three won the award two times this year.
MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Race: In a new program for 2009, the driver who compiles the most points in a specialized system involving qualifying, race finish and leading laps collects the $1,000 award. Beauchamp, on the power of starting on the pole and leading the most laps in the race, earned the bonus at Kawartha. In the season-long standings, Ranger ran away with the prize by scoring 45 points more than runner-up Kennington.
Up Next: NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown
NASCAR's premier short-track racing showcase, the 2010 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, will be run Jan. 29-30 at the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.).
The seventh running of the event, which brings together the top racers from across North America for the "Daytona 500 of short-track racing," will be highlighted by the 225-lap NASCAR Camping World Series all-star race.
The schedule also includes a 100-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model race and a 75-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model race. Both nights of racing will air live on SPEED as part of a full weekend of racing on SPEED that includes the Rolex 24 at Daytona sports-car event.
The NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown was held in the fall for its first five years. It was moved to January last year to give competitors more time to prepare and also to increase exposure for drivers and teams. The result was an event that had everybody talking. Current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Joey Logano went for the win on the final turn of the final lap and collected race leader Peyton Sellers. Instead of a second straight showdown victory, Logano was penalized for the move and the victory went to Matt Kobyluck, giving him his second career win in the event.
It was just another of a long line of exciting finishes to the all-star race.
Each race winner during the 2009 NASCAR Camping World Series season earned a protected starting spot in the main event. Also, 2009 series champions of NASCAR's regional touring series -- the NASCAR Camping World Series East (Ryan Truex), NASCAR Camping World Series West (Jason Bowles), NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (Donny Lia), NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour (George Brunnhoelzl III), NASCAR Canadian Tire Series (Andrew Ranger), and NASCAR Mexico Series along with the 2009 national champion for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (Philip Morris), have protected starting spots.
The remainder of the starting lineup will be determined through time trials, limited provisionals for NASCAR Camping World Series regulars and the last-chance "Open" race that provides drivers one final chance to make the grid.
New this year, the top five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series state champions -- as determined by the final national standings -- entered in the Late Model race will be eligible for protected starting spots.