NASCAR Home Tracks Spotlight: Sun Valley Speedway Kodak 250 Post-Race Notes Jason White Pioneers Way For Western Drivers Being the first to do something is rarely the easiest. Just ask Christopher Columbus or Lewis and Clark. Those gentlemen...
NASCAR Home Tracks Spotlight: Sun Valley Speedway
Kodak 250 Post-Race Notes
Jason White Pioneers Way For Western Drivers
Being the first to do something is rarely the easiest. Just ask Christopher Columbus or Lewis and Clark. Those gentlemen pioneered paths westward against conventional wisdom. Jason White (No. 21 A&W/Zimmer-Wheaton GM Chevrolet), too, is going against the grain. Only his road is eastward bound in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio. White's endeavor is not the life and death, fraught with peril propositions as those of Columbus and Lewis and Clark, but the result of clearing the way for others to follow is just the same.
The heart of the Canadian Tire Series lies in Ontario just as the bulk of NASCAR team operations in the United States reside in North Carolina. White, however, believes teams from other points in Canada can and will be competitive on a full-season basis.
"It hasn't been and probably never will be easy, but with the desire and the right sponsorship package, I think it will become more commonplace," said White.
Last year in the series' first year, the B.C.-based team raced in four events -- the two western Canadian dates in Vernon, B.C., and Edmonton along with the transcontinental trek to Antigonish, N.S., with a stop at Kawartha Speedway on the return trip.
Before embarking on the long haul to Nova Scotia's Riverside International Speedway last September, White announced his intent to run a full Canadian Tire Series schedule in 2008 despite the fact that 11 of 13 races are more than 4,000 kilometers from home. With four of those 13 events in the book -- so far, so good. But there are plenty more hurdles to clear.
"I don't know if we are going to make it or not," White said. "We are every bit as committed today as we were six months ago."
Rising travel costs has been the biggest budget buster. For the Ontario and Quebec races, White has made arrangements to keep the car and hauler in Ontario, but he and the team must travel from B.C. for each event.
"If we didn't keep the car in Ontario, it would be close to impossible," he said. "The logistics of getting everyone from here to there has been the biggest thing."
White's sponsorship package has a new found friend in the A&W Cruisin' The Dub campaign which may be just what the doctor ordered.
"We've partnered up with them for a few races, but it could turn into something more. They are based in Vancouver and do plenty of business in the east. I think it is a great match and hope they do, too."
This week is a home game at SunValley Speedway in Vernon, B.C., and no one is happier than White.
"It will be great to race in front of our home fans and we'll all be able to take a deep breath and relax. Heck, the next one in Edmonton, which used to seem like a long trip, will seem like it's next door."
White wears many hats in addition to his racing helmet. The former world-class speed skier is, among other things, a fund raiser and travel coordinator. Despite being pulled in many directions, he has performed well on the track. He currently holds 14th place in the championship point standings and is only 19 points out of the top 10.
"Our goal at the beginning of the season was to finish inside the top 10 in points and we're right there," he said. "I know this can be done and if others follow us down the road, then we'll all be that much better."
The Race: A&W Cruisin' The Dub 300
The Place: SunValley Speedway, Vernon, B.C.
The Date: July 19
The Time: 7:55 p.m. PT
TV Schedule: TSN, Noon ET, July 27 (delayed)
Track Layout: .500-mile tri-oval
Race Purse: $85,442 CAD
2007 Winner: J.R. Fitzpatrick
2007 Pole: Don Thomson Jr.
Schedule: Saturday: Practice 12:30-2:30 p.m., Time Trials 5 p.m.
Help Is Never More Than A Phone Call Away For Gaunt
Sometimes it's a particular question, but more often than not it's a sounding board to bounce ideas off. That's how John Gaunt (No. 12 Centennial Chrysler Dodge) uses his brother, Marty, and his friends.
Marty Gaunt is vice president of Bill Davis Racing, which fields teams in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
"Marty is in the business end of things and that comes in handy sometimes, but it's the guys in the shop that we can turn to once in a while," says Gaunt. "Our equipment and their equipment is pretty different, but if we want to bounce some ideas off of them, they're kind of handy that way. It's also a great way to stay on top of the technology in the sport. Those guys have it all down there."
Many Canadian Tire Series teams have connections, one way or another, to NASCAR's top three series, but Gaunt's blood bond goes right to the top in one of racing's elite teams.
"Marty went down there when Peter Gibbons (No. 1 Canadian Tire/Mobil Super Chevrolet) moved his whole program to North Carolina," said the driver out of Barrie, Ontario. "He got a (NASCAR Sprint Cup Series) opportunity with Jeremy Mayfield back in 1996 and things have gone pretty well for him. He just started with Bill Davis Racing this year."
The 2008 season has not started the way Gaunt envisioned. His best performance has been an 11th-place effort at Cayuga Motor Speedway and currently sits 19th in the point standings.
"We've struggled, no doubt about it," said Gaunt. "It's been a lot of the 'wrong place at the wrong time' things for us. We'll catch a break here before too long and get on a run of good luck."
News & Notes
The Race: This event is the fifth of 13 races on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio schedule. It is the series' second visit to the track.
The Procedure: The starting field is 22 cars, including provisionals. The first 19 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials. The remaining three spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 300 laps (150 miles).
The Track: The .500-mile banked tri-oval is 55 feet wide on the front and back straights and 60 feet wide in the turns. Banking in Turns 1 and 2 is 11 degrees while Turns 3 and 4 are banked at 14 degrees. The facility has seating for 7,500 spectators which includes corporate hospitality facilities and VIP suites.
Longest Race: The 150-mile race at SunValley Speedway is the longest race in terms of distance on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series schedule.
Unfinished Business?: Scott Steckly (No. 22 Tow Truck in a Box/Erb Group Dodge) has made Victory Lane a commuter stop this season with three wins in four outings, but losing by 0.029 seconds to J.R. Fitzpatrick (No. 84 Fitzpatrick Motorsports Chevrolet) last season has the championship points leader hungry for a SunValley triumph.
Also On Tap: SunValley Speedway street stocks, the premier NASCAR Whelen All-American Series division at the track, will also be competing in a 50-lap feature.
Kodak 250 Post-Race Notebook
Top Of The Heap: With his third win in 2008, Scott Steckly (No. 22 Tow Truck in a Box/Erb Group Dodge) now has four career NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio victories. He now stands alone atop the all-time victories list.
Quebec Contingent: Five Quebec drivers were entered in the Kodak 250. Defending series champion Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Wal-Mart/Tide Ford) led the way with a fourth-place finish. Patrick Laperle (No. 91 MTL Autoprix.com Chevrolet) made his series debut and logged an eighth-place finish. The night was not as productive for Andre Coursol (No. 5 Carquest Canada Chevrolet) and eight-time AMA Superbike champion Miguel Duhamel (No. 8 Gain/Habitations Eric Alary Chevrolet) who finished 14th and 19th, respectively. Alex Tagliani's (No. 7 Wal-Mart/Ubisoft Ford) night was a total loss after blowing a motor just 22 laps into the race and finishing 24th.
More Steckly Numbers: Steckly is the only Canadian Tire Series driver to complete each of the 803 laps this season. Of those, he has led 350 of them. In leading over 43 percent of the laps, the Milverton, Ontario driver has opened up a 113-point lead in the championship point standings over D.J. Kennington (No. 17 Castrol/NPP Dodge).
Mobil 1 Command Performance of the Race Award: As a reward for his NASCAR Canadian Tire Series victory in St. Eustache, Steckly collects $1,500 from Mobil 1 for his effort. He also has wins at Barrie Speedway and Cayuga Motor Speedway to his credit this season.
Mopar Fast Five: This program awards the top five finishing Dodges in the race. In the Kodak 250, Steckly was the highest-finishing Dodge and thus earned a $2,000 bonus. Kennington finished second overall and was the second-highest finishing Dodge, which earned him $1,250. Picking up $1,000 for finishing as the third-highest Dodge was Ron Beauchamp Jr. (No. 60 Mopar/Mobil 1 Dodge). Collecting $500 for placing fourth among the Dodge entrants was Brad Graham (No. 19 Full Throttle Energy Drink Dodge). Rounding out the top five Dodges was Doug Brown (No. 10 Haldex Dodge), which pays him $250.
POWERade Power Move: Laperle earned the $1,000 POWERade bonus for improving his position the most over the course of the race. He started 17th on the grid and worked his way to a finish of eighth.
Tow Truck in a Box Free Pass Award: In a new program in 2008, the driver who receives a free pass during the event and has the highest finish earns $1,000. Ranger made the most of his opportunity to get back on the lead lap evidenced by his fourth-place finish.
NASCAR Home Tracks: SunValley's Street Stocks Provide Plenty Of Excitement
The premier division of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at SunValley Speedway are the street stocks and they put on a spirited show each time out.
The competition is so tight that reigning and four-time track champion Les "Butch" Hein has been held winless in six starts this season.
Last season's runner-up, Lee Lindstrom holds an eight-point lead over Dave Haworth. Lindstrom has one win and has finished in the top five in all six event this year. Haworth has a pair of wins. Matthew Stephenson has visited Victory Lane three times and is in fourth place. Hein is in third, 38 points behind the leader. All four drivers are ranked among the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series top 500 with Haworth registering at 248th. Overall in the series, only one driver with six or fewer starts is ranked above Haworth.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series serves as the foundation of NASCAR -- grassroots racing across the United States and Canada. Whelen Engineering, a leading manufacturer of automotive, aviation, industrial and emergency vehicle lighting, is the series sponsor. More than 10,000 drivers compete at NASCAR-sanctioned short tracks throughout both countries.
The short-track racing program in NASCAR was founded in 1982. Since its inception, the series has been a successful starting point for the careers of many top drivers. NASCAR stars Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Kurt and Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Travis Kvapil, Bobby Labonte, Jamie McMurray and Brian Vickers all began their careers in this series.