TORONTO, ON - Saturday afternoon's Avenue ACDelco 100 at the Toronto Indy will mark the fifth time that the CASCAR Super Series has been part of one of Canada's biggest racing weekends. The combination of talented, homegrown drivers competing in...
TORONTO, ON - Saturday afternoon's Avenue ACDelco 100 at the Toronto Indy will mark the fifth time that the CASCAR Super Series has been part of one of Canada's biggest racing weekends. The combination of talented, homegrown drivers competing in closely-matched late model stock cars is a definite weekend highlight for race fans who flock to the 11-turn Exhibition Place temporary street circuit, on Toronto's lakeshore.
This year's CASCAR race will offer a 'rubber match', of sorts, for a pair of skilled road racers. In the four previous CASCAR outings on the streets of Toronto, only two drivers have made the trip to victory lane. Robin Buck won the inaugural CASCAR Indy race, back in 1999, and did the trick again in 2001.
Kevin Dowler was victorious in 2000. And last year, the Edmonton, AB racer started on the back row of the grid after his engine broke during qualifying. Using driving skill and well-timed caution flags, Dowler was able to carve his way through the field - and into the lead - with just a few laps remaining. For many, the achievement was the most exciting part of a great weekend of racing. With the win, Dowler joined Buck on the list of 'two-time winners' on the streets of Toronto.
It's interesting to note that both Buck and Dowler will be making their first CASCAR Super Series outings of the season, in Toronto. For 2003, Dowler is focusing his attention on the CASCAR EMCO Western Series Tour, where he already has two wins to his credit. Buck, meanwhile, is looking for a good run in Toronto to help him in his efforts to attract a primary sponsor that will allow him to compete on a full-time basis.
Also making a Super Series comeback, of sorts, will be Barrie, ON racer Al Turner. Returning with sponsorship from longtime supporter Blue Streak - for the Toronto and Vancouver Indy races - Turner will be driving one of the MOPAR-powered Intrepids he sold to Whitlock Motorsports, during the off-season.
And if a lot of the attention will be centered on those making their first Super Series appearances of the season, no one should forget that the campaign is entering its middle portion, and features a heated points battle between two-time and defending champion Don Thomson Jr., and former champion Kerry Micks.
Following four of 12 events, Thomson has a three-point lead over Micks (613 to 610). Neither driver has won at the Indy, but each has won CASCAR road course events during their illustrious careers. And although he is currently fifth in the overall point standings, Peter Gibbons has to be considered among the favourites this weekend. The Chevy driver enters the Avenue ACDelco 100 riding a two-race winning streak.
Every CASCAR team in this weekend's race will be dealing with at least two wildcards, which could play a major role in deciding the outcome of the event. Limited track time dictates that there are precious few opportunities during which they can 'tweak' their cars, prior to Saturday afternoon's (5:15 p.m. start) main event. And of course, a busy track schedule dictates that CASCAR must deal with whatever conditions exist during the Super Series' allotted track times. Rain or shine, the show must go on.
CASCAR NOTEBOOK: The 'Dodge Canada Day Shootout, presented by MOPAR' at Cayuga 2000 Speedway will air on Sportsnet (Ontario) on Sunday, July 13 at 3 p.m... Kevin Dowler will not be the only Apollo Motorsports driver in action, in Toronto. Trevor Seibert of Williams Lake, BC has also made the trip to Ontario to compete in the Avenue ACDelco 100. Like Dowler, Seibert comes from a road racing background and will be a driver to watch on Saturday... The father-and-son team of Carl and Daryl Harr - who hail from St. Albert, AB (near Edmonton) - have also made the long trek to compete in Toronto. Daryl is the defending EMCO Western Series champion... Ron Larson of Quesnel, BC won last Saturday night's (July 5) Western Series race in front of his hometown crowd, at Gold Pan Speedway. In doing so, he ended Dowler's four-race winning streak, which dated back to the end of last season... According to sources at Race City Motorsport Park, the EMCO Western Series race that was postponed by rain on June 21 won't be rescheduled. The cancellation still leaves one Western Series race on the Race City 2003 calendar (August 24), as well as the upcoming MOPAR Parts 500 Super Series weekend (July 18-20)... The CASCAR family is sad to note the passing of longtime Western Technical Director Joe McCullough. A memorial service to celebrate Joe's life will be held in Calgary, at the Ogden Community Hall, at 7 p.m. on the night of Wednesday, July 16.