NASCAR CANADIAN TIRE SERIES PRESENTED BY SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO NEWS & NOTES -- GP3R 100 * Former Jeff Gordon Instructor Robin Buck Eyes Trois-Rivieres Win * Full Throttle Energy Drink 200 Post-Race Notes ...
NASCAR CANADIAN TIRE SERIES PRESENTED BY SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO NEWS & NOTES -- GP3R 100
* Former Jeff Gordon Instructor Robin Buck Eyes Trois-Rivieres Win
* Full Throttle Energy Drink 200 Post-Race Notes #* On The Road Again
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 14, 2007) -- Road-racing specialists in NASCAR are shrinking in number with the technological advances made in transmissions, but Robin Buck (No. 88 Wix Filters Ford) continues to be a force on road-course events.
The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio schedule has four road/street-course events on its 2007 slate, setting the stage for the likes of Buck to participate in the first-year series -- old school road racers using the clutch to work their way up and down the gearbox.
He has raced everything from go-karts to Formula 1600 cars to stock cars on road courses, combining natural talent with that special knack of getting a race car into and out of tight left and right-hand turns without sacrificing that all-important speed.
His expertise and ability to communicate that knowledge is so great that he served as an instructor in John Powell's Race Driver Training course held at the Mosport International Raceway complex near Bowmanville, Ontario. And he once had a 15-year-old student by the name of Jeff Gordon, the winningest active driver on NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series road courses.
Buck, 43, takes no credit for Gordon's road course prowess, but does remember an immensely talented young man with an incredible attitude and a willingness to learn.
"We would go over things and then go out on the track to try them out and he was automatically good at them," recalls Buck. "In fact, we asked him at the end of the course if he learned anything and he said, 'I learn something from everyone.'"
Since that encounter, Buck admits he has remained a fan of Gordon's marveling, from afar, at the innate ability to drive a car that Gordon possesses.
"Is he the best student I ever had? Probably," said Buck.
He also notes the talents of two young Canadian Tire Series drivers -- J.R. Fitzpatrick and Andrew Ranger -- and feels they are at a similar level at a like age.
"I have no doubt in my mind that, given good equipment, both J.R. and Andrew could compete at this sport's highest levels with success."
Despite Buck's willingness to heap praise upon two of his younger competitors, it does not diminish his desire to beat them at this weekend's Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. In the last two road-course races, Edmonton and Montreal, he crossed the finish line in third place, right behind Ranger. Fitzpatrick won the Edmonton event.
"I'd really like to win this one. The car hasn't gotten to where we need it to be, but this course is a little different than the others," said Buck. "For that reason, I have some confidence."
The Trois-Rivieres track is extremely tight, encompassed in concrete, with few run-off areas to serve as safe havens. Mistakes will prove costly for ill-handling cars. The most crucial aspect of this race will be handling, not horsepower.
"For the places we've been this year, power is the name of the game at Mosport and Montreal, and, to some extent, Edmonton," said Buck. "The cars that handle well will be the successful ones. This track is not a typical street course. It has tight corners and you have to use the whole track. The whole thing is surrounded in concrete and there are not many run-off areas to save your car if you lose control."
The resident of Campbellville, Ontario feels this track brings out the art of road-course racing. Understanding the corners and how they relate to the next one will be vital along with using the heel-toe method for the clutch and brake pedal. Drivers will be looking for that perfect timing between braking and downshifting to avoid too much engine compression, resulting in rear wheel hopping which culminates in over steering and a self-induced spin.
"It's all going to be about setting the car in the turns," Buck said. "If you get into them in good shape on entry, then you'll get out of them good. That's a lot easier said than done at Trois-Rivieres. There's very little room for error at this track."
The Canadian Tire Series will practice on Friday, qualify on Saturday and race on Sunday. Like the Montreal event, the green flag is scheduled to wave at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time for the GP3R 100.
Full Throttle 200 Post-Race Notes
* Two for Thomson ... With his win in the Full Throttle Energy Drink 200 presented by Canadian Shield Anticrime Response Corporation, Don Thomson Jr. (No. 4 Home Hardware Chevrolet) joins teammate J.R. Fitzpatrick (No. 84 Milwaukee Electric Tools Chevrolet) as a two-time NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio event winners. Thomson also won the series' inaugural race on May 26 at Cayuga Speedway Park.
* Chevy leads the way ... Chevrolet leads the Canadian Tire Series manufacturer's standings with four victories out of seven races in 2007. All four bowtie wins have come from the Fitzgerald Motorsports stable of Fitzpatrick and Thomson. Ford has a pair of wins with Kerry Micks (No. 02 Beyond Digital Imaging Ford) and Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Wal-Mart/Tide Ford) each finding victory lane. Dodge has one win with D.J. Kennington (No. 17 Castrol Dodge Charger) earning top honors at Barrie Speedway. In the manufacturers' point standings, Chevy has 52 points followed by Dodge with 41. Ford is just behind with 40, while Pontiac stands at 18.
* Youngsters duke it out ... Fitzpatrick, 19, and Ranger, 20, have found themselves battling not only for victories, but also Bud Pole Awards. Each has two poles on the season. Both of Ranger's poles have come on road courses, Mosport International Raceway and Grand Prix Edmonton. Fitzpatrick has won the pole position in each of the last two events -- the street course of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and last Saturday's oval-course event at Mosport Speedway.
* Mobil 1 Oil "Command Performance of the Race" Award ... As a reward for his NASCAR Canadian Tire Series victory at Mosport Speedway, Thomson collects $1,500 from Mobil 1 for his effort.
* Mopar Fast Five ... This program awards the top-five finishing Dodges in the race. In the Full Throttle 200, the Dodge of Mark Dilley (No. 9 Dodge/Leland Industries Dodge) was the top finisher and was awarded $2,000 for his second-place effort. Jason Hathaway (No. 3 Snap-on Tools/Super 8 Dodge) finished fourth overall, and was the second-highest finishing Dodge, which earned him $1,250. Ranked third among the Dodge entrants was Derek Lynch (No. 77 Canadian Shield Dodge), who finished just behind in fifth. The fourth and fifth-highest finishing Dodges were those of Scott Steckly (No. 22 Erb Group Dodge) and John Gaunt (No. 12 Centennial Chrysler Dodge). They finished seventh and eighth, respectively.
* Ranger continues to lead championship battle ... Ranger has lead the championship point standings since his win at Mosport International Raceway in the season's second race. He came into the Full Throttle 200 with a 74-point lead on Kennington, but a 13th-place finish saw that lead cut in half to 37 points -- 1,117 to 1,080. However, Thomson now secures the second slot in the rankings. Kennington dropped to third, but is still only 64 points off Ranger's pace.
* In case you missed it ... For anyone unable to be on hand last Saturday for the Full Throttle Energy Drink 200 and see Thomson survive a green-white-checkered finish, TSN and TSN HD will air coverage of the race on Saturday, Aug. 25 at 11 a.m. Eastern time.
GP3R 100 NEWS & NOTES
* The race ... This event is the eighth race for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio in 2007.This is the fourth of four road-course races on the schedule this season. It is also the second of two visits to the province of Quebec, both coming in a three-week span. The weekend will be a road racing fan's paradise. Joining the Canadian Tire Series will be the Grand-Am Koni Challenge Series, Star Mazda Series, SCCA MX-5 Cup, Pirelli Toyota Cup, Formula 1600 Tour and the Touring Championship of Quebec. First held in 1967, Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres is the oldest street race in North America
* The track ... The street course of Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres is a 10-turn 1.53-mile track. Differing from the other three road-course events on the schedule, le Circuit de Trois-Rivieres cars race in a counter-clockwise motion.
* Tagliani back in a stock car ... CHAMP Car standout Alex Tagliani's first experience behind the wheel of a stock car, under race conditions, was not as successful as he would have liked. Earlier in the month, he competed in the Canadian Tire Series event at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and battled brake problems throughout. He completed just seven of the 23 laps, but the experienced road racer and Quebec native undoubtedly will be determined this time around.
* Television schedule changes ... NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race coverage on TSN and TSN HD has undergone some adjustment to air dates. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve's NAPA AUTOPRO 100 highlight show will premier on Sunday, Aug. 19 at noon ET. The GP3R 100 show will air on Sunday, Aug. 26 at 11 a.m. ET. The Sept. 1 Subway 200 to be held at Cayuga Speedway Park will air on Saturday, Sept. 8 at 11 a.m. ET while the Sept. 8 race at Barrie Speedway can be watched on Saturday, Sept. 15 at 11:30 a.m. ET. The final two races of the season will air on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 2 p.m. ET and Saturday, October 6 at 1 p.m. ET. Check local listings or www.nascar.ca for the latest information.
* Ticket information ... For more information about tickets for the GP3R 100, call 1-866-416-9797 or visit online at www.gp3r.com/tickets.
What: GP3R 100, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Race # 8.
Where: Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres, Trois-Rivieres, Quebec.
When: 10:30 a.m., Sunday, Aug. 19.
Track layout: 1.53-mile street course.
Distance: 42 Laps, 64.26 miles (100 kilometers).
Posted Awards: $65,499 CAD
2006 winner: Inaugural event.
2006 polesitter: Inaugural event.
Records: To be established in inaugural event.
Pre-race schedule: Friday, Aug. 17 -Practice, 4:40.-5:20 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18-Qualifying, 10:45 a.m. Note: All times subject to change.
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Top 10: 1. Andrew Ranger 1117; 2. Don Thomson, Jr. 1080; 3. D.J. Kennington 1053; 4. J.R. Fitzpatrick 1040; 5. Peter Gibbons 1039; 6. Mark Dilley 1023; 7. Kerry Micks 995; 8. Jason Hathaway 937; 9. Derek Lynch 933; 10. John Gaunt 912.