EDMONTON INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY JOINS NASCAR DODGE WEEKLY SERIES EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada (April 22, 2005) -- Edmonton International Raceway, a quarter-mile (0.40225 km) asphalt oval located in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada, has joined the...
EDMONTON INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY JOINS NASCAR DODGE WEEKLY SERIES
EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada (April 22, 2005) -- Edmonton International Raceway, a quarter-mile (0.40225 km) asphalt oval located in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada, has joined the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series for the 2005 racing season. Edmonton becomes the third Canadian race track to join NASCAR, following Delaware Speedway in Ontario and Autodrome St. Eustache in Quebec, which both joined the series in 2004.
"As we grow NASCAR's international racing programs, the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series has proven to be an excellent fit for our partners in Canada," said Richard Buck, NASCAR Director of Racing Development, Canada. "Edmonton International Raceway is another great addition to the series and we could not be more pleased to add this facility to the NASCAR lineup. Teams and drivers at Edmonton will soon be racing for their first NASCAR championship, and we welcome them to the NASCAR family."
Edmonton International Raceway is one of nine oval tracks in the province of Alberta. The track is located 30 miles (48.2 km) from Edmonton, the sixth-largest city in Canada. The track hosts 10 different racing divisions on Saturday nights. Edmonton's Late Model class will be NASCAR-sanctioned in 2005, and its drivers will be eligible for the $25,000 (U.S.) NASCAR divisional championship. A total of $1.7 million (U.S.) in point fund awards is distributed to NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series competitors annually.
Beginning in 2005, NASCAR has created a new format for the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. Tracks are grouped into one of four divisions -- Division I, Division II, Division III and Division IV. Drivers compete for a divisional championship by accumulating championship points at events held at tracks within each division.
Edmonton will be placed in Division II, which also includes Adams County Speedway in Corning, Iowa, Autodrome St. Eustache, Concord Motorsport Park in Concord, N.C., Delaware Speedway, Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville, Pa., Holland International Speedway in Holland, N.Y., I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Neb., Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H., Lorain Speedway in South Amherst, Ohio, Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif., Myrtle Beach Speedway in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Park Jefferson Speedway in Jefferson, S.D., San Antonio Speedway in San Antonio, Texas, Shasta Raceway Park in Anderson, Calif., Spencer Speedway in Williamson, N.Y., Stockton 99 Speedway in Stockton, Calif. and Watsonville Speedway in Watsonville, Calif.
In 2004, NASCAR announced a multi-year operational and marketing agreement with the Canadian Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (CASCAR). NASCAR has also formed NASCAR Canada, a partnership with TSN that established a Canadian base of operation in Toronto, as well as NASCAR Mexico, based in Mexico City. These new offices support local racing and extend the marketing of the sport to borders north and south of the U.S.
NASCAR is the top-rated motorsport on Canadian television, and TSN is the most preferred viewing destination. The Canadian fan base is six million strong with Canadians considered among the most passionate NASCAR fans, according to the 2004 Ipsos-Insight NASCAR Canada Brand Tracker Survey. A significant number of Canadians have attended a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race.
* A history of NASCAR racing in Canada ...
NASCAR's premier series, known today as the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, has held two events in Canada. The first was on July 1, 1952 in Stamford Park at Niagara Falls, Ont. Buddy Shuman won the event in a Hudson Hornet. The second race was run at the Canadian National Exhibition Speedway in Toronto. Lee Petty won the race in an Oldsmobile. This race was Richard Petty's first race in NASCAR's premier series.
Some Canadian drivers who have participated in NASCAR races include Earl Ross, the 1974 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rookie of the Year and Roy Smith, a four-time NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series champion. Dick Foley from Montreal also raced in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and competed in the first Daytona 500. In the 1950s, Norman Schihl raced in the old NASCAR Convertible Division.
Autodrome St. Eustache owner Claude Aubin is a popular racing figure in Quebec and also a familiar figure in the history of NASCAR. Aubin was the NASCAR North Series champion in 1978 and raced at traditional NASCAR venues including Martinsville and Daytona during his driving career.
Canadian tracks held races in most NASCAR divisions (hobby, sportsman and modifieds) going back to the 1950's. Tracks such as Bouvrette Speedway in St. Jerome, Que., Drummondville Speedway and Riverside Speedway in Montreal, Fury Speedway in Fabreville have held NASCAR sanctions in the past. The West Series has raced at Western Speedway in Victoria, B.C., Westwood Speedway in Vancouver, B.C. and Langley Speedway in Langley, B.C.