Arrow-right Camera

Keeping Pace

NASCAR Canadian Tire Series News & Notes - Mosport

 (The Spokesman-Review)
(The Spokesman-Review)

Mark Dilley (No. 9 Dodge/Leland Industries Dodge) has unparalleled  passion for racing, which just might explain why he made it his profession. Dilley joined forces last year with Linda Jones to form Wide Open Motorsport Solutions, a company with a primary purpose of procurement and promotion of drivers and sponsors.

Courtesy: NASCAR Media Relations

Dilley Is In The Business Of Racing

A career, like racing, is about passion. Without a true love, it becomes a job.

Mark Dilley (No. 9 Dodge/Leland Industries Dodge) has unparalleled  passion for racing, which just might explain why he made it his profession. A long-time competitor in Canadian stock-car racing and ambassador for the sport, Dilley joined forces last year with Linda Jones to form Wide Open Motorsport Solutions, a company with a primary purpose of procurement and promotion of drivers and sponsors. But, this year, the interest took off in a little different direction.

"In years past (Linda Jones) and I had separately done similar things, so we decided, last year, to join forces to double our efforts," said Dilley.

Now moving in the same direction, Dilley and Jones combine knowledge and assets to provide even more service to both clients and sponsors.

"We are constantly on the lookout for sponsorship opportunities for our clients," he said. "In this economy, we need to have a broader view and not just focus on the traditional cast of characters."

As a firm believer of NASCAR as a marketing platform, Dilley is confident that interest is still high.

"I think the interest is out there, but it just may not be in the same places it has always been. The larger companies are stretched thin, but there are businesses out there looking to get involved."

Earlier this year a group of investors looking to purchase Sunset Speedway in Innisfil, Ont., approached Wide Open about managing the track and shepherding it through several renovation projects. Running a track is not new to Dilley, a former owner of Barrie (Ont.) Speedway.

"The owners want to build a quality facility, to match some of the nicer places in the country, in central Ontario well within the bounds of the Toronto market," Dilley stated.

The transformation of the 40-year-old .333-mile track will not come overnight, but a strategy is in place with the ultimate goal of hosting a NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 event in mind.

"We need to get a new track in there with a proper pit road. That's the first step," said Dilley. "We've already made some changes to many of the fan areas to make those better. Now, it's a matter of working inside out; starting with the track."

Not helping Dilley focus on his business interests this year is one of the worst slumps of his racing career. He has just three top-10 finishes in 2009.

"We just need a break. Whatever can go wrong has this year. It's  definitely  frustrating," he said. "I don't think I've ever had a stretch like this in my career, but we'll get it turned around this weekend."

In his two previous series starts at Mosport Speedway, Dilley has a pair of runner-up finishes.

Fast Facts

The Race: Mosport Speedway 200
The Place: Mosport Speedway, Bowmanville, Ont.
The Date: Saturday, Aug. 8
The Time: 7 p.m. ET
TV Schedule: TSN, Aug. 23, 4 p.m. ET
Track Layout: Half-mile oval
Race Purse: $78,523 CAD
2008 Winner: Kerry Micks
2008 Pole: None - Rain
Schedule: Practice 1:30-2:30 p.m.; Qualifying 5 p.m.

Hathaway Looks To Heat Up In Second Half

The first half of the season sets the tone, but the second half holds the defining moments and cements the memories—good or bad.

For Jason Hathaway (No. 3 Snap-on Tools/Vortex Brake Pads Dodge), the first seven races of 2009 have been solid and consistent. With the exception of a 20th-place finish at Delaware (Ont.) Speedway due to engine troubles, he has six top-10 finishes including a season-best finish of fourth in the last outing in Saskatoon, Sask.

He has been remarkably consistent, so far, this season with four eighth-place and one seventh-place finish in seven races.

Last season, Hathaway closed the season  in strong fashion with three top fives in the final five races of the year, which includes his first series career win in the season finale, a rain-shortened event at Kawartha Speedway before finishing ninth in the final standings and earning Most Improved Driver honors, an award selected by series officials, at the post-season awards ceremony.

The first half of 2008 was not particularly special putting Hathaway, with improved performance in 2009, in a much better position to cover ground in the standings this time around.

Racing out of Appin, Ont., Hathaway currently is eighth in the championship points standings, but is a mere 39 points out of fifth place.

Mosport News & Notes

The Race: This event is the eighth of 13 races on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 schedule and the sixth of nine races on oval tracks this season. It is the series' third 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 200 laps covering 100 miles.

The Track: The half-mile oval shares grounds with Mosport International Raceway, a 2.459-mile road course, a 2.4-kilometer advanced driver and race driver training facility, and a 1.4-kilometer kart track. All told, Mosport is Canada's largest motorsports complex, covering 750 acres located just north of Bowmanville, Ont., less than an hour's drive from Toronto. The name Mosport is a contraction of motorsport and is pronounced “MOE-sport.” The facility opened in 1961.

Familiar Turf: After racing on the .333-mile banked oval at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway in Saskatoon, Sask., for the first time in the last outing, series drivers and teams return to a comfort zone. With just a couple of exceptions, everyone is familiar with the strategies and idiosyncrasies of Mosport Speedway.

Last Year: The visit to Mosport Speedway a year ago was marred by wet weather. Only practice was complete on Saturday before rain moved into the area, causing the race to be moved to Sunday. For the first time in its brief history, the starting field was set per the series rule book, with points leader Scott Steckly on the pole, as time trials were not able to be held. In the race, Kerry Micks battled Mark Dilley down the stretch and picked up his first series victory on an oval track after winning a pair of road-course events in 2007.

The Records: The one-lap qualifying record for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series at Mosport Speedway is held by JR Fitzpatrick at 21.592 seconds (83.364 mph) set on Aug. 11, 2007. The 200-lap race record is held by Micks in last year's race on Aug. 10 at 1 hour, 43 minutes, 18 seconds (58.083 mph).

NCATS Notebook: Velocity Prairie Thunder Wrap-Up

The Last Shall Be First: Leaving engine parts scattered around the race track in practice is not normally in a race-winning recipe, but Scott Steckly (No. 22 Canadian Tire/Tow Truck in a Box Dodge) was able to overcome an engine failure in practice to win his second race of the year and seventh of his career. In doing so, he broke his tie with Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Walmart/Tide Ford) for the most career series wins.

Back On Top: Earlier in 2009, Steckly took over the all-time series lead for laps led from Don Thomson Jr. (No. 4 Home Hardware Chevrolet). However, with his 161 laps led in the Velocity Prairie Thunder, Thomson now has 1,251 laps led in series history and regained the lead from Steckly (1,179). Ranger is a distant third with 743 laps led.

First and Third: While transitioning to the NASCAR spec engine, Steckly was caught in a pinch when his primary custom-built engine expired in practice and was forced to rent a motor from DJ Kennington (No. 17 Castrol/Mahindra Tractor Dodge), who finished third in the race while having a stake in the winning car, as well.

Mobil 1 Command Performance Driver of the Race: As a reward for his NASCAR Canadian Tire Series victory at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway, Steckly collects $1,500 from Mobil 1 for his effort. It is his second victory of the 2009 season.

Mopar Quick Three: This program rewards the top three finishing Dodges in the race. In the Velocity Prairie Thunder, the race winner, Steckly, was the highest-finishing eligible Dodge and thus earned a $2,000 bonus. Second-place finisher Kennington was the second-highest finishing eligible Dodge, which earned him a $1,000 bonus. 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 fourth overall.

Coca-Cola Move of the Race: Improving his position the most over the course of the race was Steckly. Not able to qualify due to the ongoing work on his car, he started 18th on the grid before storming to the lead in just 128 laps and on to victory. As a result, he earned the $1,000 award from Coca-Cola. It is the second time in three races that he has collected this award.

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.  Thomson collected the most points by finishing second in the race, starting on the pole and leading the most laps.

In Case You Missed It: Coverage of the Velocity Prairie Thunder will premiere on Saturday, Aug. 22 at midnight ET on TSN. Check local listings for the most up-to-date information. Additionally, the Canadian Tire 100 from Edmonton's Rexall Speedway will premiere on Sunday, Aug. 9 at noon ET.

Halfway: Top Five NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Stories In 2009

The 2009 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 season is just past the half-way mark. The first half of the season has had many great storylines, but here is a look at the top five.

1. Ranger Collects First Oval-Track Win
Since moving from open-wheel racing prior to the 2007 season, Andrew Ranger has been a dominant force on road-course events by winning five of the 10 road races in series history. However, stock-car racing is about the ovals. The ability of a driver is measured against his or her rate of success on oval tracks. Despite his 2007 series title, Ranger’s validation as a stock-car racer would not be complete until he proved he could win on an oval. On July 18 at SunValley Speedway in Vernon, B.C., he closed the deal in dominating fashion. He lapped every car in the field but one en route to Victory Lane.

2. Series Makes Delaware Speedway Debut
For years, Delaware (Ont.) Speedway was the Mecca of stock-car racing in Canada. It was the home of CASCAR, with several race teams based nearby and many drivers cut their teeth in late-model racing there. However, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series had yet to compete at the facility. In the June 6 race, a large crowd was on hand to see local product DJ Kennington  return home to pick up his first national series win at the track, after several close calls in the CASCAR days.

3. Spec Engine Introduced
This season, NASCAR officials decided to introduce its spec engine program to the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series in 2009. The affordable, yet competitive, motor program already has been in place in the four U.S.-based developmental series with plenty of success. Both 2008 NASCAR Camping World Series champions—Matt Kobyluck (East) and Eric Holmes (West)—won with a car powered by a spec engine. Ranger's win at SunValley was the first series win for the new program.

4. Villeneuve Makes Series Debut
It’s not often that a developmental series, like the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, gets an opportunity to have a driver with the pedigree of Jacques Villeneuve join its ranks. The former Indy Racing League, Indy 500 and Formula One champion is one of just three drivers—Mario Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi—to ever pull off that trifecta. Unfortunately, in Villeneuve’s debut on July 11 at Autodrome St. Eustache, his race lasted just a few hundred feet as he got caught up in a Lap 1 accident.

5. Whitlock Announces Retirement; Wins First Series Race
In a bit of a surprise announcement made just three days before the season opener on May 23 at Autodrome St. Eustache, Dave Whitlock stated that 2009 would be his last season behind the wheel. He, then, promptly went out and won the season-opening race. In doing so, Whitlock collected his first series win after 25 starts.

Up Next: Trois-Rivieres

The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 heads back out on the road next week to take on the demanding Circuit de Trois-Rivieres for the GP3R 100. It is the third of four road-course events on tap for the series in 2009.

Jacques Villeneuve is slated to make his second series start and looks for a better result than in his Lap-1 exit on July 11 at Autodrome St. Eustache. Additionally, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Patrice Brisebois, racing for charity, will make his NASCAR and series debut.

Last season, Andrew Ranger benefited from a last-lap incident between Scott Steckly and JR Fitzpatrick to collect the win.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus
« Back to Keeping Pace
Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.