Saturday, May 31, 2008

National Kodak 250 race at St Eustache hit by rain: NASCAR Canadian Tire Series feature delayed for Sunday afternoon!

Plagued with the similar weather issues that are interrupting racing activities for NASCAR's Nationwide and Cup series races a Dover International Speedway Saturday, the Canadian Tire series race at Autodrome St Eustache 4/10 mile short track, planned for Saturday, has been delayed until tomorrow afternoon (Sunday, June 1). The National Kodak 250 is now slated for 3:30PM race start with qualifying scheduled for 12-noon eastern.

The track and competitors are eager to run this inaugural event under the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series banner. However, looking at the weather forecasts for tomorrow, this alternate schedule for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series seems iffy with a 60% chance of showers predicted Sunday through Monday. With that said, this event can still is completed if a break in the possible showers presents itself tomorrow. If the National Kodak 250 can't run Sunday, it's more than likely a new race weekend will be planned.

Friday, May 30, 2008

NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Crown Jewel 200 broadcast in TSN

The Crown Jewel 200 at Cayuga will air tonight(May 30) in a one-hour condensed version on TSN.

If you missed the race, TSN has scheduled reairings for June 18th at 1PM and June 22nd 12:30AM. All times are referencing the Eastern Time Zone.

To check local listings, please click here

Thursday, May 29, 2008

NASCAR rules against Haas CNC Sprint Cup teams after confiscation of cars

The penalties were brought against Haas CNC team carries the subtle feeling of a wet towel whipping. Not only were the #66 and #70 car publicly removed from the garage on exposed flatbed trucks last weekend, the real punishment sentenced late Wednesday night are some of the most severe hits for an already embattled race team.

NASCAR issued a 150 point loss for each car in the Sprint Cup owner's points, Haas CNC drivers Scott Riggs and Johnny Sauter are also hit with 150 point penalties. This deeply effects the #66 Chevrolet which was sitting comfortably inside the coveted top-35 points spot after the Coca-Cola 600. Having resided in 26th position, the points adjustment now alarmingly places Scott Rigg's #66 car on the 34th position. Concerning the costliness of 150 points to the driver's yearly tally, this hits Johnny Sauter especially hard as he only ran three races this season on a race-to-race basis for Haas CNC. Additionally, Crew Chief of both car Bootie Barker and Derick Jennings have now been suspended by NASCAR for six races along with being fined $100,000 a piece. The #66 and #70 car chiefs are also serving six-race sentenced away from their race teams as a result to their suspected involvement.

In a similar incident last year, Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #8 Budweiser Chevy was caught with unapproved wing mounts at Darlington. While the current spec COT race car was even deeper in infancy, the #8 Chevy of Dale Earnhardt Jr. received a hammering with a $100,000 fine and 100 point deduction in driver and car owner points (at the end of the 2007 season, that amounted a two point position loss in 16th rather than 14th). The crew chief punishment was equal with Tony Eury Jr. serving a six-race suspension. Ironically, this incident had #66 crew chief Bootie Barker making a similar defense as Eury's by stating that the wing mountings had previously passed NASCAR inspection.

Along with the loss of money and points, NASCAR has also confiscated the two offending race cars.

While the team would have succomed hard to the deep embarrassment of seeing their cars being openly carried away by NASCAR, this is by no means a case of the stock car racing sanctioning body singling out one team. This follows a long history of NASCAR inspectors, making non-conforming cars and components their own trophies in a game to catch those they believe are more blatantly bending their rules. The staging was more a message to any other team tempting past the razor edge of the NASCAR Rulebook. However, with near record-setting fines being levied against teams, the hurt for a NASCAR Sprint Cup race team runs deeper.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ron Beauchamp Jr's #60 team penalized: NCAT Cayuga finishing order revised

It is never a good time to receive rules penalty in auto racing. Past Saturday night's season opener for the 2008 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series resulted with an immediate strike against the #60 Mopar/Mobil 1 team with the Ron Beauchamp Jr. driven Dodge Avenger.

Following the series' running of the Crown Jewel 200 at Cayuga International Speedway, Beauchamp Motorsport's #60 Dodge has now been displaced from a 3rd place finish. A carburetor metering block were ruled after post race inspection as unapproved according to the NASCAR Canada rulebook. Reacting to the rule violations, Beauchamp is now displaced from his original 3rd place finish, dropped to 23rd and last for the Cayuga race. The revised results improves the position of every race car behind Beauchamp by one spot, promoting Mark Dilley to the 3rd place podium. Additional sanctions were also levied against the #60 Dodge's crew chief Brad McIntyre with NASCAR placing him on probation through the rest of the year (December 31, 2008).

Ron Beauchamp Jr. and the #60 Mopar/ Mobil 1 Dodge team has the option to appeal the decision, but his yet to announce pursuing this action.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Paul Tracy testing a truck at Chicagoland

Paul Tracy will be testing a Germain Racing prepped Toyota Tundra tomorrow (May 28th) at Chicagoland Speedway. Paul " The thrill from West Hill" Tracy chance to drive the NASCAR Craftsman Truck machine will be has first time in truck, but not his first time in NASCAR. In 2005, he had run a handful of the NASCAR Busch(now Nationwide) events with little success and had been mentioned as potentially running for another team this season before that organization's plans changed.

The 2003 Champ Car Series Champion and winner of 31 series races, Tracy has been without a full-time ride in 2008 following the closure of Forsythe Racing after the Champ Car/IRL IndyCar merger. Plans to run for an existing IRL team or the hopes of a one-off deal driving the Indianapolis 500 never materialized beyond speculation. In reality, Tracy indicates that his current contract with Forsythe included with limited time to locate another competitive ride caused some difficulty for the 39-yeear old Canadian.

Germain Racing's truck team is currently leading the Craftsman Truck Series points with Todd Bodine, who had won the series championship just two seasons ago. Clearly testing for a top operation, Paul Tracy's previous employers are a whos who of racing with names such as Penske, Newman/Haas, and Barry Green before racing for Forsythe for five seasons.

With Paul Tracy's aggressive and endlessly passionate racing personality, there would be little agrument that the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series would be perfect fit. Entering the test, Tracy says "I'm thankful that Bob Germain is giving me this opportunity. He is a class act and I'm happy to be a part of what he is doing in NASCAR."

Thank you Player Management International for the release

Photo Taken at July 2002 Toronto Indy CART Championship Race

Monday, May 26, 2008

Scott Steckly wins Crown Jewel 200 at Cayuga

Scott Steckly fought much as last season for his first NASCAR Canadian Tire Series win, finally obtaining it at the season ending race at Kawartha Speedway. 8 months since that last event, this past Saturday's race at Cayuga International Speedway allowed him to extend a two-race winning streak. Proving that he was not a one-race wonder, Steckly took his #22 Dodge to victory as a hard-charging Kerry Micks challenged through the closing laps. Micks, who had plotted to use a late race pitstop for tires as a key to the trophy, finshed 2nd respectively. Ron Beauchamp Jr., Mark Dilley, and Peter Gibbons rounded out the top five.

On the other hand, 2007 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series champion Andrew Ranger has yet to find his competitive form in this season opener. He finished two laps down in 17th position in the Tide/Walmart Ford Fusion. Other notable competitors wishing to forget this first race of the 2008 season include Alex Tagliani and DJ Kennington. Open-wheel immigrant Alex Tagliani, driving a second Jacomb's Racing Tide/Walmart Ford stalled out on Saturday night with electrical problems, competing 151 of the 200 laps and finish 21th. While DJ Kennington had gained several races of experience already this season racing in the Nationwide Series, an engine problem to the #17 Castrol Dodge ended his race after only 17 laps, amounting in a 23rd(last) place position.

With the season started, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series teams only have one week to turn around their race vehicles for another Saturday show at Autodrome St. Eustache for a 250-lap affair. St. Eustache race, having been a mainstay to the late years in the CASCAR schedule, returns 2008 under the Canadian Tire Series moniker.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Approaching the Green Flag: EA Sports NASCAR 09

At the beginning of NASCAR's Jeff Gordon era, software company Sierra were creating some of the first licensed games featuring professional stock car racing when phrase was considered an oxymoron. Sierra focused in providing the realistic feel of NASCAR racing with the technology of the day for PC software by providing race set-ups and actual tracks to their games. Whlie this impressed the hardcore NASCAR fans, these games also became a frustrating experience for the casual gamer who simply wanted to thrill to rough up computer-created Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Sr's fenders in those glory days. EA Sports emerged in 1998 with NASCAR Revolution with a more arcade feel gameplay which simplized the gamers with racing against the best drivers. EA Sports has since extended itself in a near monopoly of North American sports, which included NASCAR. While the upcoming NASCAR 09 is the sole title expected from the sports body, EA Sports had adapted itself to some of the principles of Sierra's past ventures.

Featuring the top three touring divisions of NASCAR, NASCAR 09 combines the Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Craftsman Track Series to be played by choice. With authentic teams, drivers, and 08 paint schemes, the game's graphics are unbelievably viewed as crisp with rich shining/lighting effects. The software's AI will assure that the virtual Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon are closest to providing the same fight you could expect from the real-life drivers. Speaking about Jeff Gordon, he is the spokesperson for this year's game release outside as well as inside the game in high-grade pixel form. Acting as your mentor, Gordon will be available to offers advice and recommendation through the course of your rise in establishing your NASCAR career. Two gameplay options allow gamers to cater their wishes of either a satisfying game sensation at Normal or you can absorb the true NASCAR experience on the Pro setting. Not simply a race game, NASCAR 09 features several elements to constantly test players. "Driver Challenges" enable you to go 1-on-1 with current stars of NASCAR on special competitions (An element familiar to players of the NASCAR Heat game from many years ago). Another element is "Own the track" which involves stats posted on a North American map referencing the location of all the sanctioned race tracks on the schedule. You'll know where you have conquered your competition and quickly determine your next attacks.

Without the need to spending the 10 million plus dollars needed to run an adequate NASCAR team, the users of NASCAR 09 are able to customize their own vehicles. Paint shop elements similar to those seen in previous EA Sports and Sierra allows a design to adopt the desired colour scheme. But unlike earlier editions, a gamer can add their own graphics as well as their own image to the driver list.

Race time for NASCAR 09 is slated for June 11th on Sony Playstation 2 and Playstation 3 as well as the Xbox 360 game console. Release for Nintendo Wii and for PC have not been announced but are to be expected soon.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Peter Gibbons officially running Fords

For the 4 road courses, the Canadian Tire colours of Peter Gibbons will be covering a Ford Fusion body shell for 2008. In a Toronto Sun article, Gibbons cited a current horsepower disadvantage with Chevrolet engines as the reason for breaking his long dedication. Widespread speculation circulated quickly following a test at Mosport where Peter Gibbons was spotted driving a Ford Fusion in test camouflage.

Unlike in the top three NASCAR touring series, the Canadian Tire Series receives little to no official support from manufacturer Chevrolet and Ford. This allows competitor the freedom to decide without penalty which vehicle brand to run.

NASCAR says no the "Crabby Cars"

When NASCAR set out to create the plans for the new generation race car best known as the COT, it was the intended to limit the radical thoughts teams had long exercised in pursuing speed. After less than a half season of notes, NASCAR teams are now working outside of the boxy constraints of the new generation car.

After watching qualifying for the Spint All-Star race at Lowe's Motor Speedway, myself and I'm certain other TV viewers took note of the vehicles traveling down pit road. One after one, each race car had been side driving down the straights, giving the appearance deemed crab walking. When I first caught it, I thought it was the result of the track bar breaking. However, as qualifying progressed, it became evident that some crew chiefs and Sprint Cup team engineers allowed their skilled imaginations to get the better of them. While almost every car in All-Star qualifying exhibited this side drive including Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch, one of the more extreme examples to this setup appeared evident with Sam Hornish's #77 Mobil Dodge in the Showdown qualifying race.

Sprint cup teams will literally maintain the straight and narrow this weekend at the Coca-Cola 600. According to , NASCAR Sprint Cup teams have received a bulletin from NASCAR indicating new rules restricting car setups adding rightward toe to the rear end drive assembly which involved a drive plate and axle shaft. Though this side drive made the stock cars appear like wounded animals down the straightaways, the adjustment was sought to improve cornering speeds and increase downforce on the rear wing.

Monday, May 19, 2008

NASCAR, the Canadian way starts this Saturday!

Following a trend that has gripped NASCAR's premier division of Sprint Cup, Andrew Ranger made the most of the slim pickings left in North American open wheeling. In his only full season in full-bodied car racing, he had become an intimidating presence as a road course expert as well as a fearless oval racer. Entering as the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series' reigning champion, the 21 year old French-Canadian is also part of another movement which may soon strengthen our presence in the top tier touring divisions of stock racing down south. Previous year's champion JR Fitzpatrick, a second generation to father John Fitzpatrick, returns in the Milwaukee Electric Tools Chevrolet. At the age of 20, JR Fitzpatrick won twice last season and appears prepared to take back the championship trophy. If not, JR Fitzpatrick's teammate 5-time champ Don Thomson Jr and his #4 Home Hardware Chevrolet may also be within striking distance of another memorable season.

While Patrick Carpentier is currently striding for improvement in this NASCAR Sprint Cup ride with Gilliet/Evernham, past Players Champ Car Racing teammate Alex Tagliani was spotted testing Ranger's Canadian Tire Series car (though, this past weekend, Tag was present at Laguna Seca's Mazda raceway coaching drivers in the Atlantic Series). Also a busy Canadian driver below the 49th, series points runner-up DJ Kennington has been making inroads to the big time in NASCAR with several good runs wheeling a Nationwide series vehicle. DJ be flying back north to drive his staple Castro Dodge Avenger again to the delight of spectators and the discontent of competitors.

While the youth crowd will become a major factor for this season, longtime Canadian stock car racing mainstay of Dave Whitlock. A three-time points winner dating back through the series' original Sanctioning body of CASCAR, Dave Whitlock's return to the #39 Dickies Dodge Avenger. Two-time winner last season Kerry Micks will continue add to his series-leading record of starts fighting in the #02 Beyond Digital Ford Fusion. Another long-time series supporter Peter Gibbons seems ready to campaign at least some races without a Chevy for the first time in a decade for Canadian Stock Car Racing. Inside Track spies caught Gibbons testing a Ford Fusion bodied racer at Mosport. Some honourable mentions for the upcoming season belongs to longtime competitor Mark Dilley and Scott Steckly, a first-time NASCAR Canadian Tire Series winner after the season finale race at Kawartha Speedway.

Predicting winning teams for the 2008 Nascar Canadian Tire Series may prove very difficult considering the young champions from the past two seasons. With 13 races consisting of road courses and ovals, we can at least assume the eastern and western parts of Canada will rumble as 20-plus hungry stock car drivers compete in nearly-identical fiberglass bodied race cars.

The green flag drops on second season of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series launches this Saturday (May 24rd) at the super competitive oval of Cayuga International Speedway.

Pete Shepherd: Need For NASCAR Speed

Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR

In what would be the infancy of my interest in NASCAR, I remembered the near weekly visits to my local racing collectible store. Often spending less than 20 dollars on a simple die-cast, my visit was given gifted with the accompanying race talk with the storekeepers. With Formula 1 and other open-wheel series abundant with Canadian maple flags, the following for NASCAR dominated every conversation. One of the most memorable exchanges involved the name of one Canadian stock car prodigy winning late model races at Peterborough Speedway. The competing teenage driver, this NASCAR hopeful received an optimistic comparison to Jeff Gordon by the storekeeper. Keeping my ears opened since, five years later I heard prominent NASCAR owner Jack Roush compare this Canadian to driving like a young Mark Martin. That driver was Peter Shepherd, and the than 20 year-old's showing in Roush's Driver X talent contest for a truck ride would garner the Canadian racer acclaim amongst American motorsports. Falling just short of the coveted truck ride, Shepherd proudly accepted a development deal with Roush Racing to begin during the 2006 racing season.

A far way from native Brampton, Ontario, Shepherd's American racing career was born in 2006 at Homestead Miami Speedway wheeling the RE Technologies USAC Silver Crown racer, co-owned by recent Roush Racing sensation Carl Edwards. A departure from stock cars, Shepherd identified driving a Silver Crown car as “different”, riding paved ovals on the right rear tire through the corners. In spite of this different feeling, Pete Shepherd scored an impressive inaugural race finish of 7th place. Through the course of the Silver Crown season, Shepherd bettered that effort with a 3rd at the newly-built Iowa Speedway in September and a stunning 2nd two months earlier at the 1.5 mile Chicagoland Speedway. Shepherd says the ultimate lesson he gained from the Silver Crown machine the empathized importance in hitting your marks on the racetrack.

Blake Johnson/ R.E. Technologies

Proving proficiency with a 700 horsepower, 1,500 pound Silver Crown sprint car in just a few starts Shepherd was invited to run some ARCA/Remax stock car events. Along with a pair of tenth-place finishes, he recorded his season's highest result of fourth at Gateway International Speedway through a rough and wild race where he, even wearing his rookie stripes, endured without any noticeable race damage on his car. Weighing at 3400 pounds, the 750 horsepower ARCA stock cars are a far cry from the 550 pound lighter fiberglass-bodied race cars he wheeled in the CASCAR Super Series a year before in 2005. Now known as the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, Peter Shepherd speaks highly of his Canadian stepping stone commenting that the series treated him so well.

Completing a tri-fecta in American motor racing, Roush offered Shepherd some select races in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, an inroad to the elite Nextel Cup series. For Shepherd, the 'banging wheels' terminology is a mere figure of speech considering his displayed driving style. “Put in laps and give the folks at the shop an easy time” he said were the only general instructions given.

Having parted with a few moments for an interview during a 2006 Silver Crown race at the newly-commissioned Iowa Speedway, Pete Shepherd spoke with the utmost professionalism as he expresses cautious aggression during his limited runs in top-notch machines. Within the brief privilege of speaking with this hot Canadian stock car racing prospect, his combined articulation of technical facts could pay dividends for a car chief's work while his poise, coupled with praise-filled tone, would please any big dollar sponsor. However, even with that well-rounded talent, a planned larger schedule in the NASCAR Craftsman truck series was largely scaled back by lack of sponsorship for 2007.

With 2007 highlighted early prepping Matt Kenseth's #17 Dewalt Ford during Daytona 500 testing, it would not be until the Milwaukee Mile's truck series race in June when Shepherd's 2007 season started. After four truck starts and selected ARCA starts, Peter was bitten twice by misfortune, marred by a rare Shepherd collision with another race vehicle at the truck race in Kentucky. Proving the end of an awkward set of races Pete will likely vanquish with better memories, a qualifying lap wreck in a very fast Roush-prepped Ford Fusion ARCA car caused him to miss that race altogether. In spite of frustrating events, Pete Shepherd bounced back, recording a personal best weekend in his limited NASCAR career came with a hard fought 15th place finish on the ¾ short track of Memphis Speedway during the 3rd of 4 races.

As an ominous note, Pete's short racing season ended in August of 2007 with Roush Racing later releasing him from the driver development contract. For a sport which depends so much on sponsorship dollars and bankable, American drivers, Pete Shepherd is unsettled so far for 2008. But probably Jack Roush's comparison to Mark Martin will prove as even greater comfort. While Mark Martin's first launch into the big leagues of racing fell flat, the second wind shown by that popular NASCAR driver acts to show the yet truly inspired life in Shepherd's career.
For Canadian Pete Shepherd, whether he is being compared to Jeff Gordon or being mentioned to possess the skills of Mark Martin, this 21 year old succeeds setting his benchmarks.