Sunday, August 30, 2009

JR Fitzpatrick wins big NASCAR Canadian Tire Series big at Montreal

The 2.7 mile Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is playing host to their biggest race weekend for 2009 as Formula 1 race took a one-year hiatus (A 2010 return is all but set).

On Sunday, just before the big league racers of the NASCAR Nationwide Series the nationally-based NASCAR Canadian Tire Series warms up the road course. In this one visit to Montreal on the Canadian racing calendar, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series teams and drivers get a chance to display their skills in front of up to year-topping 60,000 racing fans. On top of that, Canadian Tire series drivers are ideally positioned to show their talent while teams of the headlining NASCAR Nationwide event made be scouting for 2010 drivers.

Taking pole for the second race in a row, Alex Tagliani took pole for the NAPA Autopro 100 as the green fell just before noon Sunday. When the green dropped on the field, the pace was slowed by a lap 1 caution for Kent Nuhn's #18 Chevrolet. Four cautions total would fall in the 23 lap event with the most dramatic being a roll over crash invloving Don Thomson Jr and 2008 Canadian Tire series champion Scott Steckly. The incident, which also resulted with a red flag, started on a late race Green-White-Checkered restart when the Steckly and Thomson (running 5th and 6th at the time) ended up in the guard rails with Scott Steckly's #22 Dodge ending on its roof. Both drivers were physically fine but left without top finishes at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Dominating his presence in the lead of the NAPA Autopro 100 JR Fitzpatrick (making a rare appearance in conjunction with his Nationwide series run for Kevin Harvick Incorporated) grabbed the lead from Kerry Micks on lap 9 and would never let go. Andrew Ranger fought hard to pass the #17 Dodge of DJ Kennington for second followed pass by Kerry Micks. A noted appearance by NHL player Patrice Brisebois resulted with a 12th place run for the dual athlete. In another heartbreaking race for Alex Tagliani, another pole in the #81 Chevrolet ended with a mechanical failure relegating him to a 27th place finish in a very full field of 34 cars.

The ABC telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series NAPA Auto Parts 200 deserves applauds for showing highlights during their broadcast throughout Canada and the United States. For Canadian race fans of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series who didn't witness this exciting race firsthand or caught the brief ABC highlights, you'll have to wait nearly two week for September 12th when TSN will air a time-compressed version of the race.

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