Grave Digger in action at Monster Jam
My 2007 racing
season started early with Monster Jam at the Rogers Centre
in Toronto. I took my seven year-old son and we both had a great
time. I was able to get a few good actions shots. The Monster Jam
I made it up to Minden for the CASC ice races in February.
The day turned out be colder than I expected and since my son was
with me, we cut the day short. It was snowing lightly which made
it difficult to take good photos. The racing was good though.
Once the regular
racing season started, most Saturday nights I was at Mosport
Speedway. I normally took my camera and I've put together a
collection of some good shots on this gallery
page that includes the regular Mosport classes put some touring
series. September 1 was an interesting night for me. Mosport's regular
photographer, Peter Brand, had a personal committment on that night.
I've known Peter for a few years from being the Mosport webmaster.
I purchased a digital SLR in 2006 and ever since, I often pester
him for advice. Peter asked me to cover for him, so that night I
was the Mosport track photographer.
The only NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race that I attended
was the Full Throttle Energy Drink 200 presented by Canadian
Shield at Mosport Speedway on August 11. The race itself was
good but it would have been better to have had some support races
to fill out the evening. I really like the new scoreboard that Mosport
installed for the NCATS race and I was glad to see them using for
the remaining nights of the regular season.
Mosport was also the site for the first race of the Ontario Sportsman
Series. The OSS was created by driver Ron Lethbridge, his father
Ted Lethbridge and Sunset Speedway owner Glenn Lloyd after the death
of the CASCAR Sportsman Series. I was pleased to see the OSS grow
over the year. I wrote an article, with photos, for that first race
Reaume of the Ontario Dirt Late Model series slides through
Brighton's turn 4
I made it to
Brighton Speedway on May 12 and September 7 for the Southern
Ontario Sprints. I also attended Brighton for the 358 Modified
Applefest Shootout. The SOS cars put on their usual good show both
nights. The 3rd annual 358 Modified event added the Ontario Dirt
Late Models for extra action. It was one of the best values for
a spectator's money all year. How can you beat 358 Modifieds and
Dirt Late Models on the same night? I've put together a Brighton
photo gallery that includes some of the regular classes plus
SOS and Late Models.
I visited Ohsweken
Speedway twice in 2007. My first trip was for the World of Outlaws
event on July 25. I cover the WoO event with a few photos in a
dedicated article. I was back at Ohsweken for the Canadian Sprint
Car Nationals on September 15. There was also an article
with a bunch of photos for this event. Both were great nights
I did my now-traditional Humberstone / Merrittville double-header
on the Civic Holiday weekend. I covered this weekend, including
photos in a previous
In August I went on a short vacation to Ottawa with my son. I took
the opportunity to make my first-ever visit to Capital City Speedway.
Uniquely, Capital City runs on Wednesday night. Despite the odd
night, the car count and fan attendance were pretty decent.
I only made it
to Kawartha Speedway twice this year. Both nights were for
the OSCAAR events. I never bothered to take my camera because the
shots don't look good through the fence.
Fellows made his final start in the factory Corvette in ALMS
Over on the
road racing side of things, I atttended several events at the Mosport
road course. The Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship
was a series that evolved out of the Ontario Touring Championship.
They ran at most of the CASC-OR regional weekends at Mosport. The
series featured huge fields and some top quality cars. The CASC-OR
photo gallery features the Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship
along with the other CASC-OR classes. Unfortunately, the open-wheel
classes were not in large attendance on the weekends that I was
there so most of the photos are closed-wheel.
The VARAC Vintage Weekend at the road course in June was
a great event. The featured class was Formula 1. I spent two days
and the track and created this
report with photos.
weekend is the American Le Mans Series weekend in August.
I've attended them all since they started appearing there. The attendance
this year was amazing. The track was absolutely packed. I was only
able to attend on the Sunday of the weekend. The ALMS photos from
the race are located
in this gallery.
Things That Annoyed Me in 2007
The biggest thing that annoyed me this year was myself. I missed
the Autumn Colours Classic at Peterborough for the first
time in many years due to my own stupidity. That morning I had all
my gear ready for the day. I dropped my son off with his mother
and I headed to the track. The weather looked so crappy that I thought
for sure it was going to be cancelled. Since I'm a poor, divorced
man I have to be careful about spending my money. Of course, it
turned out that the entire event was run without rain. Lesson learned
- always go to the track.
Media Coverage: One
thing that really bothered me this year was the way the general
sports Canadian media covered NASCAR. This annoyance is focused
on two different aspects of media coverage: The NASCAR Canadian
Tire Series and the Busch race at Montreal.
Leading up to the Busch race in August the media would have its
readers believe that it was the first NASCAR race ever in
Canada or the first race in almost 50 years. On August 5 Dave Feschuk
of The Toronto Star wrote: "Before yesterday, NASCAR hadn't
brought its cars to Canada since the 1950's". Not to be outdone
in the historically inaccurate department, Toronto Sun writer
Dean McNulty made two mistakes in one sentence when he claimed "While
not an artistic success, the first NASCAR effort in Canada since
Richard Petty won his first race in Toronto in 1958 was popular
with fans." Not
only was McNulty wrong about it being the first NASCAR race in Canada
since 1958, he was wrong about Richard Petty. It was Lee Petty that
won that race. It was Richard's first Grand National start though.
These are only two examples that I kept. Many other writers made
the same mistakes. For the record, numerous NASCAR series have competed
in Canada since the 1950's. These include the Grand National series
(i.e. later called Winston Cup / Nextel Cup / Sprint Cup), Convertible,
short track Late Model, Late Model Sportsman, Super Stock, Winston
West and NASCAR North. I sent an e-mail to McNulty to correct him.
I never heard anything back.
The NASCAR Canadian
Tire Series received a fair bit of good press in 2007. So why does
this bother me, you ask? It's not the quantity but the style that
bothered me. It was presented by many writers as a new series. Realistically,
it was the CASCAR Super Series with a new name. Slapping the NASCAR
label on the series instead of CASCAR did not magically make it
"new". It was basically the same cars (I know there were
some changes but these were not obvious to the casual fan), the
same teams, same drivers and same events. Where were all these reporters
for years when the CASCAR Super Series was putting on a great show
each week? It's unfortunate that the series had to be purchased
by Americans before it was noticed by many of the stick-and-ball
Groups: Well, not all discussion groups but just one
aspect of them. I'm sick of anonymous tools whining on discussion
groups about a particular driver cheating. Of course when asked
for proof, none of these guys have anything more specific than "look
at the chassis" or something similiarly vague. It doesn't seem
to occur to these morons that the drivers in question could possibly
be spending more money / more time / are smarter / are better drivers.
All in all,
2007 was a pretty good season for me. I saw a good mix of oval and
road events as well as a split of dirt tracks and paved tracks.
I was able to add a new track to my list when I visited Capital
City. I saw the World of Outlaws for the first time as well.
Touring Series Seen:
Racing Series Seen:
Mosport International Raceway (road course)
Capital City Speedway
Canadian Vintage Modifieds
Ontario Sportsman Series
Ontario Legends Series
World of Outlaws
Southern Ontario Sprints
DIRT Big Block Modifieds
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series
Ontario Dirt Late Models
Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship
CASC Ontario Regionals
American Le Mans Series
Speed World Challenge Touring
2007 CanadianRacer.com Awards:
Longest Green Flag Run: 94 laps at Merrittville on August
6 for the DIRT Big Block Modified show.
Biggest 50/50 Jackpot: The $6300 at the World of Outlaws
event at Ohsweken wasn't claimed so it was combined with the jackpot
for at the Sprint Car Nationals for a total of over $13,000.
Let's hear about your 2007 season. What tracks did you visit and
what series did you see? What was new, cool or interesting? What
did you like and dislike? It would be great to hear from fans and
drivers from across Canada. What was happening in the Maritimes
or Quebec? What about the Prairies or the west coast?
Leave your comments here.