Here are a few nuggets to chew on, on a sleepy Saturday morning:
– Kenny Wilden of Oakville won the Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge Series Grand Sport championship at Virginia International Raceway last weekend. And the Toronto-based Compass360 Racing Team won the Street Tuner team championship, with team owner Karl Thomson co-driving to the class championship with Christian Miller. More on Wilden and Thomson in future.
– Gil de Ferran, one of the nicest guys in the business to interview (and there are a whole bunch who aren’t, trust me), is retiring as a driver after this weekend’s American LeMans Series race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. He’s going out on a high note: he edged David Brabham for the pole in Friday qualifying. You can watch the race on Speed Channel Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
– Dario Franchitti won the pole for today’s Indy car finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida. Scott Dixon is beside him on the front row and Ryan Briscoe is directly behind on the inside of row two. Those three and those three only are in contention for the series championship, which will be settled late this afternoon (tape-delay on TSN2 at 7 p.m.).
– Mark Wilkins of Toronto and American Burt Friselle are currently sitting sixth in the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series standings. They will be shooting to finish higher in the final standings when they take to the track just after noon today (Speed Channel, 1 p.m.) in their AIM Autosport of Woodbridge Riley-Ford No. 61 Daytona Prototype for the Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
– Justin Martin of Shedden, Ont., put together a strong and consistent season to claim his first Southern Ontario Sprints championship. The 21-year-old didn’t finish outside the top ten in any SOS feature in 2009. Adam West of Ridgetown finished second and Warren Mahoney of Lefroy, Ont., was third. Martin and the others were honoured at a gala banquet and awards ceremony held last weekend at Brantford’s Best Western Brant Park Inn.
Dick Mahoney of Newmarket, who’s as old as I am (making him 150, give or take a year or two), finished seventh in the standings. 'The Pig' had two top ten finishes in ‘09.
– Kyle Marcelli of Barrie, who finished the American Le Mans Series IMSA Lites season strongly with victories at Mosport and Road Atlanta (on Petit Le Mans weekend), is driving in the open-wheel Star Mazda Series race at Laguna Seca this weekend. Marcelli is everywhere, it seems.
– With the Rally of the Tall Pines in Bancroft just around the corner, Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard of Ste-Jean-sur-Richeleu, Que., hold a slim, six-point lead after finishing second in the Pacific Forest Rally last weekend in B.C. That rally was won by Pat Richard of Squamish, B.C., with Alan Ockwell of Toronto co-driving.
-- Denny Hamlin is one the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at California Speedway on Sunday afternoon (TSN2, 2:30 p.m.). The big news is that Dale Earnhardt Jr. told reporters in California that his company has had talks with Danica Patrick about running a partial stock-car schedule in 2010.