If having IZOD IndyCar Champion — and two-time winner of the Molson/Honda Indy Toronto — Dario Franchitti at next month’s Canadian Motorsports Expo wasn’t enough, the news today is that NASCAR Nationwide Series champ Brad Keselowski is coming too.
Fans will be able to meet, greet and get an autograph from Keselowski — who’s a pretty good NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star as well — on Sun, Jan. 23, at the International Centre out by Toronto Pearson.
Franchitti will be the headliner at the Expo the day before. The show opens on the Friday evening with a special Ontario stock car racing show built around a late model car belonging to the late — and legendary — “Daytona” Don Biederman and a panel featuring Junior Hanley.
From humble beginnings five years ago, the Canadian Motorsports Expo has become a must-attend event. Held in the dead of winter, the Expo features special guests like Franchitti and Keselowski, manufacturer and speedway displays, panel discussions (translation: arguments) and other attractions that always help to get the juices flowing.
Keselowski — who’s also raced for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s JR Motorsports — made headlines in 2010 with his intense, head-to-head battle with Carl Edwards. In fact, he set an altitude record at Atlanta last spring when Edwards gave his car a love tap exiting turn four, sending it up, up and away.
When Keselowski won the Nationwide title, it gave his car owner, Roger Penske, his first NASCAR championship — which is pretty hard to believe, considering how Penske cars have dominated Indy car racing for much of the last 30 years. Next year, the Michigan native will pilot Penske’s “Blue Deuce” No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge in the Sprint Cup Series.
Just before travelling to Toronto, Keselowski will take part in pre-season testing at the newly-resurfaced Daytona International Speedway, in advance of Speedweeks 2011 and the Daytona 500.
By the way, he won’t be the only NASCAR star appearing north of the border that Jan. 21-23 weekend. Michael Waltrip, who’s now trying to become a standup comedian (there are some who would say that his stock car racing career was pretty much a big joke), will be the headline act at the Caesars Windsor casino on the Saturday night.
The star of Michael Waltrip’s Comedy Garage will undoubtedly have the audience rolling in the aisles as he shoots off one-liners about starting in the NASCAR Cup series in 1985 and not winning a race until 2001 — a record of (what?) zero for 540?