Great news on two Canadian racing fronts today.
Stock car driver J.R. Fitzpatrick of Cambridge has landed a ride for Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Daytona. He’ll be driving the #27 Baker Curb Racing Ford Mustang in the DRIVE4COPD 300, which will go to the post the day before the Daytona 500.
The 22-year-old runner-up
in the 2010 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series will be the only Canadian in Saturday’s race and will be sponsored by long-time partner Schick Canada as well as Energizer Canada Inc.
Fitzpatrick, who scored two top-10 Nationwide Series finishes last year while driving for JR Motorsports, is champing at the bit to take on some of NASCAR’s biggest names
“I can’t think of a better race to start the new season with,” Fitzpatrick said in a release. “Daytona boasts an atmosphere like no other and to be in a race with the opportunity to compete against guys like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart is fantastic. I’ve raced at Daytona before, a couple of years ago in the Truck Series, and ran well, leading the most laps in that event before taking fourth.”
That’s a bit of an understatement: he dominated that 2009 Camping World Series race in the later stages and with a little luck could have won it. I can still hear announcer Michael Waltrip shouting out Fitzpatrick’s performance.
The DRIVE4COPD 300 gets the green flag Saturday at 1:15 p.m. EST. The pre-race show will start at noon on TSN2.
Meantime, retired boat racing star Ted Gryguc of Woodbridge is heading back to the big time.
He’s the mentor and coach of young Florida driver Shaun Torrente (pictured), who will team this year with Swedish driver Jonas Andersson starting at the opening race of the 2011 Formula One World Championship boat series, the Grand Prix of Qatar, on March 4-5.
The 31-year-old Torrente has 31 North American F1 career starts and has won a third of his races and currently sits seventh overall on the all-time winning drivers list.
He’ll be coached by Gryguc, a member of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame who won various championships when he was an active driver in the 1980s and ‘90s.
“Ted and I are close and we work well together,” Torrente said in a release. “I know this is going to be a learning curve for the whole team but it’s challenges like this that make me want to push even harder to reach the success we expect at each event.”
Gryguc (he and Torrente had an F1 boat display at the Canadian Motorsports Expo two years ago) was Canada 's most prominent outboard racer from the late-1980s through his retirement in 1999. He won six Canadian High Point Championships and five Canadian National Championships and was the Mod VP World Champion.
In 1995, Gryguc bought a Formula 1 tunnel boat and captured three Canadian National Championships and three Canadian High Point Championships between 1995 and 1999 before calling it a day.