That headline got your attention, didn't it?
But first . . .
Stock car racer J.R. Fitzpatrick of Cambridge plans to spend a lot of time on the road this weekend.
Saturday afternoon, he's entered in the 200-mile NASCAR Nartionwide Series race at Road America in Wisconsin. Then he'll drive nearly 500 miles overnight to Mosport International Raceway north of Bowmanville where he’ll race 125 miles in the Vortex Brake Pads 200 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race on Sunday afternoon.
It’s best to try that sort of thing when you’re young, which – at 23 – Fitzpatrick is.
This has been done before, of course.
Last May, Ron Fellows was in California on Saturday. He flew to Calgary, flew on to Toronto and then drove to Mosport for an SCCA Pro Racing World Challenge race on Sunday, which he won. And Kitzpatrick himself raced at Michigan Speedway in a Saturday Nationwide race in 2009 (he crashed) before driving overnight to Mosport for a NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race on Sunday, in which he finished third.
But it’s still a long haul from rural Wisconsin to semi-rural sout-eastern Ontario and it’s hoped that the talented Fitzpatrick will have someone along to spell him off from doing all the highway driving himself.
The Nationwide race at Road America Saturday (5 p.m., TSN2) will feature several of NASCAR’s hot shots. Carl Edwards (who won this race last year), Elliot Sadler and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will be out to defend America’s honour against four talented Canadian challengers — Fitzpatrick, Fellows of Mississauga, Andrew Ranger of Roxton Pond, Que., and Jacques Villeneuve of Montreal.
I would go so far as to suggest that all four Canadians stand an excellent chance of either winning the race, or finishing in the Top Ten.
Other weekend racing action, with TV times:
— The Grand Prix of Europe will be held in Valencia, Spain, on Sunday (7:55 a.m., TSN) and the big question will be whether Sebastien Vettel can regain his confidence after being forced into making a mistake by Jenson Button on the last lap at the Grand Prix of Canada in Montreal two weeks ago.
Qualifying will be held Saturday (also at 7:55 a.m. on TSN) and those results will be interesting, if second-practice times are any indication.
Fernando Alonso was fastest today, followed by Lewis Hamilton, Vettel, Michael Schumacher, Felipe Massa, Button and Mark Webber (who'd been fastest in first practice).
You know, Schumacher is getting faster and faster and I suspect a podium is not far off for him.
Before we leave F1, it looks like the U.S. GP at Austin, Tex., next June is toast. Austin city council had to approve the race last night in order for promoters to trigger access to public money to pay the sanctioning fee of $25 million (how does Ecclestone do it?). Anyway, that didn’t happen and the vote will now be held next Wednesday night after a new councilor, who holds the deciding vote and is against the race, will be sworn in.
— The IZOD IndyCar Series race this weekend is on the oval at Iowa and can be seen Saturday night under the lights on TSN2 at 9 p.m.
I wonder what the drivers will find to complain about this week? I can tell you one thing: there’s much talk in the garage area about Sam Schmidt Motorsport and cheating in the Indy Lights series, as well as the big league. One Lights team reportedly left the series because of this.
It didn’t help the rumour mill at all when it was announced Thursday that Indy Lights officials had penalized the No. 77 car of Sam Schmidt Motorsports for failing post-race inspection following last Sunday's race at The Milwaukee Mile. The team has been docked points and fined.
IndyCar officials had previously insisted that no one was cheating.
Meantime, Will Power and Dario Franchitti are tied atop the IndyCar standings with 271 points. Oriol Servia is third, 73 points behind. Scott Dixon is three points behind Servia, followed by Graham Rahal (176), Tony Kanaan (171) Ryan Briscoe (165) and Alex Tagliani of Montreal (147). James Hinchliffe of Oakville stands 16th, with 120 points.
The Iowa race is the last IndyCar race before Toronto. The Honda Indy Toronto is now only two weeks away.
— The NASCAR Sprint Cup race from California – a road race, at that, and they are always very exciting – can be seen on TSN2 at 2 p.m. Sunday. It will be preceded by a tape-delay at 1 p.m. of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race from Delaware.
Of course the Canadian Tire Series race Sunday at Mosport will be recorded for telecast at a later date but why not drive out to see it live and in person? As well as the stock cars on the road course, two races in the Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship are on offer as is open wheel action, with the Ontario Formula Ford Championship providing the entertainment.
The headline NASCAR Canada race goes at 1:30 Sunday afternoon, to be followed by the touring car and the Ford races.