Mississauga’s Ron Fellows was running third in Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Watkins Glen, N.Y., when his JR Motorsports crew chief Tony Eury Jr. gambled on fresh tires for a green-white-checkered finish brought about by a late-race yellow.
When the race ended, Fellows was seventh and although he put on a brave face afterward, he was clearly disappointed and – probably – angry.
The race was won by Kurt Busch, taking the place of regular Penske Nationwide Series driver Brad Keselowski, who’s still recovering from a broken ankle suffered in a testing crash more than a week ago at Road Atlanta.
Busch, who started from pole, was followed home by Jimmie Johnson and Joey Logano.
Fellows went to the pits on Lap 80 of what turned out to be an 85-lap race because of the yellow caused by Eric McClure and Casey Roderick. He was followed in by Logano, Paul Menard and others. The Busch brothers (Kyle had pitted a few laps before the yellow), Carl Edwards and Johnson didn’t pit.
Although he didn’t complain about it later, the crew on Fellows’s car was slow servicing him because Logano, who entered the pits behind him, beat him out. Then, on the restart, he went wide at turn one and Menard got past him.
Although he gave it the old college try, Fellows could do no better than seventh and said afterward that although he’d had fun, he was disappointed, particularly since his sponsor, Canadian Tire, had taken a number of guests to the famous western New York circuit to watch the race.
He promised – or suggested, anyway – a better finish in the Nationwide race at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal next weekend.
Kyle Busch finished fourth, Edwards was fifth, Menard was sixth and then came Fellows.
The other Canadians in the race, Andrew Ranger of Roxton Pond, Que., and J.R. Fitzpatrick of Cambridge finished 37th and 38th after qualifying 20th and 21st.
Fellows and Ranger, meantime, have rides in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the Glen, Fellows qualifying 38th and Ranger 35th. Kyle Busch will start from pole.
Talking about the pole, Dario Franchitti qualified first for Sunday’s IZOD IndyCar Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Saturday, turning a lap of 43:1976 seconds around the one-mile track for a speed of 170:843 miles an hour.
Oriol Servia goes off second with Tony Kanaan third.
In a delightful and smashing performance, Oakville’s James Hinchcliffe qualified fourth – his highest start in an oval-track race since he joined the series in the spring. His time was 43:5168 seconds, or 169:590 mph.
Alex Tagliani of Montreal will start 16th, right behind Danica Patrick, who is top woman in the 26-car field.
British driver Pippa Mann, an Indy Lights veteran who drove in this year’s Indianapolis 500 and then signed a three-race deal with Rahal-Letterman Racing, was taken to hospital following a practice crash today.
She walked to an ambulance after hitting the wall. Diagnosed with an injured foot, she will not be able to start the race on Sunday.