Here are two big pieces of news concerning the Canadian Motorsports Expo, which will be held at the International Centre out by the airport the weekend of Feb. 10-12.
First, NASCAR star Carl Edwards, the guy who finished second to Tony Stewart in last season’s Sprint Cup series, will be at the Expo on Sat., the 11th, between noon and 2 to sign autographs and answer questions from fans.
Actually, although he officially finished second in the Chase to the Championship, Edwards was actually tied with Stewart following the final race but lost because Tony had more wins. Having said that, it was the closest championship battle in NASCAR’s history and Edwards won universal praise for his performances, both on and off the race track.
Said Edwards in a release: “I’m looking forward to coming to Toronto to meet Canadian racing fans at the Canadian Motorsports Expo. I was in kind of a rush the last time I was in Canada, last August. We were doing double-duty that weekend, shuttling back and forth between the Michigan Cup race and the Nationwide race in Montreal (which he won). This time, it’ll be nice to chat with the fans in a more relaxed setting.”
(I’ve just re-read that quote and I hope somebody’s told Carl that there are about 300 miles (500 kms) between Montreal and Toronto. I’ve always found Americans (many of them, anyway) to be a little geographically challenged when they talk about “Canada.” But I digress . . .)
Edwards, who’s won 19 Sprint Cup races, will only drive in the Sprint Cup this season in order to concentrate on winning the title.
Meantime, the other piece of good news is that for the first time, the Honda Indy Toronto is going to have a display at the Expo and fans are going to get an up-close look at the new 2012 Dallara DW12 IndyCar.
This will be the first time Canadian race fans will have the chance to view the long-awaited car, which has been designated the DW12 in honour of the late Dan Wheldon, who was a series champion and two-time winner of the Indy 500 and who did most of the testing of the new chassis.
“Canadian Motorsports Expo visitors are going to be the first in Canada to get a first-hand look at the new road course version of the Dallara DW12 IZOD IndyCar Series car, identical to the ones that will be in action on the streets of Toronto July 6-8,” said the Expo's David Weber.
“The Honda Indy Toronto is one of Canada’s biggest sports and entertainment events and we’re excited to be working with the organizers to promote both the event and Canadian motorsports.”
Located at the core of the Expo’s 80,000-square-foot display area, the Honda Indy Toronto booth will be hosted by event representatives who will be happy to discuss the 2012 race and the new car.
Fellow Canadian and 2011 IndyCar Rookie of the Year James Hinchcliffe – a former Inside Track Readers’ Choice Award winner and current nominee – will be vying for a victory on the streets of Toronto after recently signing with Andretti Autosport.
Another Canadian – 2011 Indy 500 pole-winner Alex Tagliani of Quebec – will also be in action in Toronto in July, having recently signed a deal to race for Bryan Herta Autosport.
Canadian racing veteran Paul Tracy is reportedly still in discussions to contest the full 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule but nothing has been confirmed as of yet for “The Thrill from West Hill.”