Carl Edwards, Robert Yates, Randy Lajoie, James Hinchcliffe and Ron Fellows are just some of the many racing greats who will be in attendance at this weekend’s sixth annual Canadian Motorsports Expo at the International Centre in Mississauga.
Adjacent to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, the Expo, now presented by Inside Track Motorsport News, will kick off Friday at 1 p.m. and continue through until Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m.
Doors open Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m.
The action will be just about non-stop throughout the weekend.
The Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship is planning a major announcement shortly after the show opens Friday. And the Honda Indy Toronto display — and it’s nice to see that event involved with the Expo — will unveil one of the new-for-2012 Dallara DW12 Indy cars that will be in action at the CNE in July.
Friday evening, the Inside Track Readers’ Choice Awards will be presented, as well as Spencer Lewis’ Ontario Asphalt Power Rankings Top 10 Awards. Special guest will be former NASCAR racer Lajoie.
Saturday at noon, sharp, NASCAR superstar Carl Edwards will take Centre Stage for a question-and-answer period followed by an autograph session. But listen up: if you want an autograph, you will have to get to the Expo early in order to get one of the 150 autograph “badges” that will be handed out. The rules are too complicated to go into completely here, but don’t say you weren’t warned. For complete details of the Edwards appearance, which is being timed to the minute, go to the show’s website.
After the Edwards riot — I mean, appearance — the annual media panel discussion will take place. This is when Toronto's racing reporters try not to insult each other too much. In my case, I really try to look as if I know what I’m talking about, which - as anybody who knows me knows - can sometimes be difficult. Thank goodness F1 expert Gerald Donaldson, Toronto Sun reporter Dean McNulty and Jeff Pappone of the Globe and Mail will be there to add some dignity (and legitimacy) to the proceedings.
At some point on Saturday afternoon, Fellows — one of three people who purchased Mosport International Raceway last summer — will discuss plans that he and his partners have for the legendary circuit north of Bowmanville. There has been all sorts of speculation as to what’s going to happen there, so just about everybody will be keen to hear what he has to say.
Sunday, IndyCar rookie of the year Hinchcliffe, of Oakville, will be the special guest. As well, a reunion of CASCAR officials, racers, crew and fans is planned for 3 p.m. following a NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Q & A and autograph session. CASCAR founder Tony Novotny, five-time national champion Don Thomson Jr., Dan Shirtliff, Alex Nagy and Kelly Williams are among the former racers who’ve confirmed their attendance.
Also on tap:
— Legendary NASCAR engine builder Robert Yates will be at the Canadian Tire booth and on the Mazda Stage Saturday.
— Seminars, from “how to get involved in karting” to expert technical seminars featuring guys like Darrick Dong, Performance Friction Brakes’ Director of Motorsports, will be held.
— Sunday morning, a technical forum will be held on stage with Grand Am racing star Scott Maxwell and several other experts discussing what it takes to do a fast lap around Mosport, considering the balance you need to strike between the tires, chassis, suspensions, brakes, driver feedback, etc. Steve Scala will moderate, and participants will include Dong, Larry Holt of Multimatic Motorsports, Ian Willis of AIM Autosport and others.
- Mazda Canada will unveil details of a Canadian grassroots contingency program for Canadian road racers. They’re also putting on a sponsorship and marketing seminar.
- And a little bird told me that up-and-coming Canadian Formula One driver Robert Wickens might drop in on Saturday.
Wow. See you there!