It’ll be the first Saturday in May in three days, which means it’ll be Derby Day in Louisville and the Indianapolis 500 will only be three weekends away, on May 27.
(Okay, before the phone starts ringing: May 27 is also the day they hold the Grand Prix of Monaco and NASCAR runs the Coca-Cola 600. Happy now?)
Even more important is that it’s only two weeks before the first Long Weekend of the spring and summer arrives and that always means one thing around here, the Victoria Day Speedfest Weekend at Mosport — oops, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park — and the start of serious drag racing at Toronto Motorsports Park out at Cayuga, which this year will be featuring 300 mph Jet Dragsters, 3,000 hp PMRA Pro/Mods, the NAPA Quick 32 Sportsman Series and the PBSS Pro Bike and Sled Series over the three days.
At Mosport, the highlight of the weekend will be the opening race of the 2012 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series season on the road course.
Defending national champion Scott Steckly was out practicing at the legendary circuit north of Bowmanville earlier this week, as were competitors in the Canadian Touring Car Championship and the Trans-Am series, both of which will also be sanctioning races. A race in the relatively new Formula 1000 class is also on the schedule.
At both the Canadian Tire circuit and Cayuga, camping, music and, of course, fireworks are all on tap for the holiday weekend.
Other major events to look forward to at Mosport this year include the 33rd annual International Vintage Racing Festival from June 15-17 — the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series will be at the oval for a race on the Saturday night — and, in July, the Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport featuring the American Le Mans Series will be held.
Of course, non-professional auto racing is featured on many other weekends and free tickets are available by going to the CASC-ON website and downloading same. Check canadiantiremotorsportpark.com for details.
At Cayuga, meantime, the first big highlight of the season (other than Victoria Day, of course) will be the Canadian Nitro Nationals June 22-24 featuring just about every ground-shaking thunder car in captivity.
The feature attraction of the weekend will be a match race between NHRA champions Cruz and Tony Pedregon and if you missed their set-to a year ago, don’t this time because it is a sight and sensation that will stay with you forever.
Please check the torontomotorsportspark.com website for information on other spectacles this summer.
Don’t forget that the Honda Indy Toronto will be held through the streets of the CNE July 6-8. Friday is always a free day, so if you’ve never been, take that opportunity to check things out.
James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, who won the Sunoco Rookie-of-the-Year title in 2011, has replaced Danica Patrick in the Go Daddy car and is having a terrific season. Watching him in action is worth a look.
The big attraction at Ohsweken Speedway on the Six Nations Reserve near Brantford this summer will be the visit by the sprint cars on Monday and Tuesday, July 30 and 31, featuring NASCAR star Tony Stewart.
Actually, “Smoke” will be running with the Corr/Pak sprints on the Monday night and theWorld of Outlaws on the Tuesday. His victory in the WoO feature a year ago was the catalyst for his season-ending run that won him his third NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.
Up to that point, Stewart had won nothing, nowhere. After that, he was tough to beat.
Most southern Ontario speedways are open or getting ready to open. Merrittville Speedway down St. Catharines-Thorold way is in full swing and a highlight of their season will come on June 30 when their Canada Day weekend celebration includes the Empire Super Sprints as well as the crowd favourite 358 modifieds and various support classes.
You can go for supper — Piller’s $1 hot dogs (cheaper than Ikea’s) will be available in the grandstands and a huge fireworks display is on tap.
Delaware Speedway down near London has a big night scheduled for Wed., July 18, when NASCAR stars Michael Waltrip, Clint Bowyer and Travis Pastrana will fly up to do battle against the locals in a Summer Showdown.
If you want an autograph, you’d better sign up early. Go to the website at delawarespeedway.com for details.
There are more than 20 speedways in southern Ontario featuring classes from late models to midgets to sprint cars to thunder cars and bombers. And travelling series like the Outlaw Super Late Models (OSCAAR) never fail to thrill.
Check ‘em all out and mark the special nights down on your calendar. It’s going to be a busy year.