Here is my rant for today:
Years ago, when the Toyota Atlantic Series was primarily Canadian, with numerous Canadian drivers and a Canadian sponsor, the marketing and the public relations were handled by a U.S. company.
So early one season, I received a fax (remember those?) of the entry list for the Atlantic race in support of the CART Long Beach Grand Prix. It had a whole bunch of American drivers from some of the most obscure places in that country, identified by their hometowns. For example, “Jimmy Vasser, Canoga Park, Calif.”
It also had a whole bunch of Canadian drivers — Jacques Villeneuve Sr., Trevor Siebert, Claude Bourbonnais and Stephane Proulx, among others — from one place: “Canada.”
I naturally had to write a column suggesting that it wouldn’t be all that hard to list the hometowns of those Canadian drivers — they’re not from Mars, you know?
But I also suggested that perhaps the reason the American PR firm hadn't gone to that trouble was because the employees who prepared the list were so geographically challenged that perhaps they didn’t know enough about Canada to realize there were actually towns and cities up this way.
Over the years, I — like other Canadians — have continued to be bemused (shocked is too strong a word) by the ignorance displayed toward this country by many Americans.
I won’t embarrass him by naming him, but the guy who runs one of the four major auto racing series in North America said these exact words to me two years ago when I was talking to him about TV coverage of his series: “You don’t get ESPN2 in Canada?”
And I have an American friend — a good friend, in fact, whom I wish I could spend more time with and who is no dummy when it comes to Canada — who has a stepdaughter who knows absolutely nothing, and I mean, nothing about this place.
It’s not her fault; Canada is not important enough to most American educators for it to be included in curriculums. And I don’t necessarily think it’s ignorance on the part of many American adults; I think it’s disinterest. They could care less.
I accept this, for the most part.
But here I come again with the race entry list thing.
Some things never change, apparently.
The American Le Mans Series has issued the list of the 36 cars that are entered in the upcoming race at Road America. I looked at it out of curiosity because there are seven or more cars entered there than showed up for the race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park a few weeks ago and I was wondering where they’d come from.
And then I started looking for the names of Canadian drivers. I found Tony Burgess from Toronto and Kyle Marcelli from Barrie and then I was stopped cold by this:
Kuno Wittmer, Montreal, ON.
Does anybody know how something like that can happen?