Here’s some good news about Canadians in stock cars, karting and European Formula 3.
The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series will close out its season with the Pinty’s 250 presented by Dodge at Kawartha Speedway near Peterborough Saturday evening and the national championship will be won by either D.J. Kennington of St. Thomas, Ont., or J.R. Fitzpatrick of Cambridge.
I hesitate to say that all Kennington has to do is fire up his motor and take the green flag because, well, anything can happen. But for Fitzpatrick to win the title, he will have to win the race and lead the most laps to score maximum points while Kennington will have to finish worse than 19th. That would give them both the same points total but Kennington would win because he won more races — six to Fitzpatrick’s one.
When Kennington won the Canadian Tire race at Riverside Speedway in Nova Scotia last weekend, he tied the record for most wins in one year that was set in 2009 by ex-Indy car star Andrew Ranger of Roxton Pond, Que. Kennington can make the record his own on Saturday if he wins at Kawartha, where he finished first in 2009 and again last year.
“It’s been a phenomenal year,” he said. “I’ve got the best race team out there and they’ve worked tirelessly to make this a possibility. We’ve got one race to go, though, and nothing is clinched yet.”
The Pinty’s 250 will get the green flag at 5 p.m. Saturday.
You’ll recall that in August, I wrote a feature for Toronto Star Wheels on 12-year-old Gianfranco Mazzaferro of Montreal, who is one of Canada’s finest young karters.
I asked Paul Cooke, vice-president of competition and director of karting for ASN Canada FIA, to keep me informed as to Gianfranco’s progress.
Wrote Cooke the other day: “After your article, Gianfranco proceeded to win:
“1. The Eastern Canada Karting Championship;
“2. The Quebec Karting Championship;
“3. And his main goal, the ASN Canada FIA Canadian Karting Championship.”
As a result, Cooke continued, “Gianfranco will be part of Team Canada going to the Rotax World Finals in Portugal at the end of November. He will be an intern, however; there to observe, as he is not yet age-eligible to compete.”
Wow. Way to go “GF,” as his friends call him.
That kid’s going to be World Champion one day. You watch.
Meantime, Ben Cooper, SRA Karting Team Member from Mont-Tremblant, Que., took the top position at the final event of the Rotax European Series DD2 kart class at the Salbris circuit in France last weekend.
And Nicholas Latifi, Sofina Driver Development Program team member from Markham, won the F3 Italia race at Vallelunga, Italy.
Speaking of F3, Gianmarco Raimondo of St. Catharines is leading the 2012 European F3 Open series (a.k.a. Spanish F3) by winning four of the 11 races to date, including one at the Hungaroring two weeks ago. He’s got five second-place finishes and never finished worse than fifth.
Congratulations to all these outstanding young Canadian drivers.
There was an outpouring of support following the feature by Matthew Strader, published in Toronto Star Wheels last weekend, about 13-year-old karter Austin Riley of Uxbridge, who suffers from autism. To inquire about sponsoring Austin, please email his dad, Jason Riley, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And Remember When - The Early Years of Stock Car Racing in Southern Ontario, is now available online. The author, Rick Sharples, grew up around the sport and recently published a fascinating book with stories about the early years at Oakwood Stadium, CNE Stadium, Pinecrest and more. There are profiles of more than 20 drivers with almost 200 illustrations. Remember When is available online at yesterdaysspeedways.com. The price is $28.50 (including shipping and handling); delivery in 4 - 6 weeks.