Sports car racer Mike Skeen set fastest time in practice this afternoon for Sunday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race with Mexican road racer German Quiroga second.
But the surprise of the day was the performance of third-place fast practicer Ryan Blaney, whose previous road-racing experience came in an ARCA stock car race at Road America. But compared to the other two in the top three - both of whom are very experienced at turning right as well as left, and shifing gears - Blaney is a raw rookie.
Skeen and Quiroga were one-two in the two-hour morning practice session while Blaney was sixth behind, among others, ex-CART and sports car racer Max Papis. Blaney's best lap in the morning session was 83.394 econds but he improved to 82.185 seconds after lunch.
Other Camping World Series regulars picked up their socks in the afternoon session as well. Miguel Paludo, Ty Dillon and Chase Elliott held positions four through six while Joey Coulter was seventh. Defending series champion James Buescher improved from 13th place in the morning to ninth in the afternoon.
Skeen turned the fastest lap in the morning of 82.795 seconds, which translated into a speed of 106.919 miles an hour. In the afternoon, he went 81.449 seconds (108.686 mph).
Skeen, who won the last four Pirellie World Challenge races here at Canadian Tire Motorpsort Park, didn't turn many laps. He either didn't need the practice or else the truck he's driving might not be as reliable as he would like.
Blaney is the son of Dave Blaney, a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver whose background is sprint car racing on dirt and who owns a small dirt speedway.
On-track activity is over for the day, although more and more campers continue to arrive.
Saturday, there will be more truck series practice as well as practice and qualifying for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series stock cars. The Canadian Touring Car Series will go right into qualifying and will actually race in mid-afternoon. Late in the day Saturday, the truck seris will qualify for Sunday's race.
Hello from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and welcome to wheels.ca's non-stop coverage of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series weekend.
Wheels writers Norris McDonald, Stephanie Wallcraft and Gary Grant will post photos, news, gossip and everything else they come across throughout the day and all weekend. They will be joined Saturday and Sunday by another Wheels writer, Matthew Strader.
Just as an FYI, sports car driver Mike Skeen was fastest in the first two-hour practice. He lapped the 2.459-mile Old Mosport circuit in 82.795 seconds, which translates into a speed of 106.919 miles an hour. German Quiroga was second fastest (he's a three-time NASCAR Mexican stock car series champion and he's running full-time in the trucks this season) and road-racing veteran Max Papis was third out off the box.
The NASCAR contingent is in the Lower Paddock at CTMP and while the public can watch from the outside, passes are required to gain entry. This will be a change for most fans who attend races regularly at Old Mosport because paddock access is allowed by other series.
The Upper Paddock is empty; the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series stock cars and the Canadian Touring Car Championship cars and drivers won't be arriving till later today.
The weekend is being sponsored by General Motors and the headline race is called the Chevrolet Silverado 250. It was ironic, then, that the first truck on the circuit today - in leading seven Durham Regional EMS ambulances around - was a Ford F350 heavy duty pickup.
Although the situation has improved, dense fog enveloped the circuit this morning and brought back memories of the 1972 Canadian Grand Prix when the Formula One race, scheduled for 1 p.m., didn't get started until after 3:30 in the afternoon because of heavy rain and fog. Back then, organizers - who were tired of waiting, finally sent all 32 F1 cars out to do laps and, hopefully, blow away the fog and it worked. Thankfully, that didn't have to happen today.
Here is a rundown of all the other racing going on this weekend - and there is a ton of it.
The IZOD IndyCar Series is racing in Baltimore, with the race scheduled for
Sunday. Let's hope everybody - the drivers and the officials - do a better job than they did last weekend out at Sonoma Raceway in California, which I'm sure just about everybody would like to forget (except Willl Power, who won it).
The NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series are both at Atlanta Motor Speedway for their annual, and traditional, Labour Day weekend stop. The Sprint Cup race (a Sunday night tradition, by the way) is of particular importance because there are only two races left before the Chase - Sunday night's being one - and the chips are down. Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski, the defending champion, are not in the playoffs, at this point, And Dale Earnhardt Jr. has expressed concern about whether or not he can hang in there.
Gordon, by the way, lost one of his tour buses to fire while it was being driven to Atlanta.
Labour Day weekend, of course, is when the annual Budweiser International Classic for supermodifieds is held at Oswego Speedway in Oswego, N.Y. As someone who raced at Oswego, and then announced there for years and years, it has been my summertime home and away from home and if I wasn't going to be at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for the NASCAR trucks, that is the place I would be instead.
Labour Day has always been a big weekend for drag racing and this year is no exception. The Teamsters Canada Local 879 “Thunder by the Beach” meet will be held at the Grand Bend Motorplex in Grand Bend over on the shores of Lake Huron and will feature the Quick 32 Sportsman Series as well as Top Fuel Dragster Nitro Nostalgia Funny Cars, the return of the popular Jet Trains and the Grand Bend Motorsport Thunder Series, Extreme 32 Series and Junior Series, plus Fireworks.
This Old Mosport race fan brought the "General Lee" with him or her.