If you're going to be attending the final day of the Canadian International Auto Show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Sunday, and you also happen to be a NASCAR racing fan, you can have your cake and eat it too.
The Toronto Star will be showing Sunday's Daytona 500, starting at noon with the pre-race show and following through from green flag to checkers.
Just go to the Star booth in the lower level of the North Building (that's where all the exotic cars and the Cruise Nationals cars are) any time after noon and the race will be on one of two big screens that are there.
All your favourite NASCAR stars will be racing, from Carl Edwards on pole through Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and back to Juan Pablo Montoya and Danica Patrick, who will be starting at the rear of the field in backup cars because of crashes they suffered in qualifying races.
For those at home, the race - expected to be flagged off at or about 1 p.m. - can be seen on Fox and TSN2.
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!
Posted at 08:55 PM in Auto racing, Auto shows, Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship, Honda Indy Toronto, IZOD IndyCar Series, NASCAR, NASCAR Canadian Tire, Racing, Road racing, Sports, Sports car racing, Stock car racing | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Here are two big pieces of news concerning the Canadian Motorsports Expo, which will be held at the International Centre out by the airport the weekend of Feb. 10-12.
First, NASCAR star Carl Edwards, the guy who finished second to Tony Stewart in last season’s Sprint Cup series, will be at the Expo on Sat., the 11th, between noon and 2 to sign autographs and answer questions from fans.
Actually, although he officially finished second in the Chase to the Championship, Edwards was actually tied with Stewart following the final race but lost because Tony had more wins. Having said that, it was the closest championship battle in NASCAR’s history and Edwards won universal praise for his performances, both on and off the race track.
Said Edwards in a release: “I’m looking forward to coming to Toronto to meet Canadian racing fans at the Canadian Motorsports Expo. I was in kind of a rush the last time I was in Canada, last August. We were doing double-duty that weekend, shuttling back and forth between the Michigan Cup race and the Nationwide race in Montreal (which he won). This time, it’ll be nice to chat with the fans in a more relaxed setting.”
(I’ve just re-read that quote and I hope somebody’s told Carl that there are about 300 miles (500 kms) between Montreal and Toronto. I’ve always found Americans (many of them, anyway) to be a little geographically challenged when they talk about “Canada.” But I digress . . .)
Edwards, who’s won 19 Sprint Cup races, will only drive in the Sprint Cup this season in order to concentrate on winning the title.
Meantime, the other piece of good news is that for the first time, the Honda Indy Toronto is going to have a display at the Expo and fans are going to get an up-close look at the new 2012 Dallara DW12 IndyCar.
This will be the first time Canadian race fans will have the chance to view the long-awaited car, which has been designated the DW12 in honour of the late Dan Wheldon, who was a series champion and two-time winner of the Indy 500 and who did most of the testing of the new chassis.
“Canadian Motorsports Expo visitors are going to be the first in Canada to get a first-hand look at the new road course version of the Dallara DW12 IZOD IndyCar Series car, identical to the ones that will be in action on the streets of Toronto July 6-8,” said the Expo's David Weber.
“The Honda Indy Toronto is one of Canada’s biggest sports and entertainment events and we’re excited to be working with the organizers to promote both the event and Canadian motorsports.”
Located at the core of the Expo’s 80,000-square-foot display area, the Honda Indy Toronto booth will be hosted by event representatives who will be happy to discuss the 2012 race and the new car.
Fellow Canadian and 2011 IndyCar Rookie of the Year James Hinchcliffe – a former Inside Track Readers’ Choice Award winner and current nominee – will be vying for a victory on the streets of Toronto after recently signing with Andretti Autosport.
Another Canadian – 2011 Indy 500 pole-winner Alex Tagliani of Quebec – will also be in action in Toronto in July, having recently signed a deal to race for Bryan Herta Autosport.
Canadian racing veteran Paul Tracy is reportedly still in discussions to contest the full 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule but nothing has been confirmed as of yet for “The Thrill from West Hill.”
The Canadian Motorsports Expo, a mid-January staple in the Toronto area for a number of years now, has been moved to February in 2012 to coincide with Daytona Speedweeks – the unoffical start of the North American racing season – which kick off in Florida with the 24 Hours of Daytona road race and culminate with the biggest stock car race of the season, the Daytona 500.
Powered by organizers Inside Track Motorsport News, the sixth annual Expo will take place Feb. 10, 11 and 12 at the International Centre in Mississauga, which is adjacent to Pearson International Airport on Dixon/Airport Road.
Organizers say the new date was chosen to fall in between the 50th anniversary of the Daytona 24 weekend (Jan. 21-29) and the 54th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 26 when "Canadian racers and rans are making their plans and purchasing decisions for the upcoming racing season."
In addition to the new date, the Expo – which originated in 2007 at the Toronto Congress Centre – is moving to a bigger hall at the International Centre. Hall 6 (80,000 square feet) is more wide open than the show’s former space, which means the exhibition will be able to accommodate more exhibitors, tracks, series, vendors and racing vehicles.
"We’re just inside of two months to go until show time and the response to the 6th annual Expo has been fantastic," said organizer Greg MacPherson.
"So far, almost 80 per cent of the available exhibitor space has been sold. The racing industry is really getting behind the CME and has responded positively to the new February date and the move to Hall 6. We have some great new partners and features to announce in the coming weeks."
On opening day, (Fri., Feb. 10), highlights will include the presentation of the Inside Track Readers’ Choice Awards and Spencer Lewis’ Ontario Asphalt Power Rankings Top 10 Awards.
Saturday’s schedule will feature the celebrity racer Q&A and autograph sessions and the Meet the Media Fan Forum, among other presentations.
(Although the identities of this year’s special celebrity guests have yet to be announced, the Expo has a reputation for attracting top-drawer talent. In previous years, drivers like Jacques Villeneuve, Matt Kenseth, Paul Tracy, Brad Keselowski, Dario Franchitti, Max Papis, Derek Daly, Miguel & Yvon Duhamel, Ron Fellows and others have made appearances.)
On the Sunday (Feb. 12), a CASCAR reunion is planned. Fans, owners, drivers and crew members from the series that recently became the NASCAR Canadian Tire Seires are invited and CASCAR founder Tony Novotny and several well-known racing personalities will take a trip down memory lane.
The Expo has also featured world-famous racing machines, including the NASCAR Sprint Cup cars of Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon, as well as F1 and IndyCar racing machines.
With awards presentations as well as equipment suppliers and collectible vendors displaying their wares, the Expo has something on offer for every racer and fan and is an ideal venue for businesses looking to jump start their sales, marketing and promotional campaigns in front of their most motivated customers.
"For this year’s show, we’ve introduced an online, interactive floor plan that lets exhibitors and sponsors see what space and properties are still available, on a real-time basis," said the Expo’s Mike Galipeau.
"We encourage anyone who thinks their business could benefit from being part of the show to check out the ‘Exhibitor Info’ page at www.CanadianMotorsportExpo.com and then contact us at 416-962-7223 or email@example.com
It's always a great show. Hope to see you there.
Posted at 09:58 PM in Auto racing, Auto shows, Canadian Motorsports Expo, Formula One, IZOD IndyCar Series, NASCAR, NASCAR Canadian Tire, Racing, Racing media, Sports | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
I have been a General Motors man just about my entire life. My Dad drove nothing but Chevs and Pontiacs and I followed.
With the exception of one Ford in the late 1950s, and a Plymouth for about six months in the ‘70s, there have been nothing but GM products in my garage.
The greatest vehicle I ever owned was a 1982 Chevrolet Beaumont van. It had V8 horsepower and was big enough to carry a small army. It was nice and high, so that when you drove into the parking lot at the shopping mall, you could look over the tops of all the pipsqueak cars and find a parking spot close to the doors.
I also used to pull a trailer with that van that had my supermodified racing car in it. That race car was powered by one of the two 465 c.i. big block Chevy engines that I owned. It was a bomb.
I loved that van so much that when I win the lottery, I’m going to have GM build me one specially; if they won’t do it, I’ll get somebody to restore one for me.
I have been – and remain – loyal to GM to a fault. So I think this loyalty allows me the anger that follows because General Motors has browned me right off.
Toronto is the only metropolitan city in North America with four successful daily newspapers, each of which publishes a serious automobile supplement each week. When I say serious, I mean they contain reviews, breaking news, opinion, competition – you name it and it’s in them.
Toronto Star Wheels was the first (and remains the best) but Globe Auto, the National Post’s Driving and the Sun’s Autos sections are all in play and are successful.
No other North American city is served by so many newspapers with so many stand-alone sections devoted to coverage of the automobile industry. And hard as it might be to believe, the auto industry is still covered primarily by print. Radio and TV might pay lip service, but the electronic media - as in everything - are here one second and gone the next. Newspapers (and, to be fair, the motoring magazines) stick around to tell the whole story.
Tomorrow – Thursday – the Canadian International AutoShow (better known as the Toronto auto show), will hold its media preview day at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and it will be open to the public on Friday. From what I understand, there is going to be lots to see and do at the auto show, but unlike the auto shows that preceded it in Los Angeles, Detroit, Montreal and Chicago, there will be no first-time-ever "debuts" or "unveilings."
Now, Canada doesn’t have its own car company. We used to, back when they invented the automobile, but no more.
However, we do have our own "car." The Chevrolet Camaro is made exclusively in Canada, at the General Motors plant in Oshawa.
The Camaro has become a bit of a Canadian icon. And it’s arguably the most famous "muscle" car on the continent. In fact, the Camaro convertible is going to be the pace car at this year’s 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500. And NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rick Hendrick flew up here just a couple of weeks ago to take possession of the first two or three 2012 models that rolled off the line.
So where did GM decide to debut the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro? To announce to the world that it had arrived?
Chicago, that’s where.
To do it in Detroit or L.A. would have been bad enough. But Chicago?
To paraphrase Al Capone: "I don’t know what street Chicago’s on."
They did that last Wednesday. If they’d waited eight days, they could have done it in Toronto tomorrow.
And why should they have done it in Toronto?
Because the car is made about 40 kms east of the Canadian International AutoShow, in nearby Oshawa.
There is a huge auto show in Toronto.
There are four daily newspapers, all with special automobile sections, to cover it.
And because the taxpayers of Canada – in part – kept General Motors going a couple of years ago, they owed it to us.