I'm live-blogging from the Canadian Motorsport Expo this weekend - got going a bit yesterday but had to make a pit stop (my daughter is in the process of giving birth) - and will be back out at The International Centre in Mississauga later this morning to keep up with the news.
If you want to stay current with what's happening, please click here.
Meantime, there were several announcements of note (and of significance) Friday:
- Tagliani Autosport, a new auto racing brand and entity formed by veteran Canadian IndyCar, NASCAR and SportsCar racer, race winner and Indianapolis 500 pole sitter Alex Tagliani, officially announced a new entry to return to the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series for the 2014 season.
Sanctioned by CASC–Ontario Region, the promoters are bringing back to life an amazing series that played a significant role in driver development in Canada during the 1980s and '90s.
“The series will be well-organized, well-promoted and provide a cost effective series for experienced formula car racers and young drivers alike,” Sharpe said, adding that the plan is to start small with four races this season and then expand nationally as the series evolves.
I'm particularly interested in this initiative. I've been talking on and off in recent years with people experienced in launching and promoting auto racing about a national open-wheel series - Canada's racing heritage is open-wheel, open-cockpit from coast-to-coast - and couldn't be more pleased to see people like Sharpe and Dale take the bull by the horns and get something going.
More about this, also, as the racing season gets closer.
- The Canadian Touring Car Championship announced that Continental Tire Canada has extended its presenting partnership for three more years.
John Bondar, founder and president of Canada's premier professional sports car racing series, said the key advantage of the partnership is the Continental ExtremeContact race tire, which will continue to be the official and exclusive tire of CTCC.
The tires have proven to be able to handle the extreme challenges of touring car racing and the drivers have come to rely on their performance on the track to give the fans the best racing experience, Bondar added.
- There is lots to see and tons of people to talk to at the Expo, which is in Hall 5 of The International Centre. Hall 5 is around the back, so when you enter the property off Airport Road, just keep going.
Here's a brief summary of everything going on today. And don't forget - there are dozens of exhibits and exhibitors at the Expo.
10:45 to 11:45 a.m. (on the Inside Track Stage) - Stock Car Promoter Panel featuring Mark Dilley (Sunset Speedway), JP Josiasse (Peterborough Speedway), Glenn Styres (Ohsweken Speedway), Charles Priestley (Hurricane Midgets)
12:00 to 12:30 - Alex Tagliani tells the fans about his new NASCAR Canadian Tire Series team and sponsorship, which was unveiled Friday at the CME.
12:45 to 1:15 - NASCAR Sprint Cup star Ryan Newman will take to the CME stage for a Q&A with the fans. Newman will drive for Richard Childress Racing in 2014. Next weekend, he’ll take part in qualifying at Daytona in search of his second career Daytona 500 win.
2:15 to 3:00 - The Road Racing Panel Discussion featuring Robert Giannou (Targa Newfoundland), Rob Reeves (Castrol Raceway), John Bondar (Canadian Touring Car Championship), Perry Iannuzzi and Gary Wood (CASC-OR), and Jason Sharpe (Toyo F1600 and the newly announced Canadian F2000 Championship).
3:15 to 4:30 - The Meet the Media Panel. Hosted by Todd Lewis, participants Norris McDonald (Toronto Star Wheels - that's me), Angie Skinner (SiriusXM’s NASCAR Radio), Erik Tomas (Raceline Radio), Michele-Marie Beer (Open Wheel World), Tim Miller (Hamilton Spectator/Inside Track Motorsport News/Toronto Star Wheels) take part in an always-spirited discussion about timely racing topics.
4:45 to 5:15 (In the Aviation C Seminar Room) Hosted by Gary Wood, an exciting new motorsport event will be unveiled by the Canadian Automobile Sport Clubs, Ontario Region (CASC-OR). Called the "Ontario 1500 Motorsport Adventure," the event is for up to 60 teams, comprised of two to four drivers, who will share a street legal sports/performance car.
Taking place over seven consecutive days, the teams will test their skills at some of Ontario’s top road courses and drag strips (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (2x), Calabogie Motorsport Park, Shannonville Motorsport Park, Picton Airport, Toronto Motorsport Park and Grand Bend Motorplex, the teams will be challenged by eight Time Attack, four Autoslalom and two Drag Race event stages.
Sounds terrific, doesn't it?
- NORRIS McDONALD