Michael Adams, who is leading the Ontario Toyo Tires F1600 Series Championship going into this weekend’s races at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, was a busy driver on Canadian Grand Prix weekend in Montreal. He finished fifth in the first FF race, backing off with an overheating engine, and was sixth in the second race. As you can see, he was in some pretty good company as he waited to go onto the track for the first race.
I — and others — frequently refer to the last Sunday in May as the greatest day in auto racing.
I mean, it’s hard to beat the Indianapolis 500, Coca-Cola 600 and the Grand Prix of Monaco all happening on the same date.
But then, along comes a weekend like this one.
I mean, everything is happening this weekend. Here’s a quick rundown:
- In Formula One, the Grand Prix of Europe will be held Sunday at Valencia, Spain. Will there be eight winners in eight races? Michael Schumacher has yet to win this year (or since he started his comeback, for that matter) and some people think he stands a chance. It would be exciting, wouldn’t it? See “George’s TV listings for race fans” for times and channel.
- In the IZOD IndyCar Series, the last race before the Honda Indy Toronto (which will happen in two weeks) will be held at the Iowa Speedway Saturday night (see “George’s TV listings, etc.). Oakville’s James Hinchcliffe is second in the standings and could improve his position dramatically by the time the checkers fly. Heat races to set the field instead of time trials have tongues wagging.
- NASCAR is in California for the first of two road course races this season, which are always more interesting than most of the ovals anyway. The Sprint Cup race at Sonoma Sunday afternoon (see George’s) will be the first since the seas parted in Michigan last weekend and Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove through them and straight into Victory Lane. With due respect, he ain’t gonna win this week.
Meantime, the Nationwide Series will be at Road America in Wisconsin on Saturday and our own Jacques Villeneuve and Ron Fellows will be in action. It's on TV, too.
- The Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series is also at Road America this weekend (see George’s, etc. — but you'd best look soon because it’s a Saturday noon start . . .) and of particular interest to Toronto-area race fans is the performance to date of drivers Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato in the No. 69 AIM Autosport of Woodbridge Team FXDD Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am. In leading the GT class standings, Segal and Assentato have won two races this season, at Miami and New Jersey, and have been on the podium four times in six races.
So that’s a pretty outstanding lineup of international races that can be seen on TV in your living room.
But there’s also some pretty incredible local racing on offer this weekend, as well. How’s this for a menu?
- The first two rounds of the Northern Summer Nationals Sprint Car series will take place this weekend, with Friday night racing at Ohsweken Speedway near Brantford and Saturday at South Buxton Raceway near Chatham. Three affiliated sanctioning bodies have officially signed up for the series, including Ohsweken’s Corr/Pak Merchandising Sprint Car division, along with the Southern Ontario Sprints club and the Patriot Sprint Tour. NHRA drag racing star Cruz Pedregon will pilot a car entered by Ohsweken owner Glenn Styres on Friday night. For more information, click here
- At Toronto Motorsports Park near Cayuga, the annual Canadian Nitro Nationals will be held featuring nitro Funny Cars, Top Fuel dragsters, alcohol Funny Cars, jet dragsters, the Pro Modified Racing Association, the Quick 32 Sportsman Series and the Pro Bike and Sled Series. Cruz Pedregon and his brother Tony will line their NHRA Funny Cars up for a couple of exhibition runs. For more info, click here
- At Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (formerly Mosport), the Pirelli World Challenge (GT, GTS, Touring and a new class for 2012, B-Spec) will bring their “Sports Car Wars” north of the border to headline the CTMP’s Sports Car Doubleheader Weekend. Also in action will be the action-packed Porsche 944 Cup and the Ontario Formula Ford Championship F1600. For information, click here
- At Shannonville Motorsport Park near Belleville, the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship is going to have a strange look when the 2012 season opens this weekend. For the first time since 2006, Jordan Szoke will not be wearing the No. 1 plate on his motorcycle. After a record-breaking string of five straight national championships between 2006 and 2010, the Brantford ace was beaten to the title last season by Brett McCormick of Saskatoon. While McCormick has moved on to the World Superbike wars, Szoke will be looking to reclaim the top spot in Canadian motorcycle road racing this summer. For information, click here
- At Delaware Speedway near London, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series will be racing Saturday night. They had 21 starters at the Speedway at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park last weekend and when I complained that the number was low, some of my critics said it was because the facility wasn’t up to par. Well, Delaware is a good track, so we’ll see this weekend who’s right. More than 21 entries? We’ll see. For more information about the event, click here.