A record number of drivers – 37, to be exact – have entered the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal the weekend of Aug. 19-20.
The Canadian Tire race , which is part of the annual NASCAR Nationwide Series visit to the track on Ilse Notre-Dame, had 33 drivers line up for the Honda Indy Toronto and four more will take the green flag in the Montreal race including Quebec IndyCar star Alex Tagliani.
"Tags" won’t be the only big name in Montreal that weekend. The Nationwide race – officially called the NAPA Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge – will feature Jacques Villeneuve, Ron Fellows (he won this race a couple of years ago), Patrick Carpentier (he says it will be his last race and he will retire once it’s over), Danica Patrick (she may announce her full-time move to NASCAR in 2012 at this event), Reed Sorenson, Carl Edwards, Elliott Sadler and Marcos Ambrose, among others.
The Canadian Tire Series regulars – defending champion D.J. Kennington, current points leader Scott Steckly, two-time champion Andrew Ranger, J.R. Fitzpatrick (he and Ranger will do double duty by racing in the Nationwide event, as well as the Canadian Tire round), Robin Buck, Isabelle Tremblay, Kerry Micks (he won the inaugural race in 2007) – will be joined by former Montreal Canadiens defenceman Patrice Brisebois and five-time CASCAR champion Don Thomson Jr., among (again) others.
The Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series and the Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship cars will also race at Montreal that weekend.
Tickets can be purchased by calling 514-397-0007 or by going to www.circuitgillesvilleneuve.ca
The good thing about the NASCAR weekend as compared to the Formula One weekend in June is that while the hotels are still expensive, they don’t gouge you.
And Montreal in August is gorgeous.
I know. I used to live there.
P.S. This could also – maybe – be the last Nationwide race at Montreal for awhile. Promoters went to the Quebec government seeking help to eliminate or reduce a $1.6 million deficit and were refused. So the future of this race is uncertain.
P.P.S. The Canadian Tire Series and the Canadian Touring Cars, plus the Firestone Indy Lights Series and a couple of other leagues will be racing this weekend at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. If you've never been to "Three Rivers," it's worth the trip. The racing is great, the crowd is terrific and the joie de vivre you find everywhere in Quebec is there in abundance.
Now,if you can't make it to Trois-Rivieres (yes, I know - short notice), the Canadian Tire race will be televised live on Sunday at 5 p.m. on TSN. Same day, live coverage. That's pretty good.