So many motorsports stories, so little time . . .
But here goes:
- Andretti Autosport will hold a media conference Monday afternoon to display the liveries for their entries in the 2014 IndyCar Series and two Road to Indy series. Michael Andretti will be on hand for the unveiling in Indianapolis, as will IndyCar drivers James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti, Carlos Munoz and Ryan Hunter-Reay. Indy Lights drivers Matthew Brabham (yes, Sir Jack's his grandfather) and Zach Veach will be there, as will Pro Mazda drivers Shelby Blackstock (Reba McEntire's son) and Grimsby's own Garett Grist.
- Speaking of series playing a support role at major race meets, Honda Indy Toronto President Charlie Johnstone has formally identified which ones will be on track for the 2inT.O. races at the CNE next July 18-20. Writes Charlie: "The IndyCar Series will be joined again by Indy Lights, the USF2000 Championship and the Acura Sports Car Challenge featuring the Pirelli World Challenge. In an effort to celebrate young drivers, and to showcase the future of open wheel racing in Canada, we are pleased to have added the Formula 1600 Super Series to the schedule this year. Additionally, we are very excited to announce that an exotic car race has joined our schedule, namely the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge. To top off the weekend excitement, due to very popular demand, Robby Gordon's high-flying Speed Energy Stadium Super Trucks will return, ramps and all! " One other Honda Indy Toronto note: Today (Friday) at 4 p.m. is the renewal deadline for all reserved seats. After that, they will be released to the public. Any transactions after 4 p.m. will not be eligible for the 2014 Renewal Club Benefits that include free paddock passes, exclusive invitations and prize giveaways.
- Speaking of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, Porsche Cars Canada will be promoting the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada series at the Canadian Motorsport Expo Feb. 7-9 at The International Centre in Misssissauga with an eye to enticing and educating drivers, teams and spectators about this fast-growing Canadian series. “We’re looking forward to showcasing what we believe is a great racing program,” said Patrick Saint-Pierre, Public Relations Director for Porsche Cars Canada Ltd. “But the point we’d like to get across about the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge is that we’re not talking about pro drivers in this series, it’s more about driver development. This series is all about learning and being an ideal place for young drivers to race once they’ve graduated from karting.”
- Here are a couple of public service announcements. On Sat., Jan. 18, Bicknell Racing Products will hold an Open House at its St. Catharines reatail location where drivers and crews from the Merrittville Speedway Saturday Night Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series and the Tuesday Night Lucas Oil Weekly Karting Series can purchase their memberships, Driver VIP Passes or Season Passes. In addition to special Open House Pricing on most parts, there will be free seminars throughout the day, starting at 10 a.m., dealing with race car adjustments and balance and how to compensate for ill-handling race cars. Meantime, Have Bus Racing Tours advises that its 2014 packages start in February with the Daytona 500 and go through till November with the Championship Weekend in Homestead, Fla. For all the information you'll need about race tours, including flyaways, go their website at www.havebus.com
- Here's one more. The 2014 racing schedule for Ohsweken Speedway was officially released on Wednesday. The schedule features 20 events, beginning with the 19th annual Opening Night on Fri., May 16. All weekly racing events at the speedway will begin at 7:30 p.m. again in 2014, with the new Crate Sprint Car division adding even more great racing to the schedule. Regular weekly racing events will include 20-lap features for the Corr/Pak Merchandising 360 Sprint Cars, and Affordable Towing & Recovery Thunder Stocks, 15-lap features for the Crate Sprint Cars and HRW Automotive Mini Stocks, and a 12-lap feature for the Gale’s Auto Aftermarket Bombers. Racers will hit the track for the first time in 2014 with a Test & Tune Night scheduled for Fri., May 9, while the season concludes with the 10th annual Canadian Sprint Car Nationals on Sat., Sept. 13. In mid-summer, the annual visit by the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series will be held Tues., July 29.
- Remember Jeremy Mayfield? The former Sprint Cup driver, suspended by NASCAR for using drugs, pleaded guilty this week to possession of stolen goods and possession of drug paraphernalia and was sentenced to 45 days in jail, suspended, along with 18 months of probation. He also must pay nearly $90,000 in restitution plus a fine and other costs. In order to be reinstated by NASCAR, he would have to apply to enter the Road to Recovery program. Meantime, NASCAR reinstated Road to Recovery graduate Todd Parrott. He had been a crew chief at Richard Petty Motorsports but was fired after failing a drug test. He was 31 Cup victories as a crew chief and was at the helm for Dale Jarrett when Jarrett won the 1999 championship.
- Richard Buck, who won Indy 500s as a crew chief for Roger Penske and - among other accomplishments - set the course for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series when CASCAR was purchased from Tony Novotny and rebranded, has been named managing director of the Sprint Cup Series. Buck currently serves as the vice president of racing operations for the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) and has helped to manage the merger of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and the American Le Mans Series. He'll start his new job immediately after the checkers fall at this year's 24 Hours of Daytona.
- Here's some good news. Subaru Canada, a long-time participant and supporter of the Targa Newfoundland international rally ever since its inception in 2002 and scheduled this year for Sept. 14-19, has announced a broad-ranging incentive and support program for Subaru competitors, their immediate families and for Targa event staff. Announced by Brian Hyland, Director of After Sales for Subaru Canada, the program makes participants and/or any immediate family member who purchase or lease a new Subaru from Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2014, eligible for a $750 rebate. This rebate is also being made available to the Targa event staff. Participants who use any model of Subaru for entry into any of the four main categories within Targa Newfoundland (Open, Modern, Classic, Grand Touring) will receive a $500 Entrant Award and drivers of Subarus that finish first in any of the categories will receive a cash award of $2,000, with $1,500 for second place and $1,000 for third place.
- Finally (for this entry, anyway) the Vintage Automobile Racing Association of Canada (VARAC) is gearing up for what promises to be the biggest, most exciting and best-attended event in its history. The Canadian Historic Grand Prix, which will be held June 13-15 this year, is one of the most prestigious events on the Vintage and Historic Racing Calendar in North America and has been one of the major spectator events at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park since 1999. Triumph and MG Racers will be the "Featured Marques" for 2014 as VARAC steps back in time recreate the epic battle for sports car supremacy between two British manufacturers, Standard Triumph and MG Cars. In addition to the featured Triumphs and MGs, there will be three full days of exciting racing involving full grids for all Vintage and Historic racing machines from Minis to Mustangs, and from Canada Class open wheelers to Can-Am cars. There will be racing for six groups of cars including Monoposto (single seat open-wheel vintage & historic race cars), Small Bore Vintage & Historic Cars (under 2000 cc), Big Bore Vintage & Historic Cars (over 2000 cc), Wings & Slicks (very fast, purpose-built, racing cars running on slick tires), G70+ Cars (cars dating from 1973 to 1989, including all kinds of Alfas, Corvettes, Porsches and Mustangs) and a host of others. A first this year will be the "Historic Grand Prix Tribute" in Downtown Bowmanville from noon to 9 p.m. on Friday, just like the world-famous street party at Watkins Glen, N.Y. You don't want to miss that. For more information, and to purchase tickets in advance, go to: www.canadianhistoricgrandprix.com or email [email protected]
- NORRIS McDONALD