CASCAR'S GIBBONS TESTS WITH PASS AT HICKORY By Mike Twist and Amy Hayes
Canadian Racer Shares Background on CASCAR Series
Last week, as the Pro All Star Series Southern Super Late Models practiced at Hickory Motor Speedway, there was one car in the pits that stood out. It was much like watching “Sesame Street” as a child and figuring one “which of these do not belong.”
The car that stood out was the #1 Canadian Tire CASCAR Super Series ride of Peter Gibbons. The beefier car with its steel body was not at home among the Super Late Models. That’s because Gibbons wasn’t at Hickory to practice for the Easter Bunny 150, he was actually there as a test session to prepare for his schedule of Canadian events and a miscommunication gave him plenty of company.
“We got told by Hickory that today was an open test day where any cars could come up and test,” said Gibbons. “This is CASCAR that we are racing, and all the guys are down from Canada.”
The #1 CASCAR entry of Peter Gibbons at Hickory. (51 Photo)
A compromise was soon worked out. Gibbons would be allowed to share the track with the Super Late Models all through the day.
“We are just trying to get everyone back into the swing of things, you know being up in the snow and all winter, so its good of the PASS people to let me go out and practice, I went over there to explain to them, and they said that was fine. They knew what we were and had seen us race and we told them we would be out of the way and wouldn’t get in anyone’s way.”
Despite having a heavier cars with hard tires, Gibbons wasn’t too far off of the quicker Super Late Models.
“We are holding our own today considering these old hockey pucks that we are running around on.”
The situation was a good chance to learn a little bit about racing North of the border. Gibbons is from Canada and still races there, but he makes his living in much warmer climates now. That gives him the long tow award for most of his CASACR races.
“I moved down here to Mooresville [North Carolina] in ‘92 to run the Busch Series and the Trucks, but I just couldn’t get the funding,” said Gibbons. “So I went back
and got Canadian Tire as a sponsor and we are going on our 11th year with them and everything has been going very well with the sponsorship with them.”
The CASCAR Series is the premier tour in Canadian short track racing, much like a scale version of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.
“We run 12 races a year, some of the races we run are like 100 lap qualifying heats and then 300 lap mains,” said Gibbons. “There are a lot of restrictions on the motor and such, and we race coast to coast, like we race in British Columbia and Calgary. We travel across the country, but most of our races are in Ontario, Canada and we have all of our teams up there with the tractor trailers and the nice equipment, and with us being sponsored by Canadian Tire all of these years, they really take care of us with all of their vendors, so we have accumulated seven race cars in our fleet, twelve motors and a showcar program we run from coast to coast across the country, so we stay pretty busy at it.”
There’s a few months between NASCAR’s first race at Daytona and the CASCAR season opener though.
“We usually start the second weekend in May, due to the weather being colder,” said Gibbons. “In April everyone starts practicing, and mainly ends in September because of the weather.”
The CASCAR schedule is diverse and the car counts are usually very healthy.
“We usually run tracks similar to Hickory and several road races. Some tracks are bigger and a lot are usually flatter and smaller. There’s a variance of all the different tracks, but this is similar to all of these tracks really.
“We have had as much as 42 cars start in the field, it just depends on the track really. NASCAR is looking at doing some stuff with it and its kind of changing a bit of ownership and sponsorship, so it’s a bit up and down right now but our fields never drop below 28. This year there are going to be a lot of cars. You send cars home because you get 50 cars to show up, we have had much as much as 60 cars show up for a 38 car field. Really it’s the only series up in Canada that you can race where there are major sponsors involved. All of the races are televised, that way it is good for us to be able to look at our sponsors.”
The CASCAR Super Series kicks off their season on May 22nd in Barrie, Ontario.
Gibbons' car shared the pits with 30 PASS Super Late Models. (51 Photo)
CASACR features some tight racing North of the Border. (CASCAR/Joe Hamilton Photo)