NASCAR has announced the schedule for the third season of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, which will take the series to some of the top racing facilities throughout Canada.
The schedule features 13 dates at 12 different tracks across six provinces. The slate includes tracks and events familiar to the series, but there are some new components.
Scott Steckly will commence his title defense when the season begins on Saturday, May 23 at Autodrome St. Eustache in Quebec. The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series made its first visit to the .400-mile oval last season, but the track has been a part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series since 2006. The schedule has a return trip to St. Eustache on July 11 just prior to the Western swing.
The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series adds a pair of first-time visits this year – to Delaware Speedway on Saturday, June 6 and Auto Clearing Motor Speedway on Wednesday, July 29.
With a storied 55-year history, Delaware Speedway was a long-time staple of the former CASCAR series. The half-mile oval, located near London, Ont., has a natural amphitheater-like setting, which allows fans a great view of all the action. Delaware joined the family of tracks for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, NASCAR’s grassroots weekly racing series, this season, as well.
The addition of Auto Clearing Motor Speedway in Saskatoon, Sask., changes the complexion of the series’ Western swing. In the two previous seasons, the trip to Western Canada consisted of visits to SunValley Speedway in Vernon, B.C., and a trip to the demanding 1.973-mile Rexall Speedway in Edmonton, Alberta.
This year, the Western trip will include a Saturday, July 18 race at SunValley Speedway, also a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track. A date along with the IndyCar Series at the Rexall Edmonton Indy comes a week later on Saturday, July 25, while a mid-week show at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway on Wednesday, July 29 will close out the trek as the race teams migrate back East.
Opened in 2006, Auto Clearing Motor Speedway is a third-mile oval located just north of Saskatoon and operated by the Saskatoon Stock Car Racing Association. The 35-acre facility is the newest home for the track, known formerly as Bridge City Speedway, since stock-car racing began in Saskatchewan in 1954.
A subtle change to the new schedule is a move for the traditional Montreal date from early August to Sunday, Aug. 30, as the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series again will join the NASCAR Nationwide Series and Grand-Am Rolex Series for the popular event at the legendary Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, a 2.71-mile temporary street course, on Montreal’s Île Notre Dame.
Just as has been the case in the previous two seasons, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series will close out the season and crown a new champion at Kawartha Speedway, a .375-mile oval near Peterborough, Ont., on Saturday, Sept. 26. Last year, Jason Hathaway picked up his first series win in the event while Steckly celebrated his first title.
Other 2009 highlights include:
• The 2009 schedule includes races on nine ovals: Auto Clearing Motor Speedway, Autodrome St. Eustache (2), Barrie Speedway, Delaware Speedway, Kawartha Speedway, Mosport Speedway, Riverside Speedway and SunValley Speedway; and four road courses: Circuit de Trois-Rivieres, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Mosport International Raceway and Rexall Speedway.
• On June 13-14, the series will run at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario at the facility’s 2.459-mile, 10-turn road course. The race is part of an eventful weekend at the 750-acre facility. The series will also visit Mosport’s half-mile oval on Saturday, Aug. 8.
• The Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres in Quebec is on tap for Aug. 14-16. Last season, Andrew Ranger thrilled the fans of his home province with a last-lap move for the victory on the 1.53-mile temporary street course. Joining the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series in Trois-Rivieres will be the Grand-Am Koni Sports Car Challenge.
• The Barrie (Ont.) Speedway date is set for Saturday, Sept. 12. Each of the past two trips to Barrie on this weekend has resulted in overflow crowds. Steckly cemented his stake to the 2008 title with a win in this event at the third-mile tri-oval.
• The trip east to the Maritime Province of Nova Scotia for a Saturday, Sept. 19 event at Riverside International Speedway is a popular stop for the competitors. Tackling the high-banked turns of the third-mile scale version of the legendary Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway has produced some of the best racing the series has to offer. Don Thomson Jr. bested the field in 2008 for his fourth career series victory.