Canadian Tire announced today that they are ramping up their involvement in Canadian racing, starting with sponsorship of the upcoming Honda Indy Toronto. The are also sponsoring the Edmonton Indy and are funding a ride for Big Ron Fellows at in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race in Montreal.
For a change, this was actually a fun press conference! While there was a bit of talk to start things off, in just a few minutes Scott Steckly had fired up his Dodge Avenger and come out of the shop in a cloud of smoke. As the red & white Dodge came front and center, the pit crew scurried out and gave a quick pit stop demo. Fun stuff, but I think the guys need some practice, as they were more than a little slow! Also on hand was the PartSource Dodge of Mark Dilley. Steckly and Dilley are both NASCAR Canadian Tire Series regulars.
Canadian Tire has been involved with Canadians in racing since the late Sixties, so the racing history runs deep. Back in the mid Eighties, Jacques Villeneuve Sr. spent a few years racing Indy cars and was fully supported by none other than Canadian Tire. It was fitting then that they dragged the Canadian tire branded 1983 March out of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame for the day.
This car was driven by Uncle Jacques Villeneuve at Long Beach in 1983 and then qualified for the Indy 500. Then, while attempting to improve his time with the sister car, Villeneuve crashed and was not allowed to race. The car again qualified at Milwaukee and it was Indy all over again. Jacques drove the car again at Elkhart Lake before it was replaced by an 84. The last time it was used was as a pit stop competition car in Las Vegas. Sort of fitting given how today’s press conference began! I wonder if the PR types actually knew this when they planned the event. Most likely not!