A couple of years ago, NASCAR set up an office in Toronto with the mandate to evaluate the potential of a NASCAR move to Canada. The powers that be saw the importance of the Canadian market, along with our rich racing history. Rumours have been circulating over the possible venue for a NASCAR race of some sort. Will it be Montreal, Toronto, Cayuga or maybe even Mosport. It seems the initial direction is somewhat different than many people expected.
At a press conference in downtown Toronto’s Dundas Square this morning, the news of a revamped series for Canada were made public. Hosted by TSN’s Vic Rauter, officials from NASCAR and Canadian Tire announced that NASCAR has taken over the CASCAR stock car series. For 2007, the new series will be called the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series with a schedule that will include 10-12 races. Along with the title sponsorship, Canadian Tire becomes the official automotive retailer of NASCAR in Canada.
When the floor was opened up for individual questioning, there really was only one question. Norris Macdonald was the one who stepped up and asked “What is the status of a NASCAR race in Montreal?”. Robbie Weiss, Managing Director of NASCAR International gave a pretty quick No Comment, instead deferring everyone to “Ask Daytona”.
Perhaps the funniest thing was watching Canadian Tire’s VP almost jump out of his shoes when Peter Gibbons fired up the display car. Obviously the guy hasn’t been up close to too many race cars!
NASCAR & TSN press release
Toronto – In support of its initiatives across Canada, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) today announced the creation of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. Scheduled to launch in May 2007, the series includes a multi-year sponsorship agreement with Canadian Tire – an iconic Canadian brand with strong national presence.
The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series will operate nationally in Canada with a schedule of 10-12 races (May-October). The series will provide new racing opportunities for teams and drivers from the former CASCAR series. The official NASCAR Canadian Tire Series schedule, point fund and tracks will be announced at a later date.
The series will receive support from NASCAR’s extensive resources, including competition, research and development, marketing, licensing and communications. A dedicated staff will operate the series, with NASCAR Canada providing additional support in sponsorship, licensing, marketing and media initiatives.
”NASCAR racing is a popular, growing sport in Canada, enjoyed by millions of passionate fans,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR Vice-President of Racing Operations. ”The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series will help attract new Canadian fans and competitors and bring the excitement of NASCAR racing to new fans in Canada. We also recognize the tremendous history and heritage of CASCAR and welcome its fans and competitors into this exciting new series.”
NASCAR has a strong fan base in Canada with 5.8 million fans, representing one out of four Canadian adults. The average Canadian NASCAR fan has been following the sport for approximately 10 years. The Canadian NASCAR fan base is truly national with fans from all across the country: British Columbia – 12%, Alberta – 11%, Manitoba/Saskatchewan – 6%, Ontario – 39%, Quebec – 24%, Atlantic Canada (made up of all Atlantic provinces) – 8%.
In addition to becoming title sponsor of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, Canadian Tire, the most-shopped general merchandiser in the country, will become the official automotive retailer of NASCAR in Canada. Canadian Tire will offer exclusive customer promotions, seasonal marketing programs and national advertising and in-store programs in partnership with NASCAR Canada. As part of the partnership agreement and its continued focus on being first-to-market with new and exciting products, Canadian Tire will explore licensing opportunities, including developing a new line of NASCAR products for the automotive aftermarket.
”NASCAR and Canadian Tire share a passion for motorsports and automotive products,” said Todd Sharman, Vice-President, Automotive, Canadian Tire Retail. ”We are excited that through this partnership we are able to bring the NASCAR racing experience to Canadian fans and look forward to creating an exciting, new lineup of NASCAR branded products.”
”NASCAR Canada is pleased to welcome Canadian Tire to NASCAR as its officially designated automotive retailer in Canada. It’s a natural fit, as our fan base is Canadian Tire’s customer,” said Randy Paul, Managing Director of NASCAR Canada. ”NASCAR fans will benefit from this association with Canadian Tire, whether it’s watching NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races on TSN, attending the new racing series, purchasing licensed products in-store, or participating in NASCAR-themed events at dealers across Canada.”
TSN, a NASCAR broadcast partner for more than 20 years, will help market the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and draw new fans to NASCAR and stock car racing in Canada. Among these efforts, TSN is developing a monthly magazine-style show that will showcase the many aspects of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. The program will spotlight the stars of the series, race news, updates and highlights.
NASCAR is the No. 1 televised motorsport in Canada. The 2006 Daytona 500 was the most-watched motorsport race in TSN history with a national average audience of 568,000 viewers.