Lightning flashed and the fans in the grandstands never flinched. Fans could be heard talking over each other. After all, this was the first time NASCAR was right in front of them-in our own country. We had been hearing about a race on Canadian soil since 2003 when NASCAR officials began scouting out possible race tracks in Canada.
With eight Canadian drivers from five provinces competing in the race, Canadians had a lot to be proud of. Carpentier, a native of Quebec, took full advantage of the opportunity to showcase his talents in front of a hometown crowd. He won the pole, led 14 laps and finished second. Indeed, Canadians were proud to be a part of the historic event.
For the most part the race was a great success. Perhaps a little boring at times, but definitely entertaining in the end. It was a controversial finish that thrilled the crowd, infuriated NASCAR officials and jeopardized GordonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s participation in the Cup race at Pocono Raceway the following afternoon. To top it all off, Robby did a burn out for his Ã¢â‚¬Å“win.Ã¢â‚¬Â You have to hand it to Robby, he sure is a gutsy individual! While Kevin Harvick, the real race winner, celebrated his victory, Robby Gordon left the NASCAR hauler with the rule book in one hand & a heated temper that was still lighting the NASCAR world on fire long after the race had ended.
Although much can be said about the support NASCAR received from Canadian fans, the lack of sponsorship from Canadian businesses was quite pitiful to say the least. A lot of doors were slammed shut in the hunt for Canadian sponsorship & each day inboxes were full of rejection letters. Trust me I know, I received a great deal of them myself. Home Hardware, however, was on board right from the beginning, disbanding the argument that the inaugural race in Canada would take place without any support from local companies. Finally, after much persuasion, Krispy Kreme Canada & Zellers stepped up to the plate & the search for Canadian sponsorship wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t ruled a complete washout.Just like flip flops, seashells and sunburn define summer, racing is a tradition amongst many Canadians. After testing the waters with a Busch Series race in Canada, we’re left to wonder: What was NASCARÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s take on the event?
The failure to host the event at Mosport International Raceway still doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t sit well with many fans & racing enthusiasts. Known as one of the most storied racetracks nationally and internationally, Mosport would have been the perfect site for the inaugural race in Canada. With over 39% of Canadian NASCAR fans living in Ontario (24% in Quebec), it would have made more sense to host the event at a track that is no stranger to success. Not to mention the positive impact it would have had on OntarioÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s tourism industry.
When it comes to Mosport International Raceway every driver has his/her own story to tell.
On that note I will leave you all with this question, what is your favourite memory of Mosport?
Above image courtesy of Flickr user pylacroix