Monday, August 31, 2009

Damp Day For NASCAR In The MTL

NACSAR came roaring back to Canada in the only true NASCAR event of the season. Sure there is a NASCAR Canada series but when you have former Montreal Canadians defence man Patrice Brisbois driving in those races chances are it isn’t an All Star event. At the 2.7-mile Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Carl Edwards passed Marcus Ambrose on basically the last turn on the last lap in a race that saw Ambrose lead for the majority of the race. It was 1 mistake that was mad but it was a big one at just the wrong time when he jumped the curb and became airborne opening the door for a quick move to the lead. Ambrose was none too pleased as this was the 3rd time he has been screwed over in some way at this race. Twice it was his own doing but it really seems like he is snake bitten on this track. He always seems to have a great car and a great race right until the end when the "wheels come off" and he has to settle for a finish that he clearly did not deserve.

Again at the Montreal NASCAR Nationwide race it was, I don’t want to say was marred but was affected by rain and tough driving. The marathon race lasted nearly four hours, with 11 cautions and 31 laps run behind the pace car It seems that this race is scheduled every year during the rainy season in Montreal. The only saving grace is that it is a road course and they are able to break out the Goodyear rain tires. I believe this was the first place that NASCAR has gone to these tires and got to do so again. There was a delay as teams were allotted 5 minutes to install rain tires, wipers, tail lights, apply Rainex, and some guys even changed visors from the regular tinted ones to a clear style.

Canadians were well represented in this race yet again with varied success. Veteran Ron Fellows had a bad day that ended early. Patrick Carpentier who finished second in each of the first two Nationwide events in Montreal was forced to retire after engine trouble only 15 laps in. On the positive side Andrew Ranger managed a 3rd place finish. In shocking news Jacques Villeneuve actually finished the race for the first time in what seems like EVER and managed a great fourth place finish. Relative unknown Jean-Francois Dumoulin scored a seventh place finish.

What is great is despite the weather the fans stayed throughout. The city seems to love auto racing either NASCAR or F1 or Cart and that support should keep the race coming back as they move forward.

As a weird little side note, it is the only NASCAR event held outside the United States and it produced a rare statistic -- three of the top five finishers were non-American (maybe a sign that it is getting more international and continuing to separate itself from the southern red neck stereotype that still lingers).

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