SBD/Issue 243/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Strong Nationwide Crowd Adds To Push For Cup Race In Canada

NASCAR Nationwide Race In Montreal Draws
70,000+ Fans For Fourth Consecutive Year

Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve drew a crowd of "70,000-plus" for Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series NAPA Auto Parts 200, and if Montreal "can get 70,000 to buy tickets to a Nationwide Series race, it would have no problem selling 100,000 or more for a Sprint Cup race," according to Dean McNulty of the TORONTO SUN. This year marked the "fourth consecutive year" the race has drawn more than 70,000 fans, a "record that few other NASCAR venues can boast over the same period." McNulty: "In an era where NASCAR has been battered by a bad economy, resulting in shrinking attendance elsewhere, Montreal stands out like an honest banker on Wall Street" (TORONTO SUN, 9/1).'s Jim Pedley wrote under the header, "Give Canada A Cup Race" (, 8/30).'s Tom Bowles noted Saturday's event was an "action-packed race that ended with Boris Said nipping Max Papis to the line by .012 seconds." Throughout the race, the "shrill screams of a packed house boomed over the roar of the engines," and "those who watched saw hope for a series struggling to stay on your radar screen." Only "half a dozen well-known drivers were in the field," but at "Monday water cooler talks across the country, the only conversation surrounded the buzz of a finish that kept people wanting more." Bowles: "Great racing takes care of itself" (, 8/31).

STUCK IN Neutral: The GLOBE & MAIL's Jeff Pappone wrote under the header, "Canadian NASCAR Still Struggles To Attract Young Drivers." NASCAR four years ago bought Canada's top stock car series, CASCAR. The purchase was "supposed to make a new era" for racing in Canada, but it "hasn't really turned out that way." During the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series' four years of existence, it has continued to be a "place for rich businessmen to live out their racing dreams or a dead end for drivers who won't progress any farther up the ladder instead of being a development arena for young drivers aspiring to move toward a ride in the Sprint Cup." However, Pappone wrote the "good news is all this might change in a couple of years," as a "shuffle in Canadian Tire's executive ranks over the past 18 months has brought some new thinking and result in the company renewing its focus on and commitment to racing" (GLOBE & MAIL, 8/31).

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