Ron Fellows excited about bringing the NASCAR Trucks to Canada
by Ashley McCubbin On Mon, Feb. 11, 2013
As part of the reveal of the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule, Canadian fans had their spirits boosted when it was announced that the trucks would be running the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park road course on September 1st.
Getting one of the top three divisions to come to CTMP has been a process that Ron Fellows began two years ago with the first batch of renovations after buying the track formally known as Mosport.
In the span of two years, Fellows has improved certain turns, built a tunnel so you can easily get to the inside of the track, while also building a new event center to host VIPs and media.
While Fellows continued improving the historic track, the goal was always to attract NASCAR. However, while some have come out and said it, biting their tongue later, Fellows kept quiet, keeping the negotiations behind the scenes with the head brass.
The discussions began three years ago, though as Fellows noted, NASCAR moves slowly in their decisions. They need to make sure that the product they are putting out there for the fans is top of the line.
While it marks a special race for Canadian fans, the race at CTMP also marks the first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series road course race since 2001. Fellows knew of NASCAR wanting to the trucks back on the road courses, since the other two divisions compete on them. There was talk of it happening in 2012, however NASCAR had concerns about a lack of budget.
“They felt like it was too soon and too much for the teams,” Fellows noted. “So they loaded them up in 2013 not only turning right, but also turning left on dirt. It should be interesting, but again, NASCAR is very methodical about the process of adding dates and making sure it would work.”
The experience is all new for the drivers as many young talented stars have yet to run road courses in heavy vehicles yet.
“Since we’ve made the announcement, I’ve got about nine Chevy truck drivers signing up for my school, who have never road raced,” Fellows commented. “So that means they weren’t around when the last road race at Walkin’s glen in 2001 so very cool.”
There is talk of the star stuttered line-up, including Chase Elliott making one of his truck starts at CTMP, along with the usual cast of characters.
Speculation has already began as to watch NASCAR Canadian Tire Series driver could land a ride for the race as they race there in their cars twice this season. Shortly after the announcement, J.R. Fitzpatrick tweeted that he wouldn’t mind doing. Defending series champion D.J. Kennington said he would – if the right deal comes together.
There is also talk that possibly Andrew Ranger, Derek White or Dexter Stacey could jump behind the wheel of a truck as they have ran some races in Truck and Nationwide in the past.
Paul Cooke, Fellows’ partner at CTMP, made mention that Montreal was always interesting with the Nationwide Series guys going head-to-head with the Canadians.
“What was entertaining about watching the race in Montreal is its gets a little touchy feely from time to time and that’s part of the attraction of watching that race,” Cooke said. “So you’re watching and people start beating up our Canadians and you get involved in watching the race.”
Responding to Cooke’s comments, Fellows doesn’t expect the same bumpy chaos to occur with the trucks at CTMP because CTMP is a wider track than the city streets of Montreal. He also added that last year’s race at Montreal in the Nationwide Series was like a hockey game without any referees.
“The difficulty of Montreal is you got long straights, heavy breaking and it’s hard to get these cars stopped because they have so much power,” Fellows said. “Going from over 100 mph right down for these chicanes to 45 mph, that creates chaos. It breeds that type of racing and the vehicles have proven that they can take it.”
Now with Montreal off the Nationwide Series tour and CTMP on for the trucks, the focus of this epic Canadians vs. the regulars battle will shift to Labour Day weekend.
Fellows was asked as part of the Canadian Motorsports Expo powered by Inside Track Motorsports News as to whether he would be running a truck for the event. He said only if the right deal comes together – but plans to run Road America and Walkin’s Glen in the Nationwide Series with JR Motorsports.