Jeff Gordon Hopeful to get Canadian Motor Speedway Built in Fort Erie, Ontario

by Ashley McCubbin On Fri, Sep. 12, 2014

Photo Credit: Ashley McCubbin

On Wednesday, Jeff Gordon was in Toronto as part of NASCAR’s promotional driver tour to promote the Chase for the Sprint Cup with sending each of the 16 drivers to a different city, titled the “Chase across North America”. While all of the Sprint Cup Series races are in the United States, many fans travel from Canada to see the races live, whether traveling to Michigan or Bristol or all the way down to Daytona.

“It’s really great to be here in Canada. It’s been a long time since I’ve been up here,” Gordon said. “Been here with Dupont back in the days when we came up here to some plants – that was the first introduction for me to just how avid and loyal NASCAR fans are in Canada. Of course, over the years, seeing the Canadian national anthem happen at Michigan, New Hampshire and Watkin’s Glen, you know there’s a lot of Canadians present at those events. But till you come here and come to an event, you probably don’t realize just how many Canadian there are. It’s great to be back.”

Though Gordon’s Canadian connection goes beyond just being a favorite driver of many fans as Gordon is trying to build a track in Fort Erie, Ontario, titled Canadian Motor Speedway.

“I’m hoping we get to break down on a race track in Fort Erie and bring NASCAR racing there – at least have another facility that can have some great action on a small oval in Canada,” Gordon commented. “We know if we ever get that done, it’s going to do well.”

The project has been ongoing for a couple of years now and ground hasn’t been turned to start building the track as a result of series of government meetings to get building permits and other stoppages on the project removed.

Gordon became involved in the project after architect Paxton Waters got hold of him through his stepfather John Bickford.

“He said there was a group of investors that we’re interested in doing a project in Canada with the same type of track in Iowa, using that as the basis, but they wanted somebody to be involved with the design aspect that could earn recognition and a name to it,” Gordon recalled. “That’s how it originally started and then it’s grown tremendously from there from a concept to getting closer and closer to reality with the investor group. My side of it is primarily just the design of the track and the facilities and how I think that from a competitor’s side could be beneficial to the fans, but also talking to crew members and other people within the industry to bring all that experience and make it the best track it could possibly be.”

While news has been low key and quiet as of late surrounding the project, Gordon notes that the current status of the project is ongoing, but it’ll be a long, slow process to getting the track built.

“I’m excited for it,” he commented. “Every few months, I go, ‘Okay, where are we at?’ and I keep getting good news each time that I ask. Just like I said earlier, we brought the simulator into my office recently so we’re moving forward. I can’t say that we’re full speed ahead because it takes a long time for these projects to get done.

“It’s a big project. It’s goes beyond just racing. It’s a project that will incorporate local businesses and entertainment on a whole other level, and that’s what you have to do with these facilities today. You have to incorporate more than just a race track.”

As the key track designer for the proposed 3/4 mile oval, Gordon is hoping to feed off his experiences as a driver to build the perfect track for side-by-side racing. A critical part in ensuring good side-by-side racing is the transition between the straightway and the corner.

“I’ve always loved the transitions that Michigan has from straightaway to corner. On a bigger track, you have more space to make those transitions,” Gordon explained. “We would like to do more of a ¾ mile race track so just coming from Richmond, it’s fresh in my mind about those things. I just had a meeting about that last week. In going to Canada, I started thinking about the track that we’re designing and we’re so hopeful and pushing hard to get done. I think about how we’re trying to make those transitions to make a type of race track like Richmond, Iowa even better.

“I think progressive banking is something that we’ve seen more of, and I like that idea. I really do like being able to make those transitions. It’s funny because you work in a way because fans wants more side-by-side racing. Then at Bristol, they created more side-by-side racing and the fans wanted more bumping and banging. There’s that fine line that you’re trying to create, but I do believe creating multiple grooves and creating those transitions seamless from corner to straightaway is going to offer more side-by-side racing.”

Gordon says they’re getting closer in finalizing the final track plans as they’re putting a simulator in his office right now.

“We’re going to map out the track and put it into simulation where I’m going to be able to drive it,” he noted.

 

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