Nationwide race helping grow stock-car fan base in Montreal
NASCAR’s Nationwide Series returns to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal Aug. 28-29 for its fourth trip to the 2.710-mile road course.
In the meantime, Francois Dumontier, promoter of the event, says it’s important that officials with the city and specifically with Octane Management, which promotes the race, continue to educate the fans.
“Even though in Quebec we have a big tradition of stock cars, it was more outside the Montreal region,” Dumontier said.
“Since we do that [Nationwide] race, we are bringing in more stock-car racing fans from outside Montreal to the city. And this is part of our strategy. This race track … we are trying to educate people, and we still have [some work to do].”
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is, for the most part, a temporary structure, and the event is run through a park that is owned by the city of Montreal. It hosts just two events each year – the Nationwide race in August and a Formula One race earlier in the year. Octane promotes both events.
“It’s a different clientele,” Dumontier says of the F1 crowd. “At the same time, we have real race fans in Quebec and Canada that … if we would do a lot more racing, they would come to the races.
“But yes, it’s completely different. People are discovering stock-car racing, especially on a road course. It’s quite different also. But the response had been very good.
“We have to consolidate that [Nationwide] race in our market. We still have some areas to grow. We still have two years under our contract in Montreal so we need to make sure that that race … has its place there in the market so it can continue to grow.
“After five years of education of stock-car [racing], we want to see … people are used to Formula One, so we want to bring that race to the same level of F1. The action on the track, because it’s a road course, 43 cars on the track is quite amazing. We want to see it remain a good event, we want to see it continue to grow.”