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Canadian buys Baker Curb Racing team
Toronto businessman Steve Meehan bought Baker Curb Racing Nationwide team in a deal that closed following the Mar. 19 race in Bristol, Tenn. Driver J.R. Fitzpatrick is a key element in a planned all-Canadian NASCAR outfit that promises to take him to the Sprint Cup. "I think it's fantastic. Steve is a really good guy, he's Canadian and he really wants to see Canadian corporate sponsorship and Canadian drivers, so I mean it's really cool," Fitzpatrick said.

"He really believes in me and that's what I really like. Given that I do need the experience and the time at the tracks and, even if it can't be a full year, he is definitely going to push my career along and I am glad to be a part of it."

With NASCAR's exposure and huge popularity, the team should be attractive to Canadian companies who want to use the series to promote themselves in this country and in the U.S., as well as companies from south of the border looking to get their names known in Canada. But with the ink still fresh, Meehan will back the effort mostly with his "love for racing" until the business development part of the plan gets going and the team starts attracting sponsorship.

Although plans haven't been completely finalized, the short-term goal is to run a limited schedule in 2011 with a long-term objective of getting into the top tier Cup Series by 2013.

"We will run primarily in Nationwide and likely a few Cup races in 2011 - I think J.R. is comfortable running the road courses in Cup and with a little bit more experience and practice I think he could run an oval or two in Cup," said Meehan, 46, founder of the Investment Planning Counsel, which was acquired by IGM Financial in 2004 for $95 million in a cash and stock deal.

"Our focus is to quickly evolve to a full-time Cup team and I think J.R. is sufficiently talented to get there with the right people behind him." Fitzpatrick has raced nine times in Nationwide since 2007, with seven of those starts coming on road courses. He also has 13 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts under his belt. Originally, he was slated to race April 8 in Texas, but the change in ownership has the team regrouping and instead planning to hit the stop three weeks away in Nashville. Globe and Mail

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