NASCAR eyes Mosport

UPDATE #2 Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ont., has leap-frogged Montreal to become the leading candidate to land a NASCAR stock car race as soon as 2006. A group of NASCAR executives met Tuesday in Daytona Beach, Florida, to map out an expansion strategy that includes a meeting in Toronto sometime this spring with Myles Brandt, president and general manager of Mosport. Brandt confirmed that NASCAR bosses are serious about a race at Mosport's four-kilometer road course. Bowmanville is 78 km east of downtown Toronto.

Robbie Weiss, NASCAR's top international executive, said earlier this week that an existing road course – like the one at Mosport – could be a target for the world's most popular stock car series in 2006.

Brandt said he already has had meetings with Weiss and other NASCAR officials about Mosport. "They have actually already been to Mosport," Brandt said. "And within the next 30 to 90 days they are going to be back to take another look at the track."

The key to making Mosport a favorite over Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with NASCAR is the flexibility it has to host a race from the Nextel Cup, Busch Grand National or Craftsman Truck series.

The contract between Grand Prix promoter Normand Legault and the city of Montreal, which owns the track, limits its use to twice a year – once for the Canadian Grand Prix and once for the Champ Car Molson Indy Montreal.

While speculation has been rampant that Legault would dump Champ Car in favor of a NASCAR Nextel Cup race, he might not do so for a Busch or Craftsman Truck race. "Mosport would be ready to host any of the three top NASCAR series," Brandt said. NASCAR made its first foray outside of continental U.S. this season when the Busch series raced in Mexico City to huge crowds and great reviews. "We could match that," Brandt said, adding grandstands could be built at the track. Toronto Sun

03/24/05 Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario, is the leading candidate to land a NASCAR stock car race as soon as 2006, according to a report in the Toronto Star. The Star reported that a group of NASCAR executives met Tuesday in Daytona Beach, Florida., to map out an expansion strategy. Part of that strategy will include a meeting with Myles Brandt, president and general manager of Mosport. Brandt said Wednesday he already has had meetings with NASCAR officials about Mosport. He told the Star that NASCAR bosses are serious about a race at his four-kilometer road course. "They have actually already been to Mosport," Brandt told the Star. "And within the next 30 to 90 days they are going to be back to take another look at the track." The Star report says Mosport has moved ahead of Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve because of its ability to host races from the Nextel Cup, Busch Grand National or Craftsman Truck series. 03/22/05 George Pyne, NASCAR's chief operating officer, says the stock car sanctioning body will visit Toronto and Montreal in the next 30 to 90 days with the goal of finding a suitable track to race on, possibly as early as next year. "The two markets are Toronto and Montreal. Where within those markets? Obviously it will be a road course. But where, we don't have an answer," Pyne tells the Winston-Salem Journal. There have been whispers that Montreal's Gilles Villeneuve Circuit would be the ideal candidate for a NASCAR road race. However, promoter Norman Legault recently confirmed that he has a contract to operate only two races in the city each year – Formula One and Champ Car. The Champ Car contract in Montreal is set to expire in 2006. Toronto's lakeshore circuit, which is used to stage the annual Molson Indy, is not a suitable alternative in its current configuration, according to Pyne. TSN [Editor's Note: The only other track that might be suitable to host a NASCAR race in those two markets is Mosport, though some improvements would definitely be needed.]

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