NASCAR officials to visit Canada

UPDATE #2 NASCAR officials were ecstatic with their midweek visit to Montreal and are moving forward with plans to expand the Busch Series into Canada – perhaps as early as next season.

The contingent of seven NASCAR representatives found the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, a temporary street course, to be in race-ready condition with very few alterations necessary, said Steve O'Donnell, managing director of events and operations. The only glaring need at this time is a short extension of pit road.

"The track and facilities were in great shape and really have a lot to offer to NASCAR," O'Donnell said. "And it meets a need for NASCAR, which has targeted road course races in the Busch Series as one of the areas we'd like to grow."

It's possible to get Montreal onto the 2007 schedule as a third road course race for the Busch Series. It would join Watkins Glen and Mexico City, which hosted its second event in March and has proved that NASCAR can be a huge success beyond U.S. borders. More at Autonet.ca

05/03/06 NASCAR executives who toured Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve yesterday already are sold on the success – in attendance terms — a stock car race would have at the 4.361-km road course.

But there are real concerns about whether the world-famous track, which plays host to the annual Formula One Canadian Grand Prix, physically can handle the 1,545-kg race cars that make up NASCAR Busch Series grids.

"This (tour) is more about a technical feasibility study," NASCAR international director Robbie Weiss said. "The track is fine but we have to look at whether the barriers, for example, can stop a (1,545 kg) stock car."

Weiss said F-1 cars weigh only 606 kg, about one-third of a NASCAR sedan.

"We want to take a look at this particular race track from a safety point of view as well as from a racing point of view," he said.

NASCAR will examine whether the current pit lane configuration can hold 43 cars.

The garage area also will be an issue because with F-1 and Champ Car World Series events, only about 20 spots are needed.

Weiss and his group also looked at the Ile Notre-Dame layout from a perspective of where to park as many as 100 big rigs necessary to bring in teams and equipment for a NASCAR race. Toronto Sun

04/30/06 A small group of NASCAR officials planned to travel to Montreal this week to scout the city for a possible Busch Series race next season. NASCAR expanded into Mexico last year, and Canadian officials have been trying to get on the schedule.

Spokesman Jim Hunter said series officials would tour several venues, and any expansion would be strictly for the lower-tier Busch Series. ThatsRacin.com

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