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Electric-car racing and the NASCAR Canada schedule is out

Published December 9, 2012

My friend, Gary Morton, has another idea – and he might really be on to something this time.

You’ll recall that he was the fellow I quoted a few weeks ago as saying the solution to the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park controversy is to just do what the founders of the place did back in 1961: contract “motor” and “sport” into one word, Mosport, and call the place Canadian Tire Mosport Park and everybody would be happy.

Three things:

– First, and this sort of thing is inevitable, some people wrote and said Gary was way behind because this had been suggested before, which was news to me or I would have put it in the paper sooner.

– Many others wrote to say it was a wonderful idea, because they hadn’t heard anybody suggest anything like it before either.

– Last, it’ll never happen. Canadian Tire Corp. bought the naming rights to the place and that’s what they want to call it. The signage, the letterhead and the souvenirs have all either been changed, or are on order, and there’s no turning back.

In the short term, anyway.

But as I said, he has another idea and it has to do with electric cars and racing – two things that keep turning up in the motorsport news cycle with a degree of regularity these days.

For instance, last week it was announced that Rome would become the first European city where a round of the FIA Formula E Championship would be held, in 2014. The first city to announce a date in what is promised to be a 10-race series was Rio do Janeiro, in August.

Still no word on a North American city but there will be likely be one or two. A full schedule is promised soon.

This is for real, folks. The FIA is behind it and McLaren has announced that it will design and build the powertrain for the first Formula E cars, in partnership with Spark Racing Technology (SRT).

They’re going to build 42 cars to get the championship going with, hopefully, 10 teams and 20 drivers. Formula E, however, is an “open” championship and other car designers and constructors are being encouraged to build a Formula E car.

My friend “Mort” says he has the answer.

“Take the Delta Wing car and put an all-electric motor in it, preferably one built by Tesla,” he writes. “Get the universities involved – Virgina Tech., U of T, Queen’s, Cal Tech., MIT, etc. It’s the perfect way to save open-wheel racing in North America.”

He got a big response to his Mosport suggestion. We’ll see how he does on this one.

Other Monday Morning Morning Roundup items:

- The 2013 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 schedule was issued at the weekend and features 12 races at 11 tracks across five provinces. Of those dozen races, three of them will be held at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park north of Bowmanville – two on the road course and one on the oval speedway.

The series will open on the road course at Old Mosport on the traditional Victoria Day weekend in May and race there again in June on the oval. Labour Day weekend will be the biggie, though, when the stock cars share the stage with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

The Canadian series has two other road-course races, both in Quebec – at the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres and at Circuit ICAR at Mirabel Airport.

Short track oval speedway races will be held at Autodrome St. Eustache, Riverside Speedway in Nova Scotia, Motoplex Speedway in Vernon, B,.C., Auto Clearing Motor Speedway in Sakatoon, Delaware Speedway outside of London, Ont., and Barrie Speedway.

The season will wrap up, as it traditionally does, on Sept. 21 at Kawartha Speedway near Peterborough.

The schedule was issued at the Night of Champions Touring Awards at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte on Saturday night.

D.J. Kennington of St. Thomas, who won his second NASCAR Canada title in three years this season, was among those honoured at the affair. Martin Roy was named Rookie of the Year in the Canadian series and the Most Popular Driver award went to Ray Courtemanche Jr. (and I have no idea how that happened . . .).

Lotus has been released from its contract by IndyCar, so the only engine suppliers in 2013 will be Chevrolet and Honda. They shouldn’t have any trouble supplying the field because I suggest car count will become a story again. We won’t cross that bridge till later but it is highly unlikely that 25 or 26 cars will be showing up for every race, as was the case this year.

– 12-year-old Devlin DeFrancesco of Toronto, who won a Canadian karting championship this season, travels to Brazil next weekend for the famous 12-hour Gran ja Viana 500 kart race. His teammates? None other than Tony Kanaan and Rubens Barrichello.

Another Canadian youngster will also be making the trip. Jamie Riberdy will represent the Brian Stewart Racing Karting Championship Series and his trip is being paid for by Luis Ruibal and Wagner Rossi of MG Tires.

Care to keep an eye on these kids? Follow the action at: www.betocarrero.com.br/500milhas

– The World of Outlaws sprint car series issued their 2013 schedule last week and it’s a killer. Get this: they will race more than 90 times from February until November. Their Canadian swing starts on Sat., July 27, at Drummondville, Que., and goes to Cornwall Motor Speedway on the Sunday. Then, it’s on to Ohsweken Speedway on the Six Nations Reserve near Brantford two nights later on Tuesday, July 30.

The last two times the Outlaws raced at Ohsweken, NASCAR star Tony Stewart was the winner. Will he make it a hat trick in 2013? You can bet he’ll try.

– Austin is after the FIA to give it another date for its Grand Prix because it was discovered that the 2013 event (Nov. 17) is being held the same weekend as a Texas Longhorns football game.

They just found that out? That football schedule’s been out for months! Don’tcha think somebody might have looked and told the FIA to take that into consideration? Just wondering . . .

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