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Auto racing headline of the week:
“McLaren pleased with Perez so far”
He dropped into the factory to say hello to everybody and the McLaren brass thought this was swell.
Such is the state of motorsport journalism in the dead of winter.
Here, however, is real news.
Two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip is coming to Toronto.
Well, not exactly Toronto. Mississauga is more like it, but you get the drift.
He’ll be appearing at the 7th annual Canadian Motorsports Expo being held Feb. 8-10 at The International Centre out by Pearson International.
The veteran NASCAR television personality, team owner and racer (like Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski, he’s also active on Twitter — @mw55) will appear at the Expo on Sat. afternoon, Feb. 9, to sign autographs and take part in a question-and-answer session with fans.
Waltrip’s appearance is in keeping with the Expo’s practice of bringing major stars to Toronto. Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski and Dario Franchitti are some of the others who have appeared.
According to Expo sponsor Inside Track Motorsports News, Waltrip has driven in 770 Sprint Cup races over 28 years. Most of the time these days, however, he’s busy directing staff in the preparation and entering of cars in NASCAR Sprint Cup races for drivers Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer and Mark Martin.
Except when it comes to Daytona. Waltrip will again try for his third Daytona 500 victory this year and a week after appearing in Toronto, he’ll be back in Daytona driving a Toyota in a one-off for Swan Racing. He’ll have Tony Eury Jr. as his crew chief for the 500. And to warm up for the big stock cars, he’ll be driving in the Rolex 24 sports-car race at Daytona next weekend.
Said Waltrip, in a release: “With the racing season less than a month away, it’s a very busy and exciting time. MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) had its most successful season ever, in 2012, and we’re really looking forward to 2013. Add into the mix that I’ll be racing in the Rolex 24 and the Daytona 500, and I suspect I’ll have plenty to talk about with the fans at the Canadian Motorsports Expo. I look forward to meeting as many of them as possible and signing a lot of autographs.”
Said Expo co-promoter Rob Morton, also in a release: “In addition to being a two-time winner of the Daytona 500, Michael Waltrip is one of the most popular and recognizable personalities in all of racing. He’s involved in all aspects of the sport, which gives him a unique perspective. We’re very excited that he’s coming to the CME.”
We’ll pass on more information about the Expo as it becomes available. It’s always a great show.
Robert Kubica, who came with an eyelash of losing his life in that terrible rally crash in 2011, is going to test a German Touring Car Series Mercedes.
But before getting too excited about this, remember that it’s only a test. He’s doing to be rally racing again this season and several of the European Rally Championship dates he’ll be doing are on the same weekends as DTM races.