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Final NASCAR Pinty’s race moved to new speedway

Auto racing columnist Norris McDonald has learned that NASCAR has moved the last Pinty’s Series race of 2017 from Peterborough’s Kawartha Speedway to the new Jukasa Motor Speedway south of Hamilton.

  • Kawartha Speedway

Ever since NASCAR bought the Canadian stock car racing series CASCAR in 2006, the final race of the season has been held in September at the Peterborough-area Kawartha Speedway, which doubles — maybe even triples — as a horse-racing venue and OLG slots casino.

The speedway, a 3/8-mile paved oval inside the 5/8-mile cinder track used by trotters and pacers, was frequently the site of championship-clinching races where national champions like Scott Steckly (four titles), Andrew Ranger (two), D.J. Kennington (two), L.P. Dumoulin and Cayden Lapcevich were crowned.

This year, there has been a last-minute change. Because of circumstances at Kawartha that have had negative consequences for both horse and car racing, the Kawartha race has been cancelled and the final race moved to the new Jukasa Motor Speedway near Hagersville, south of Hamilton.

The final race will now be held at Jukasa on Sat., Sept. 23, instead of on the Sat., Sept. 16, Kawartha date.

Ironically, Jukasa was previously known as Cayuga Speedway and was the site of the very first NASCAR Pinty’s race in 2007, which was won by the now-retired Don Thomson Jr., who’s an inductee of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame.

Closed for many years — the final race held was an ISMA supermodified tour event in 2009 — the speedway was purchased in 2016 by Kenny Hill and Jerry Montour and a major renovation and repaving launched. The speedway will officially reopen on Aug. 26 and 27 with the touring APC United Late Model Series headlining.

“We are looking forward to crowning our 2017 NASCAR Pinty’s Series champion at Jukasa Motor Speedway,” said George Silbermann, vice-president of NASCAR regional and touring series.

“We’ve talked about the series’ return (to Jukasa) at some point, and when the opportunity arose to host the finale, they stepped up. The track has substantial history with the NASCAR Pinty’s Series and stock car racing in Canada, and it’s extremely fitting we crown Canada’s national champion there.”

Throughout its history, Jukasa Speedway promoted countless high-profile racing events and notable NASCAR stars like Dale Earnhardt and Bobby Allison have raced there.

“We’ve made no secret that we’re looking to return the track to its status as ‘Canada’s Crown Jewel,’ and hosting the country’s championship event is a big step toward that goal,” said Jukasa general manager Alex Nagy.

“When NASCAR approached us with the possibility of being added to the schedule, we jumped at the opportunity. A lot of hard work has gone into returning this track to its glory, and the season finale is a perfect stage for us.”

The track now features banking up to 8.5 degrees with slight banking on the previously flat straightaways. The racing surface has also been expanded to 60 feet. The track sits on more than 350 acres and has 1,100 campsites.

The NASCAR Pinty’s Series just completed its annual swing through western Canada, with Quebec driver Alex Labbe winning two of the three races.

There are five races remaining on the 2017 schedule, with the next one scheduled for Trois-Rivieres, Que., on Sun., Aug. 13

Kawartha Speedway

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