Trucks Hit the Road in Canada

Matt Crafton

Matt Crafton leads the standings as the Truck Series gets ready for its first road-course track since 2000. (Photo: Getty Images)

For the first time since 2000, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will return to a road course with Sunday's running of the Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

The trip north of the border to Bowmanville, Ontario, will be the first for the Truck Series. The race will extend a Canadian presence for a NASCAR national series for the seventh consecutive year after the Nationwide Series raced in Montreal from 2007-2012.

The last time the Truck Series ran on a road course was June 2000 at Watkins Glen International, one of four road courses (along with Topeka, Sonoma and Portland) that have hosted the series since its inception in 1995. Windsor, Ontario native Ron Fellows, a two-time Truck Series winner at Watkins Glen, will not be competing this weekend but will be at the event as co-owner of the facility, which is located about an hour from his current residence in Toronto.

"It's a great opportunity," Fellows said. "The Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is probably the most important international raceway. It's a track I grew up not only learning how to race on, but a big part of my life was spent there as a kid watching races. To be part of the ownership with Carlo Fidani has been a privilege and it's been a great learning experience, as well.

"We've made a lot of progress in a short amount of time and yeah, hopefully, the weather stays great. On the promotion side of it now, I find myself looking at the weather way more, especially this week."

The 2.459-mile, 10-turn natural road course does have characteristics similar to Watkins Glen, where Fellows also won three times in the Nationwide Series.

"Like most Grand Prix courses, our track has long, fast corners; more elevation than Watkins Glen; probably just a little bit faster at cornering, but very similar," Fellows said. "They are two tracks that were built in a similar era. I think it'll make for a great race. There are opportunities to pass because with these long, sweeping corners, you can capitalize on small mistakes and that's what you want to have."

Ron Hornaday won the first two races on road courses for the Truck Series at Topeka and Sonoma in 1995 with Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and then at Watkins Glen in 1996. This weekend, Hornaday will look to snap a 39-race winless streak - longest of his career - when he makes his 15th career series start on a road course.

"The trucks haven't seen it in a while and it's a lot of fun," said Hornaday, who will tie Rick Crawford for most series starts all-time with 336 on Sunday. "On the different-venue tracks we went to before, now going up to Canada is going to really make it special because we know the fans up there just love racing. The trucks really put on a great show. When they run over the ripple strips, how heavy the trucks are, the tires come off the ground and the sparks fly off the exhaust. It's exciting to go to a road course."

With Hornaday being the only driver in the field that has raced a Truck on a road course, many drivers tested at tracks like Virginia International Raceway or attended road course racing schools to prepare.

Series points leader Matt Crafton tested a Canadian Tire Series car at CTMP earlier this month with ThorSport teammate Johnny Sauter.

"I was very, very thankful that I went up there and did that because that place is going to be tough," Crafton said. "I'm just telling you the way I saw it, but it's a very, very cool and very fast road course."

Red Horse Racing teammates Timothy Peters, Germán Quiroga and John Wes Townley attended the Bondurant School prior to testing at VIR.

"I think the most important aspect of both Bondurant and VIR was learning the technique with how you work the wheel and brake the left and right," Peters said. "They teach you a lot about eye sight and that you have to look at things differently. When we went to Bondurant, we were in a street car. The best part about it was learning the technique on how to approach and attack the corners differently. It really helped me when we went on to the test at VIR. I knew to be smooth with the throttle and when to use it and always be looking."

Quiroga has some road course experience in the NASCAR Mexico Series where he won three championships.

"Hopefully everything goes well up there in Canada and we can have fun with the OtterBox Toyota Tundra," Quiroga said. "If it rains, it's going to be more fun - even more fun for me. I love racing in the rain, so hopefully it rains."

Turner Scott Motorsports driver Miguel Paludo is also looking forward to Sunday's road-course race due to his success in Porsche GT3 Cup prior to his transition to NASCAR.

"There is no doubt that this is the one I've been waiting for all year," Paludo said. "The No. 32 team and I have been strong every single week, but there isn't anywhere I feel more at home than a road course. My career was built on road courses."

Max Papis, who recently finished fourth at Mid-Ohio in the Nationwide Series and 15th in the Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen, will enter his first Truck race since 2011.

Mike Skeen, Alex Guenette and Martin Roy - each who have experience racing at CTMP - will making their first Truck Series start.

"I'm looking forward to racing at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park again," said Skeen, who will drive for Sharp-Gallaher Racing. "We swept the pole positions and wins here in 2011 and 2012 in our Chevrolet Corvette in the World Challenge GT Series."

Motor Racing Network - "The Voice of NASCAR" - will have live coverage of the inaugural Chevrolet Silverado 250 on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. (ET) - with live streaming at MotorRacingNetwork.com.

Crafton holds a 49-point lead over defending series champion James Buescher heading into the final nine races of the season. The road-course event kicks off a busy stretch of three races in 13 days for the Truck Series, including stops at Iowa Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway.

Race Center

Kansas 250

@ Kansas Speedway
Friday, May 08, 2015
Radio Start:
MRN, 8 p.m. (ET)
TV Start:
FOX Sports 1

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