Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Paul Tracy Makes Canadian Motorsport History - July 18, 1993

July 18, 1993
Paul Tracy of Toronto crossed the finish line 13.023 seconds ahead of his Marlboro Team Penske teammate Emerson Fittipaldi to take victory in the 1993 Molson Indy Toronto. Known as the “Thrill from West Hill,” Tracy became the first Canadian to win an Indy car race in his home and native land. It also marked the first major international racing victory for a Canadian driver in Canada since Gilles Villeneuve had won the 1978 F1 Grand Prix of Canada.

It was a wildly popular victory in front of a hometown crowd of 66,225. “It’s just a great feeling to win here and I’m going to need a few days for it to sink in, that I actually have won this race,” Tracy said afterward. “I can’t really get it into words what the day was like. The fans were tremendous and right from the time I got to the track, I could feel them pulling for me. On the last lap, I could just sense that they were really cheering me to the line, but I had to keep my concentration on the race because I had a couple of slow cars in front of me. “But when I crossed the line, I could look and see them going a little wild. It was just a great day and I’m glad I could bring it home for the people of Toronto and Canada.”

Saturday, July 15, 2017

"Happy Birthday" D.J. Kennington

July 15, 1977
D.J. Kennington
(Photo;"17 D.J. Kennington" by Veilleux79 - Own work)
Born in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada.
 He currently competes full-time in the NASCAR Pinty's Series, driving the No. 17 for his own team DJK Racing. He won the 2010 and 2012 Pinty's Series championships. Kennington also competes part-time in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, driving the No. 96 Toyota Camry for Gaunt Brothers Racing and the No. 15 Chevrolet SS for Premium Motorsports. He is the son of Doug Kennington, a CASCAR driver and founder of St. Thomas Dragway. He has also competed in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series.

Kennington made his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut at the 2016 Can-Am 500 at Phoenix in the No. 55 for Premium Motorsports, where he finished 35th. In 2017, he joined newly-formed Gaunt Brothers Racing to run the Daytona 500 in the No. 96 Toyota Camry. He attempted qualified again for the team at Talladega, but failed to qualify. He will run the No. 15 Premium Motorsports at Daytona in July. He qualified in 28th after racing his way in during the second Can-Am Duel qualifying race, but got collected in a 16-car crash on lap 129.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Remembering Kathryn "Kat" Teasdale

December 25, 1966 - June 2, 2016
Kathryn "Kat" Teasdale
 Home: Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
A former downhill ski racer, Kathryn discovered a love for automobile racing when a knee injury sidelined her. She started racing in 1988 in Formula Ford 2000 before moving into SCCA and the Players GM Motorsports Series in Canada. She was the 1993 CASCAR Rookie-of-the-Year. She was also the first woman to race in a NASCAR BUSCH Grand National North series. Kat has been involved with numerous other racing series such as IMSA Endurance, Trans Am, Formula Atlantic, Indy Lights & NASCAR Nationwide Series.

She was passionate in her work with children's charities. Kathryn had a successful event-planning business. In recent years, Kathryn was well recognized internationally as a breeder of Wirehaired Pointing Griffons (hunting dogs). She was extremely loving and dedicated to her dogs.

Kathryn died unexpectedly on Thursday, June 2, 2016 after a long struggle with physical and mental health issues. - See more at: Kathryn (Kat) Teasdale: 'The most determined person I ever met’ where Wheels Editor Norris McDonald reminisces about Kathryn.

"Happy Birthday" Peter Gibbons

July 9, 1962
 Peter Gibbons
Born in Stouffville, Ontario, Canada.
During his 30 years behind the wheel of a race car, among Gibbons career highlights are CASCAR Super Series National Championships in 1998 and 1999. He was the 1997 CASCAR Rookie of the Year en route to the Eastern Series title. He won a NASCAR Late Model Sportsman Series, predecessor to today’s NASCAR Nationwide Series, event at Pocono Raceway on his way to a second-place finish in the point standings in 1992.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Horst Kroll Survives Nightmare Weekend In Dallas - July 7th, 1984

July 7th, 1984
Texas was not kind to our team that season on either visit. The first indication should have been on Wednesday afternoon, I received a message to go to Kroll's shop in West Hill to pick up a package that needs to come with me on a flight the next morning. That package contained 8 jars of paint. I knew at that point the car had received damage. But how much???

Arriving in Dallas Thursday morning, I was about to experience some of the most extreme air temperatures in my life. During my cab ride to the track I was informed by the driver they were days into a heat wave and there was no relief in site. Arriving at the track I was relieved to learn the cars bodywork had only received some minor damage during transportation. I joined Rolf Burger, Julie Bishop, Horst and his daughter Birgit in what was to be our crew for this very demanding weekend. It became very clear one of the biggest challenges was going to be the extreme heat that was around 100°F (38 °C) by noon. Most of the afternoon Thursday was spent repairing the damaged bodywork and preparing the car for Fridays qualifying.

 Friday went downhill for us with a stuck throttle putting Horst into the wall during the first qualifying session. Although placing the car 7th on the grid the car received heavy damage and the team was force to pull an overnight at the track returning to our hotel at 4 am for only a couple of hours sleep and a quick shower.

Saturday  morning an exhausted crew meet for breakfast and team meeting to review the list of chores left if we were going to make the starting grid. With time running out the team battled the extreme heat and fatigue. To make matters worst Horst was also dealing with a bad head cold. We managed a last minute quick, makeshift alignment and put the wheels on with only about 10 minutes to spare before being called to the starting grid. After moving up in the field early in the race disaster struck again. Pitting with a flat tire the team were unable to remove the wheel with our air gun. Goodyear Tire had recorded the highest track temperatures in their 20 years of racing (150 °F (66 °C), during Fridays Formula One qualifying, and the extreme heat had welded our wheel nut to the spindle. After retrieving a wheel wrench and extension pipe Rolf and I were able to loosen the nut with a sledge hammer. With Rolf suffering burns to his hands through his gloves the nut was forced back on over damaged threads and Kroll returned to the track and able to salvage an 8th place finish.

After a Sunday morning breakfast at the hotel, the exhausted team returned to the track to load the car and take advantage of our complimentary Formula One passes. Because of the extreme heat, the race started 3 hours early at 11 in the morning. The crowd of 90,000 were in a festive and hospitable mood. Beer coolers were already open and quickly shared with those in team uniforms, however for Kroll the weekend just keep getting worst. While trying to scale a fence to get a better vantage point, Horst fell and landed firmly on his back sending us to the hotel with one very tired, sick and sore driver. After a team dinner Sunday night everyone was ready to get out of town and back to good old TO as soon a possible.

Kroll also took a serious beating in the points, with Micheal Roe taking the win and Jim Crawford placing second. Dr Charles Monk was the top Canadian in fourth.

From, Horst Kroll: A Crew-members Story} Part Two - The 1984 Season

Thursday, July 06, 2017

"Happy Birthday" Rick Bye

July 6, 1953
Rick Bye
Born in St Catharines, Ontario, Canada.
A 30-year veteran of professional motorsports, Bye has experience in all levels of the racing business as a driver, team owner, series administrator and instructor. His past victories include races and championships at several North American tracks and race series including the highly competitive NASCAR Busch Grand National Series, the Daytona Rolex 24, D.I.R.T. Modified Stock Car Championship, Firestone Firehawk Endurance Championship, and Rothman's Turbo Cup. Bye is twice Canadian Endurance Racing Champion in Porsches. From 1990 to 1994, he was among the top 15 Porsche racers worldwide in the Porsche Cup Championship and was instrumental in establishing the Porsche Advanced Driving School. He is one of the most sought after high performance driving instructors in North America.

Rookie Bourdais Tops Tracy In Cleveland - July 6, 2003

July 6, 2003
(Photo; "Bourdais". Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.)
Rookie Sebastien Bourdais of Newman Haas Racing, finished 2.24 seconds ahead of Canada's Paul Tracy, who was in the 200th race of his career, to win the "U.S. Bank Presents the Cleveland Grand Prix" at Burke Lakefront Airport, Cleveland, Ohio.

Brazil's Bruno Junqueira was third. Tracy's Player's/Forsythe teammate Patrick Carpentier finished 4th, while the third Canadian in the field Alex Tagliani was 8th.


Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Polesitter Kroll Struggles To 4th, Maintains Point Lead - July 5, 1986

July 5, 1986
In Can-Am, Horst Kroll of Toronto starts from the pole, but has to settle for 4th after a lengthy pit stop to repair an oil leak, at Summit Point Motorsports Park, West Virginia, USA.
  With most of the regular crew back in Toronto, former teammate and Can-Am driver Mike Freberg assisted Horst in repairing a hole in the rocker cover. With his repair and return to the race, Horst was able to maintain his point lead, and keep the record of most consecutive finishes alive at 20. The race was won by Kroll's main championship rival Bill Tempero.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

"Riverside International Speedway Founder" John Chisholm Dies - July 4, 2014

January 5, 1946 - July 4, 2014
John Chisholm
Born in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada.
John and father Donald co-founded Nova Construction, one of the largest road building companies east of Quebec. When it came to the business of moving dirt and building roads, John was a natural from the start.

The Chisholm clan, whose centuries-old motto was "I am fierce with the fierce", was a family of farmers, loggers and earth-movers. Mechanical competence was considered a necessity of life. So at age 4, with his father looking on stoically, John Nova learned to drive a tractor. He bought his first D4 dozer at 17 and won a contract to dig the basement of the Angus L. MacDonald Library at St. Francis Xavier University, happily cutting classes to do so. Later that year John quit school for good and founded Nova Construction.

John Chisholm had a dream, to build a superior racing facility in his hometown of Antigonish. A lover of NASCAR racing, he traveled to Tennessee in the mid-1960s to scope out the legendary Bristol Motor Speedway, and ultimately created a replica. The Riverside International Speedway opened in 1969 and quickly became known as one of the premiere race tracks in the country.

In 1972 Chisholm climbed behind the wheel of his own race car and was a top modifed racer at Riverside driving cars built by Bobby Allison, Holman Moody, and Ed Howe. Until then most race cars driven in the Maritimes were home-built.

He ran the first Export “A” NASCAR race at Ontario’s Cayuga International Speedway. In 1975 he hosted the Export “A” NASCAR Series at Riverside, bringing in the reigning Daytona 500 winner, Benny Parsons, to drive his ’72 Chevelle.

In 1989 he sold Riverside, buying it back in 2005. He rebuilt the facility in 2006 and his son Donald races their today.

John Chisholm was inducted in the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame November 15, 2008. He was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame October 17th, 2015 alone with Ralph Luciw, Alex Tagliani , Don Thomson Jr and in the International Category Sir Jackie Stewart.