Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"Villeneuve A Racing Legend" By Allan de la Plante

Gilles Villeneuve was perhaps the fastest Formula 1 Driver to ever hit a race track. His many fans, all these 31 years later, seem to think so. Villeneuve A Racing Legend is a celebration of Gilles racing life and a tribute to his many fans. Villeneuve A Racing Legend will take you on a visual journey into this romantic time in Formula One where triumph and tragedy are but the flick of an eye apart. Many videos and slideshows bring Gilles back to us and let him in many cases tell the story.

Gilles Villeneuve Born In Richelieu, Quebec - January 18, 1950

January 18, 1950 - May 8, 1982
Gilles Villeneuve
(Photo: Formula1streaming via photopin cc)
Born in Richelieu, Quebec, Canada.
Villeneuve grew up in Berthierville, in the largely French-speaking province of Quebec. Villeneuve spent six years in Grand Prix racing with Ferrari, winning six races and widespread acclaim for his performances.

An enthusiast of cars and fast driving from an early age, Villeneuve started his professional career in snowmobile racing. He moved into single seaters, winning the US and Canadian Formula Atlantic championships in 1976, before being offered a drive in Formula One with the McLaren team at the 1977 British Grand Prix. He was taken on by reigning world champions Ferrari for the end of the season and from 1978 to his death in 1982 drove for the Italian team. He won six Grand Prix races in a short career at the highest level. In 1979, he finished second by four points in the championship to teammate Jody Scheckter.

Villeneuve died in a 140 mph (225 km/h) crash caused by a collision with the March of Jochen Mass during qualifying for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder. The accident came less than two weeks after an intense argument with his teammate, Didier Pironi, over Pironi's move to pass Villeneuve at the preceding San Marino Grand Prix. At the time of his death, Villeneuve was extremely popular with fans and has since become an iconic figure in the history of the sport. His son, Jacques Villeneuve, became Formula One world champion in 1997 and, to date, the only Canadian to win the Formula One World Championship.

For more see; The Gilles Villeneuve Story - The Early Years

Gilles Villeneuve: The Life of the Legendary Racing Driver: The Life of a Legend
Villeneuve A Racing Legend

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Wheelsport Shopping Central - Villeneuve

By Gerald Donaldson
Gilles Villeneuve became a legend in his own time, a driver whose skill and daring personified the ideals of Grand Prix racing, the pinnacle of motor sport. With his flamboyantly aggressive, press-on-regardless style in his scarlet Ferrari, he captured the imagination of a vast international audience as no other driver has in recent times.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

"Happy Birthday" Kerry Micks

January 10, 1961
Kerry Micks
Born in Mount Albert, Ontario, Canada.
Micks currently competes in the NASCAR Pinty's Series. Kerry and his wife Susan formed Micks Motorsports in 1992 to compete in the CASCAR Super Series. From 1990 to 2006 he drove in CASCAR, where is the all time leader in starts with 165 and second in wins with 24 in the series. Micks won his first and only CASCAR Super Series Championship in 1993. Micks was the first Canadian driver to race a Ford when Ford of Canada came on board for the CASCAR Super Series in 1995.

 After NASCAR completed their buyout of CASCAR in 2007, Micks began to race in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. He has had 3 wins Montreal, Trois-Rivières (2007); Mosport Speedway (2008) as well as 2 poles Barrie (2007); Montreal (2008). In 2009 he had little success, but in 2010 things looked promising he lost on the last lap to D.J. Kennington after winning the pole and leading most of the laps in July at Autodrome St-Eustache and had 6 top fives finishing 4th in the final point standings.

In 2012 Micks stopped competing full time on the Canadian Tire circuit, splitting the races with fellow veteran driver and 1994 CASCAR Champion Mark Dilley. Micks would run the road courses in the #02, while Dilley would run the oval circuits. Micks would races one oval however, entering the teams road course car, renumbered at the 56, at Riverside International Speedway. Micks retired from the race after just 4 laps, giving him his only DNF on the season.

Micks continues his part time schedule in 2013, racing 6 races for Micks Motorsports, while added an additional two races in the #98 Ford owned by Canadian NASCAR pioneer Jim Bray. Micks would DNF out of 4 of his races entered in 2013, including both in Bray's cars. Micks substituted for Dilley at the oval at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, surprising the field by winning the pole and leading 86 laps before dropping out with ignition failure.

For the third season in a row Micks would split 2014 with Mark Dilley. Micks again enter his road course car into two oval races, at Riverside and Barrie Speedway, this time numbered as the 9. Micks entered a Dodge at Barrie, making it one of the only times in Micks career he would race something other than a Ford.

Monday, January 09, 2017

"Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame Member" Craig Hill Born - January 9, 1934

January 9, 1934 - November 1, 2012
Craig Hill
 (Photo; John R Walker)
Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
In a driving career that spanned almost 40 years, Hill raced and won in almost every type of racing car, He started out in stock cars at the CNE Speedway, raced supermodifieds at Nilestown and Delaware Speedways near his London area home, raced full-size midgets in the United States and then went road-racing in sports cars and sophisticated open-wheel formula cars. He was Canadian Formula B champion in 1969 and 1970, driving a Formula Ford he modified to formula B spec. He co-drove with Ludwig Heimrath to win the Sundown Grand Prix at Mosport in 1973 and 1974.

As advertising and promotions manager of Castrol Canada, he was involved in that company's investment in Canadian motorsport. It's an understatement to say that he did an incredible amount for Canadian racers and motorsports.

Craig Hill was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 1996. He died at his home in West Lorne, Ontario, on November 1, 2012. He was 78.

Wheels Editor Norris McDonald wrote; Farewell to a Canadian motorsport original, Craig Hill 

Thursday, January 05, 2017

"Riverside International Speedway Founder" John Chisholm Born - January 5, 1946

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.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Happy Birthday "Canadian Superbike Champ" Jordan Szoke - December 30, 1978

December 30, 1978
Jordan Szoke
(Photo; canadianautoracing)
Born in Brantford, Ontario, Canada.
Jordan Szoke’s career started as the youngest roadracer to earn his professional license, at the age of 15. Jordan showcased his raw talent consistently landing him on the podium. Shattering track records and earning championships gained him some deserved notoriety.  Winning his very first National Championship at the age of 16, only two short seasons after entering competition, it was clear that this was exactly what Jordan was born to do.
(Photo; canadianautoracing)
Throughout his evolution Jordan has won over 20 National championships in his 20 year career.  Jordan changed the record books in 2010 when he earned both Superbike and Sportbike championships for 5 years consecutively. Jordan also holds the record for the most Superbike Championships in Canadian History with 10 in total. His seventh title in 2010, his tenth title in 2015, and his eleventh title in 2016 was achieved with an unprecedented perfect season.

2016 also found Szoke entering into the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame. Also claiming the 2016 BMW Motorrad Race Trophy comprising of 20 championships with in 24 countries on six continents. 

(Photo; canadianautoracing)
Jordan follows his passion for everything two wheels and competes successfully in many bicycle events road and mountain.  In 2012 Szoke claimed three championships in three different disciplines; Road racing, Observed Trials and Mountain Bike.

He is also known for his off the track charity work competing annually in the Wayne Gretzky Celebrity Golf Tournament. He was recognized for his achievements by receiving the prestigious Award of Merit from the foundation. Jordan also endorses a program Racing for a Cure that accumulates funds for the Princess Margaret Foundation for cancer research. 

Jordan has been inducted into the Brantford Hall of Fame and earned Athlete of the Year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

"Happy Birthday" David Empringham

December 28, 1963
David Empringham
Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
David is a 2-time Toyota Atlantic, 1-time Indy Lights and 2-time Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge champion.

Empringham began his racing career in 1987, competing in the Spenard/David Formula 2000 series. He then competed regularly in the GM Motorsport series (teammate of Canadian racing legend Richard Spenard) for several years, drove a handful of races in the IMSA Firestone Firehawk series, the Porsche Turbo Cup and Formula Toyota Atlantic.

In 1992, David began competing full-time in the Toyota Atlantic Championship, where he won back-to-back championships in 1993 and 1994. In 1993 David won the Championship with "underdog" CANASKA racing and Canadian Tire sponsorship, based out of Toronto, Ontario. 1994 saw David move to the BDJS racing team, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, taking the Canadian Tire sponsorship with him. 1995 saw David narrowly miss the three-peat, being beat out by Richie Hearn for the title.

1996 saw David make the move to Indy Lights, replacing Greg Moore, who had moved up to the team's CART operation, in the Player's/Forsythe racing Lola. 1996 saw many wins including a thrilling victory in the fastest Indy Lights race ever run on the high banks of Michigan International Speedway during the Inaugural US 500 weekend in May, and ultimately another Championship for "Emp's" mantle. 1997 saw some successes, but no championship. Despite his success in Atlantics and Indy Lights, amazingly enough Empringham never started a CART race.

In 2001, after several years out of the spotlight, David began competing Part-time in Grand-Am Cup and Grand-Am Motorola series races. During the 2005 season, he managed 2 victories and 8 top-ten finishes on his way to the GS series title with co-driver Scott Maxwell driving for Multimatic Motorsports.

Since then, Dave has competed in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution in Time Attack events for the Sierra Sierra Enterprises (USA) team. Empringham is a two-time runner up at the World Time Attack Challenge in Sydney, Australia (2010, 2011), both times losing out to Tarzan Yamada, who drives for the Japanese Cyber Evo team in a similar Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.

In 2012 Empringham returned to full-time racing in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge with co-driver John Farano in the #83 BGB Motorsports Porsche Carrera. After a consistent season of points finished, Dave and John won the 2012 driver's title.

Outside of the cockpit, Empringham’s experience and knowledge are in high demand as a driver coach.

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