Tuesday, July 24, 2007

NCATS: McColm Strong in Second Road Course Start in Edmonton

(Edmonton, Alberta) – Round five of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius was run last weekend in Edmonton, Alberta, and Joey McColm, of Ajax, Ontario and his Team ATTO / Lang Michener / Dodge Charger were ready for the challenge. For McColm, it would be his second career road course start, as the Late Models took to the Edmonton Airport course as part of the Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton.

The weekend started with a practice session and McColm concentrated on learning the track. His times dropped as he put laps down, but with the Canadian Tire Series playing the support role, their track time was limited. McColm explained, “We were so much closer to the leaders in times than we were at Mosport. I was only a couple seconds a lap slower than Andrew Ranger, and he’s been racing on road courses all his life – this was my second time ever.”

The final practice session finished with McColm up to 12th fastest overall. That would put Joey in the fastest qualifying session.

McColm rolled out for qualifying, and with a car that was much more balanced than at Mosport, ran a number of solid laps. “Being so fast in practice, it was kind of neat, because I got to go out right behind Peter Gibbons. I tried to follow him the best I could. We were in good shape, until late when a bunch of guys put in some bonzai laps.”

The teams took to the track for the 32-lap feature with Joey rolling from the inside of the ninth row. When the green dropped, McColm went on the hunt, picking them up and laying them down as he started to move through the field. After gaining a pair of positions, he tried to put the shuffle on Peter Gibbons, but got into a chicane a little too hard, sending him into the grass, “I just got in a bit too deep, and lost a couple of spots that I had gained.”

Again Joey got up on the wheel and worked his way forward, he picked off a number of cars as the raced worked into the middle stages. Joey climbed to 11th and was going for a position on Kevin Dowler when he made his second mistake of the afternoon, kicking him out of the groove and sending him back to a respectable 16th-place showing. “We had a great run, and our finish doesn’t represent how well we ran. This was my second road course race, and the only thing that went wrong for us was the driver making a couple mistakes behind the wheel that cost us a top-ten finish. The guys had my car so much better than it was at Mosport, and I have more laps now. I just need some more experience, and the results will keep getting better on the road courses.”

For the second time in as many weeks, J.R. Fitzpatrick used a last lap pass to capture a Canadian Tire Series feature. Andrew Ranger started on the pole and led the first 31 circuits, but on the final lap, Fitzpatrick was able to avenge an earlier season road course defeat at the stock car rookie’s hand.

1. Fitzpatrick, 2. Ranger, 3. Robin Buck, 4. D.J. Kennington, 5. Don Thomson Jr., 16. Joey McColm.

The next event for Team ATTO will be Saturday, August 4th as the undercard for the NASCAR Busch Series NAPA 200 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. McColm is excited about another trip to a road course saying, “I think we can do a few things to the car before that race to make it even better. Plus, I’ll get some more experience, and that’s goal number one.”

From Jamie Maudsley

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