Wednesday, June 3, 2009

NASCAR Canadian Tire Series News And Notes - Delaware

NASCAR Canadian Tire Series News & Notes - Delaware

*               Delaware 200 Notebook
*               Tufoil 250 Post-Race Notebook
*               Delaware Rejoins NASCAR Family

Beauchamp Back In A Better State Of Mind

The reasons are many and varied, but Ron Beauchamp Jr. is tired of talking and hearing about hard-luck races.

Just like any sport, racing is a game of inches. The difference between standing on the podium and loading a wrecked race car into the hauler can be too close to measure. Over the last two seasons for Beauchamp (No. 60 Mopar/Mobil 1/Exide Batteries Dodge), though, it might as well been measured with a yardstick. Regardless of the steps that he or his team took for the sake of improvement, very little worked.

“It’s been a rough couple of years. We kept looking to catch a break, but never could,” said Beauchamp.

With a 13-race schedule, playing catch up is not the place to be. In the 2008 season opener, the No. 60 Dodge finished third, but NASCAR officials found an impropriety at the post-race technical inspection. As a result, Beauchamp was relegated down to a last-place finish.

“We thought we had a great start to the year after a nightmare in 2007, but it didn’t turn out that way,” he said. “We got behind and got in a hole. We just never could get in front of it.”

Even though the hole, seemingly surrounded in sand, kept sliding in on them, the return of Chris Couvillion as crew chief raised the morale at the shop and the game at the track.

“It got to be a drag at the shop. I needed a jumpstart,” explained Beauchamp. “The shop is my happy place and it wasn’t for a while.”

Couvillion left Beauchamp in 2007 for another job in the racing industry, but his heart was at the track. With the way things had been going, it didn’t take long for the Beauchamp team to welcome him back with open arms.

“I think at the time his decision to leave was that it was for a better offer, but, I guess it didn’t turn out to be that way. It’s definitely our gain,” Beauchamp said.

After finishing outside the top 10 in eight of the first nine races in 2008, the return of Couvillion manifested itself in three top-five finishes in the final four races of the year.

The 2009 season opened with another top five—a third-place effort in St. Eustache—giving him three consecutive finishes in third dating back to last year. He led the race on four separate occasions for a total of 19 laps.

On the horizon for Beauchamp is the debut of a brand new car built over the off-season. Surprisingly, he is not at all hesitant to christen the new car with the season underway.

“I’m really not worried about it. Maybe I would, but the  geometry and construction of this car is perfect,” he said. “I’m done with excuses. It’s time for results.”

Fast Facts

The Race: Delaware 200 presented by Belfor Restoration Services
The Place: Delaware (Ont.) Speedway
The Date: Saturday, June 6
The Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
TV Schedule: TSN, June 14, 11:30 a.m. ET
Track Layout: Half-mile paved oval
Race Purse: $85,298 CAD
2008 Winner: Event Not Held
2008 Pole: Event Not Held
Schedule: Practice 1-2:30 p.m.;Time Trials 5:15 p.m.
Track Contact: John Houghton, (519) 652-5068, ext. 201,
NASCAR Contact: Shon Sbarra, (704) 309-5493,


1.  Dave Whitlock 185
2.  Kerry Micks  175
3.  Ron Beauchamp Jr. 170
4.  Scott Steckly 165
5.  Andrew Ranger 160
6.  Mark Dilley  155
7.  Jason White  151
8.  Don Thomson Jr. 143
9.  Jason Hathaway 142
10. Miguel Duhamel 134
11. Derek White  130
12. Kent Nuhn  127

Micks Taking Full Advantage Of Spec Engine Program

When word reached NASCAR Canadian Tire Series teams over the winter that NASCAR’s spec engine program was going to be an option in 2009, several teams had questions, but not Kerry Micks (No. 02 Beyond Digital Imaging Ford). He only wanted to know where to sign and how to get started.

The lower cost alternative for powering the car is perfect for Micks, a true tactician always looking for an edge over his competition, in this age of increasing costs.

“Once I was reasonably sure it would be competitive, it made perfect sense for us,” he said. “We were at a bit of a crossroads with our engine program and the chance to put a competitive car on the track for less money than we had been spending was a pretty simple choice.”

In the season opener, Micks, racing out of Mt. Albert, Ont., logged a runner-up finish, and led 28 laps along the way, proving the engine could stand up to the custom-built motors in many of the other cars.

“It was a great start, but there is a lot of racing left. My whole team pours their heart and soul into this program just like I do,” Micks said. “We’re going to keep our head down and do whatever we can do to win the championship. That’s our goal.”

Last year, Matt Kobyluck (East) and Eric Holmes (West) won NASCAR Camping World Series titles with spec engines under the hood.

News & Notes

The Race: This event is the second of 13 races on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series schedule. It is the series’ first visit to the track.

The Procedure: The starting field is 24 cars, including provisionals. The first 21 cars will be determined from two-lap time trials. The remaining three spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 200 laps (100 miles).

The Track: Delaware Speedway is a half-mile, paved stock-car track located just west of London, Ontario. For more than 55 years, Delaware Speedway has been the home to some of the finest stock car racing in Canada. Its unique natural amphitheatre-like setting allows maximum enjoyment for the fans. The track has undergone extensive remodeling over the past several months under the ownership of Arlen Scherba.

First-time Visit: This will be the first time the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series has competed at  the facility. Many competitors are already familiar with the surroundings. The track was a stalwart of the CASCAR Super Series. In fact, it was considered to be the ‘Home of CASCAR.’

For Real This Time: Several teams had the opportunity to test at the track five weeks ago. In a May 2 test session, Kerry Micks (No. 02 Beyond Digital Imaging Ford) registered the quickest lap at 19.028 seconds (94.597 mph). Defending series champion Scott Steckly (No. 22 Canadian Tire/Tow Truck in a Box Dodge) was just off that pace at 19.030 seconds (94.587 mph).

Also On Tap: It’s a full weekend of racing action at Delaware Speedway. On Friday evening, the Auto-Value Super Sprints will compete in an 8 p.m. ET feature. Joining the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series on Saturday will be the Delaware Super Stock division as they compete for honors in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.

Full Circle: After beginning his racing career at Delaware Speedway in the street stock division, Dave Whitlock (No. 39 Dickies/NMT Dodge), who will retire as a driver at the close of the 2009 season, looks to extend his winning streak to two races after winning the season opener at Autodrome St. Eustache.

NCATS Notebook: Tufoil 250 Post-Race

Done At 25: With his Tufoil 250 win at Autodrome St. Eustache, Dave Whitlock (No. 39 Dickies/NMT Dodge) ended his NASCAR Canadian Tire Series winless streak at 25. He has competed in every event since the series’ inception in 2007.

A Matter of Time: Dating back to last season, Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Wal-Mart/Tide Ford) has been inching closer and closer to his first oval-track win in the series. At St. Eustache, he led a race-high 144 laps before settling for a finish in sixth place. For his career, the 22-year-old former open-wheel competitor still has less than 30 starts in a stock car on ovals.

High-Water Marks: World-class motorcycle racer Miguel Duhamel (No. 7 Jacombs Racing Ford) finished 10th and posted his first series career top-10 finish in just his third start. Jason White (No. 21 A&W/Zimmer-Wheaton GMC Chevrolet) equaled his series career-best finish of seventh, previously accomplished on two occasions.

Loosened Grip: By earning his first series career pole position on an oval track, Scott Steckly (No. 22 Canadian Tire/Tow Truck in a Box Dodge) snapped Fitzpatrick Motorsports’ string of eight consecutive poles on ovals. Last season, Don Thomson Jr. (No. 4 Home Hardware Chevrolet) picked up seven of those while teammate JR Fitzpatrick (No. 84 Fitzpatrick Motorsports Chevrolet) collected one.

Mobil 1 Command Performance of the Race Award: As a reward for his NASCAR Canadian Tire Series victory at Autodrome St. Eustache, Whitlock collects $1,500 from Mobil 1 for his effort. It was his first series win.

Mopar Quick Three: This program awards the top three finishing Dodges in the race. In the Tufoil 250, the victorious Whitlock was the highest-finishing Dodge and thus earned a $2,000 bonus. Third-place finisher Ron Beauchamp Jr. (No. 60 Mopar/Mobil 1/Exide Dodge) was the second-highest finishing Dodge, which earned him $1,000. Picking up $500 for finishing as the third-highest Dodge was  Steckly.

Coca-Cola Move of the Race Award: Improving his position the most over the course of the race was  Whitlock. After starting 11th on the grid, he bided his time before working his way forward for the win. As a result, he earned the $1,000 award from POWERade.

MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Race Award: In a new program for 2009, the driver who compiles the most points in a specialized system involving qualifying, race finish and leading laps collects the $1,000 award. In the Tufoil 250, Steckly with his start on the pole and fourth-place finish edged Ranger for the honor.

Home Tracks Update: Delaware Speedway Returns To NASCAR Family Of Tracks

For the staff and management of Delaware (Ont.) Speedway, the beginning of the race season signals a couple of things—the dawn of a new ear and a chance to catch their breath.

In late January, track officials announced that Arlen Scherba had bought out his partners and became the sole owner of the facility. He promptly declared that the half-mile track would rejoin the NASCAR family.

Delaware Speedway became the first Canadian track to hoist the NASCAR banner for its weekly racing program in 2004, but the relationship came to an end following the 2005 season.

With Scherba’s focus and commitment, the track began an unprecedented phase of renovations.

Pit road was completely demolished and new concrete was poured. The frontstretch, which had become a handful for the drivers over the years, has a brand new coat of asphalt. And several fan areas have been improved to add to their enjoyment of the racing action.

“We are very pleased to have Delaware return to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR Managing Director of Racing Operations. “Canada is home to very passionate NASCAR fans and Delaware is another great example of the exciting short-track racing that is the foundation of NASCAR.”

On the track, the season is still quite young. Ron Sheridan has a win and a slim two-point advantage over Jesse Kennedy, who also earned a victory, in the standings after just two outings, so far. The two Delaware drivers also sit atop the Ontario provincial standings in the latest NASCAR Whelen All-American Series points update.

Drivers from both Delaware and Barrie (Ont.) Speedway will battle all season long for the coveted Ontario provincial championship. National and state, or province, champions in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series are determined by drivers’ highest 18 finishes at NASCAR-sanctioned tracks within a state or province.

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