Tag Archives: ctmp

NASCAR Trucks at CTMP Canadian Tire Motorsport Park debrief

For the second time this year I took my little red roadster on another thousand mile road trip north of the border to Ontario, Canada. Much like the trip in the beginning of the season for Victoria Day, Ontario was freezing cold. It didn’t help that I decided to camp… at least for the first few days where I got pretty well cold but with prospect of rain on the schedule I decided to ditch this camping thing and evacuate to Bowmanville where my CouchSurfing friend was kind enough to host me. Warm bed, hot shower, my fortunes turned around really quickly.

I had a hard time deciding whether to go to Watkins Glen for IndyCar or travel twice the distance to Mosport for NASCAR trucks and I’m glad I did… the series was all they were cracked up to be, although on a much lower scale… a budget version of the Monster Energy Cup and the Xfinity Series if you will. Nevertheless this event over Labour Day weekend is the biggest event Mosport gets right now… even though I’m sure IMSA feels bigger.

The Motorsport Marshaling Services club went above and beyond at making me feel welcome back… and so did all of the locals. I had fantastic station assignments. Some I haven’t worked in a while, like Turn 8… and some I never worked before like Turn 3 and Turn 1. Ironically I couldn’t even find my way to Turn 3 on the morning of that assignment because I didn’t realize it was on the other side of the track… I had worked 2A many times before and saw the marshals on our side of the track, but it was a surprise to me to discover the hard station across track and nicely elevated for a perfect view of that turn with all of it’s elevation changes.

We didn’t have many incidents to flag this weekend. The biggest being probably from the feature event… as the series direction refers to it… the Nissan Micra Cup. With the new suspension the cars were less prone to roll over, but they were still very prone to incidents. On Race Day in Turn 1 one had a tank slapper and smashed the wall losing a wheel in the process which continued onwards to Turn 2. I was on comms for that incidents and may have fumbled the call a little bit. It was neat to witness though.

My buddy from Montreal came over to marshal in pit lane. And several more people I worked with at Formula E were working directly for Canadian Touring Car Championship. So it was an awesome weekend to catch up with friends. The boss of CTCC even gave me a few series hats and a lanyard to take home as a souvenir. And for that I’m very grateful.

Would love to go back to Canada again for another event.

Post Card from the Labour Day Weekend at Mosport with NASCAR Trucks, Pinty’s Series, Micra Cup, Porsche GT3 Cup Canada and CTCC

Here’s a bunch of pix from my Labour Day weekend in Canada, volunteering for NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for the very first time… but also for the second time this year (after Victoria Day in the beginning of the season) working the Canadian NASCAR Pinty’s Series, Nissan Micra Cup, Canadian Touring Car Championship and the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Canada.

It was an excellent weekend… a bit chilly, well more than that, it was freaking cold. And then the rain came for race day so I evacuated Mosport to my CouchSurfing host in Bowmanville and my mood improved (with a few warm showers and a comfy bed).

Here’s some pix of the trip:

Always love seeing the Pinty’s Series, which is Canadian development NASCAR feeder series for the American version of cars and trucks…

Car with my favorite paint job… there was a similar truck too which unfortunately I didn’t get a shot of…

Glad I got to visit my friends at CTCC who were kind enough to give me some series swag like a couple of hats and a nice lanyard!

My favorite TCR car… the Euro Honda Civic Type R

Thanks to Hurrican Harvey gas prices in Canada jumped 30 cents a liter… down in the US it was more like 50 cents a gallon… ugh!

More soon…

Post Card from NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at CTMP in Canada

Mission accomplished! I volunteered for my first NASCAR Truck race… had to leave the US to do it, but what better place to volunteer a NASCAR event than at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park?

Funny enough last week during IMSA at VIR, Mosport came up during Radio Le Mans broadcast a few times… I remember hearing them talk about how similar the two tracks are, and I felt proud and lucky that I’m able to volunteer at both. The NASCAR trucks was a cool experience… the Pinty’s Series that supported it were great. I loved the Micra Cup race and the Porsche GT3 Cup Canada had a make up race from the huge crash at Watkins Glen earlier in the season, also ironically it was the crash that happened in my corner. I’m really happy to participate in all these interconnected events even though they are at different tracks with different series.

And unlike many other tracks, CTMP allowed me to actually access the NASCAR trucks paddock… and while I didn’t have time to go when a bunch of the trucks were out, the few pix that I did get made me quite happy…

Oooh… and we almost had a rain race thanks to Hurricane Harvey… stay tuned for more from Mosport!

Mazda MX-5 Miata Cup Cars Victoria Day Speedfest at Mosport

All of these cars you have already seen before on this blog… a few weeks ago at VIR, but now Canadian Tire Motorsports Park is in the background and since I left home at the crack of dawn to make sure I can’t them on the track for their Thursday test session, I’m going to share the pix separately from the general Paddock post card I wrote about in another blog post… so here it goes, lots and lots of Miata pix

Only a handful of teams ran the MX-5 cup car in the Pirelli World Challenge TC and TCA class. The TC cars of the past were NC Miata’s running a 2.5L engine and a big wing, which didn’t come standard on the car. The TCA class ran a standard 2.0L and a Mazdaspeed lip spoiler which carried over from the Playboy MX-5 Cup of the past. The cars literally came from Playboy Miata Cup once NC cars were phased out for ND Miatas. Now this year is a transition year as ND MX-5 Cup cars are eligible to run PWC. Unlike last week at VIRginia International Raceway, all the cars had their hard tops in place, and some teams like SAC above even wrapped them to match the livery. The SAC example above is especially interesting as they did the same thing at VIR, running both the NC and ND #74 car with identical liveries, transferring their knowledge gathered from data from one car to the other. Very cool!

Crunch….

Same same… but different!

The reflective wrap on this Winding Road car always makes my phone camera go haywire…

I have to say that the new ND lid looks so much better than NC lid.

Skittles!

The new Mazda CX-5 posing in the Victory Circle

Spectating from Turn 2

Parking near my station at Turn 9

Notice the Sunoco Race Gas Pump near Ultra 94 Petro-Canada pump

Fin

Post Card from the Nissan Micra Cup at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park during Victoria Day Speedfest

I survived my first Nissan Micra Cup at CTMP this weekend!

What is the Micra, you may ask?

It’s only the coolest race series in North America at present… so cool they are almost guaranteed to roll while crashing into your station, and I had two of them launch my way spraying the whole team with debris and a cloud of dust.

In many ways this series reminds me of the very similarly arranged Suzuki Swift Cup in New Zealand. It was extremely popular and good fun to watch because those cars, very similarly, had a tendency to roll whenever something happened. They were built like tanks, bounced off each other and various barriers around the track, and buzzed along to slow but hard earned victory. The Micra is a similar beast and for me that was basically the feature race of the weekend.

I was a little surprised to learn that they no longer sell Micra’s in the US… but the model racing in Canada, as new as it looks is actually at least three years old… that was the 2014 fourth generation model according to wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nissan_Micra

The field started out with around 30 cars on Thursday, when I arrived at the track to register for the event and take some pictures… but the time the weekend progressed a significant amount of cars dropped off the list. With many of them being written off completely. There were several roll overs each day. The two that hit us at Station 9 on Saturday were especially crazy! But I’ll wait for the video of the incident to come out in a couple of months to share the story…. hopefully there is some good footage of what happened.

For now here’s some pix from the paddock:

According to the locals this is a very French Canadian endeavor with most of the teams and drivers coming from Quebec (many of the races take place in the French speaking province since they have so many circuits)… there’s of course the Nissan-Renault tie up, and similar series exist in Europe like the Renault Clio Cup (off the top of my head)…

I thoroughly enjoyed this event. Despite getting way too close for comfort with a couple of out of control cars.

Can’t wait to do another one… maybe at Circuit Mont-Tremblant, QC or Circuit Trois-Rivières, QC

Victoria Day Speedfest at CTMP: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Featuring NASCAR Pinty’s Series and SCCA Pro Pirelli World Challenge debrief

Fantastic, absolutely fantastic weekend spent in Canada over the Victoria Day weekend flagging for some local NASCAR, touring car and SCCA Pro World Challenge series… what a hoot, eh?

It’s been three years since the last time I went to volunteer in Canada, the last time I did a double header working Toronto Indy followed by American Le Mans Series (hey remember ALMS? ) 🙂 back-to-back. That was 2013 and somehow the closest International destination to marshal fell off my radar, until now. I picked a relatively small pro weekend but full of excitement and variety. Variety because there was a lot of interesting stuff on track… from NASCAR stock cars, to local CTCC – Canadian Touring Car series, and my favorite Pirelli World Challenge with all groups on track including PWC GT/GTA/GT Cup, PWC GTS, PWC TC/TCA/TCB and a brand new class PWC Sprint X featuring a mix of GT/GTA/GTS cars… amazing!

In a typical CTMP fashion every day I was assigned a new station to work… I got to check out Turn 6 which is more of an uphill straight along the back straight… Turn 10 which is the last turn before Start/Finish and Turn 5 which is a very dramatic double apex hair pin with elevation changes… pretty awesome. I requested to Blue Flag the PWC series since I knew that IF I didn’t ask, they’d appoint another Blue Flag specialist and I’ll be stuck on Yellow Flag for the weekend, as that’s the way they do things in Mosport. Luckily my blue flag request was honored and I blue flagged like crazy. I even got to use the blue flag for NASCAR Pinty’s series which means a completely different thing… for them Blue Flag is local caution while Yellow Flag is full course caution. I volunteered to work on flags for the NASCAR sessions even though it was meant to be my time off, and I feel like I got my money’s worth.

This time around I stayed with a fellow marshal in Bowmanville… he’s a Canadian legend in the marshaling world having been born into Motorsport and marshaling for a very long and impressive career. I really enjoyed my stay!

The food was amazing as usual. I couldn’t wait to try new things as much as I wanted to try things I’ve had before just to stick to the local diet. I had poutine a few times. I had fish & chips. I even went to Timmy’s for some Timbits!

But for me this whole weekend was about cars, and I got plenty of action to enjoy… What a great time! I can’t wait to go back again.

While working at 10 and having pit entry in my direct line of sight I spotted someone with an SRO shirt moonlighting before the start of one of the PWC races… it was Stefan Ratel from Belgium. I’m really impressed with this guy, someone I’ve now seen in COTA and I think at Barber Motorsports Park too… I cannot wait to see what becomes of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. The new race of Sprint X which combined some of the GT/GTA cars with GTS was brilliant. I want to see more stuff like that taking place in the US!

ctmp victoria day speedfest chevy safety team

ctmp victoria day speedfest chevy official vehicle

ctmp victoria day speedfest audi r8 lms sprint x

ctmp victoria day speedfest audi r8 lms

ctmp victoria day speedfest bmw z4 gta

ctmp victoria day speedfest bmw z4

ctmp victoria day speedfest ferrari 458

ctmp victoria day speedfest gainsco mclaren red dragon

ctmp victoria day speedfest mclaren red dragon

ctmp victoria day speedfest dodge pinty's series nascar

ctmp victoria day speedfest nascar pinty's

ctmp victoria day speedfest nascar pinty's series dodge challenger

ctmp victoria day speedfest gmg porsches

ctmp victoria day speedfest porsche 911 r gmg pwc gt

ctmp victoria day speedfest porsche 911 r gmg pwc

ctmp victoria day speedfest sin r1 gt4 side scoops

ctmp victoria day speedfest sin r1 gt4 sprint x

ctmp victoria day speedfest sin r1 gt4

ctmp victoria day speedfest trg-amr aston-martin gts

Au revoir Canada… until next time!

Mazda MX-5: 1,000+ Mile International Road Trip to Ontario, Canada

Question: “Is Mazda MX-5 Miata a good Road Trip car?”

Answer: Yes, absolutely!

I keep asking myself this question and always come up with the same enthusiastic answer… Yes! My MX-5 Miata is a great Road Trip vehicle and I’ve proven it once again on my latest 1,123 mile drive up to CTMP in Clarington, Ontario.

mazda mx-5 miata 1000 mile road trip new jersey to ontario canada via 1000 islands

The distance from my home to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is roughly 500 miles each way. I spend my nights in Bowmanville, which is closer to Lake Ontario and the 401 highway, some 17 miles south of the track, so that accumulated a few miles. Along the way I got awesome fuel mileage and generally enjoyed the drive… the only thing that really made me curse outloud were the massive pot holes I found myself diving into every now and again, as roads in both US and Canada were pretty awful.

This trip was my first International drive in my own Miata… while I’ve done other International MX-5 events all around the world including Southeast Asia (Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia) and Oceania (Australia, New Zealand) this was the first time I was able to make a direct comparison with my car using different fuels… in US I was experimenting with Speedway gas while in Canada I tried both Shell 91 and Petro-Canada Ultra 94. What I found out is that Ultra 94 gave me a better fuel mileage than all the other fuel I used! That said, Speedway didn’t disappoint either and I got better fuel mileage than I normally get using BP fuel.

poutine at canadian tire motorsport park in bowmanville ontario from chip truck at race trac gas station

Since the Miata get together I was planning to have didn’t materialize, I focused on my other passion: food. And when it comes to Canada few things are more uniquely Canadian then Poutine (french fries with gravy and cheese curds). While I admit that I was in the wrong province for this dish, they are native to Quebec where they don’t even celebrate Victoria Day over this weekend. Poutine is delicious and the best I found is served out of a little food truck just a few miles up the road from CTMP on Durham Road 20 intersection with Route 35. Located conveniently at Race Trac gas station. The food is excellent, the portions are huge and the price is right… I managed to sneak out of the track during lunch on Saturday while working at Turn 10 to pick up their XL portion of this wonderful goodness… it was excellent!

poutine at canadian tire motorsport park in bowmanville ontario from chip truck at race trac gas station 3

At the track they fed is well also… including this excellent dinner on Saturday night with pulled pork, cross bun and cake!

marshal dinner at ctmp canadian tire motorsports park for victoria day weekend

I’ve had a few more delicious foodie experiences on this trip, both home cooked and at various restaurants. Probably the most delicious was a BBQ dinner at my CouchSurfing host’s house whom I’ve stayed with for a few times in the past but we weren’t sure if she’ll be around this time so I made plans to stay with a fellow marshal Craig. Nonetheless I didn’t want to waste an opportunity to go visit her after the last day of racing once I learned she was around, and the meal was fantastic…. we joked that everything on the menu was Canadian, and because it was home made, it was sooo good! The following day Craig and I went out for some Fish & Chips which I was craving. Halibut House was the only place open on Victoria Day and they didn’t disappoint.

fish and chips at halibut house in bowmanville clarington ontario canada

On the drive home I made it a point to visit Tim Horton’s… I realize the chain of stores now extends to New York (I made another stop in New York State as I felt I was falling asleep on my drive) but I had to visit the original place in Canada, and the French Vanilla drink they offer is incredible, it’s like sucking on a tit, sooo amazing!

timbits at timmy's tim hortons in ontario canada

Timbits at Timmy’s!

The border crossings both into Canada and back to the US were incredibly quick and painless and I’m very pleased with the folks that work at 1000 Islands crossing because they do a fantastic job. They were pleasant and courteous and I appreciate that kind of treatment. I found that roads in Canada were far smoother than ours in the US, especially at bridge joints on the highways, in Canada they were nice and smooth while in the US there’s a definite jolt every time you drive over them… I had to check tire pressures when I got home to make sure they still had enough air in them, because there were so many pot holes I hit on my drive. I’m cringing about the drive to Detroit in a few weeks, as Detroit and Michigan in general is the capital of pot holes in the US.

construction zone in ontario canada near 1000 islands crossing to usa

I like how the traffic signage in Canada gives you the penalties for speeding… there was another sign that said 40km/h over the limit and you get an instant license suspension and vehicle impound! They do not joke around, though I was the slowest car on the highway, everybody was speeding around me!

speeding fines in ontario canada

I’ll talk about my fuel mileage in greater detail in another post as I will also talk about the debrief from Vic Day at CTMP… as for this ONE THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY THREE MILE trip, I am delighted to report that it went super well!

Can’t wait to the next one.

Post Card from Mosport: Victoria Day Speedfest at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

Howdy from Canada, eh?

Another most excellent weekend in the books… Lots of racing action, good passes and spectacular crashes that I got to wave some flags for. Since this wasn’t  my first time to CTMP I knew what to expect and capitalized on the opportunities that presented themselves… I’ll do a more detailed debrief later, but for now some photos:

mazda mx-5 miata canadian road trip to ctmp canadian tire motorsport park in bowmanville ontario 16

Apparently Pinty’s Series is the Canadian version of NASCAR which was at some point in the past called…. CASCAR 🙂

canadian tire motorsport park victoria day weekend nascar pinty's scca pro pirelli world challenge ctcc 11

canadian tire motorsport park victoria day weekend nascar pinty's scca pro pirelli world challenge ctcc 10

mazda mx-5 miata canadian road trip to ctmp canadian tire motorsport park in bowmanville ontario 10

mazda mx-5 miata canadian road trip to ctmp canadian tire motorsport park in bowmanville ontario 9

mazda mx-5 miata canadian road trip to ctmp canadian tire motorsport park in bowmanville ontario 8

mazda mx-5 miata canadian road trip to ctmp canadian tire motorsport park in bowmanville ontario 7

mazda mx-5 miata canadian road trip to ctmp canadian tire motorsport park in bowmanville ontario 6

I got to work three different stations over the three day weekend, blue flagging from each point at Turn 6 (which is actually a big uphill climb on the back stretch), Turn 10 (which is the very last turn before Start/Finish) and Turn 5 (which is a double-apex hairpin). Besides blue flagging the SCCA Pro series including PWC GT/GTA/GT Cup class, GTS class, Sprint X class which included GT/GTA/GTS, and the TC/TCA/TCB class; and the local Canadian Touring Car Chamipionship CTCC; I got to blue flag NASCAR Pinty’s Series which is the Canadian division of NASCAR and requires similar flagging as we do in Watkins Glen where blue flag means local caution (where for every other series we would display a yellow) and yellow flag means full course caution.

canadian tire motorsport park victoria day weekend nascar pinty's scca pro pirelli world challenge ctcc 12

Canadian ingenuity? creativity?

canadian tire motorsport park victoria day weekend nascar pinty's scca pro pirelli world challenge ctcc 9

Turn 10, with Petro-Canada Ultra 94 ad tempting me to refuel there.

canadian tire motorsport park victoria day weekend nascar pinty's scca pro pirelli world challenge ctcc 8

Flag stand at Turn 6 on the back straight.

canadian tire motorsport park victoria day weekend nascar pinty's scca pro pirelli world challenge ctcc 7

canadian tire motorsport park victoria day weekend nascar pinty's scca pro pirelli world challenge ctcc 6

Turn 6 is also the Black flag station we got to throw a few Meatballs.

canadian tire motorsport park victoria day weekend nascar pinty's scca pro pirelli world challenge ctcc 4

The stations layout at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

canadian tire motorsport park victoria day weekend nascar pinty's scca pro pirelli world challenge ctcc 5

Logo looks familiar? Nope, that’s not SCCA.

canadian tire motorsport park victoria day weekend nascar pinty's scca pro pirelli world challenge ctcc 3

From Turn 6 looking towards Turn 7.

canadian tire motorsport park victoria day weekend nascar pinty's scca pro pirelli world challenge ctcc 2

canadian tire motorsport park victoria day weekend nascar pinty's scca pro pirelli world challenge ctcc 1

Can’t wait to go back to Canada for another event at Mosport!