The 2011 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series schedule was announced earlier this month, as part of the series banquet ceremonies.
The series is set to enter its fifth season under the NASCAR banner with a schedule featuring 12 different tracks, seven ovals and five road courses, across five different provinces. Most of the schedule looks to the same as years past with regards to the tracks it contains, except for one new track which was added.
The season opener is set to take place at Mosport Speedway near Bowmanville, Ontario on Saturday May 28 for the first time in series history.
“It’s an honour to host the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series 2011 season-opening race at Mosport Speedway,” said Myles Brandt, Mosport President and General Manager, in a track press release. “The Speedway is a great venue for the Series and they have always put on an entertaining show for the fans.”
Last year it was Don Thomson Jr. earning the victory in the August race on the half-mile oval.
The second race of the schedule is set for a new track—Circuit ICAR. The 1.86-mile road course on the grounds of Montreal’s Mirabel Airport on the former passenger terminal’s apron will host the series on June 5.
The third date is set for June 11 at Delawere Speedway where eventual 2010 series champion Kennington has held serve in each of the previous two races there on his home track.
The NCTS cars will then head back to Bowmanville to run Mosport International Raceway’s 2.459-mile, 10-turn road course as part of an eventful weekend.
“We are really pleased to have landed two rounds on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series schedule,” Brandt said. “These cars look fabulous on the road course and the drivers race hard all weekend long. It’s one of the most exciting races of our season.”
Last year, J.R. Fitzpatrick out dueled Andrew Ranger and Jason Bowles for his second win at the track.
The NCTS date for Toronto’s Exhibition Place is set for Saturday July 9 with the 2011 Honda Indy Toronto for the IZOD IndyCar Series taking place the next day. Along with the IndyCar Series, the NCTS cars will be racing alongside the Firestone Indy Lights, the Ferrari Challenge Series and the Canadian Touring Car Series.
“Fans appreciate diversity, accessibility and quality in our weekend schedule,” said Charlie Johnstone, vice president and general manager for Honda Indy Toronto, said in a press release. “We could not hope for a better lineup to celebrate 25 years of racing on the streets of Toronto.”
Last year, it was Ranger taking the victory after a race-long battle for Fitzpatrick.
This year will mark the 25th anniversary for races being held on Toronto’s streets so lots of festivities are planned. One of the events taking place, like last year, is Free Friday.
Free Friday allows everybody to get in free all day Friday and check out what the Honda Indy weekend is all about with access pretty much everywhere. Fans will be available to watch practice and some qualifying during the day, while being able to get up close to the cars.
Following the Toronto date, the series will takes its annual Western Canada swing, which includes stops at Motoplex Speedway in Vernon, B.C. (July 23) and Auto Clear Motor Speedway in Saskatoon, Sask. (July 27). Both events resulted in huge crowds with Scott Steckly winning B.C and Kennington winning Sask.
The series will then head to Quebec for a pair of dates. The first event taking place August 7 on the 1.53-mile temporary street course of Grand Prix Trois-Rivieres. Last year, Ranger thrilled the fans of his home province for his third straight victory on the course.
Following Trois-Rivieres, the fifth consecutive year, the NCTS will share Montreal’s legendary Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The race is slated to take place Saturday August 20, in which Ranger won last year.
The first date for September is set to take place at Barrie Speedway on September 10. The .333-mile tri-oval has produced exciting and action filled racing every year, with Kennington edging Thomson by .015 of a second last year for the win.
A trip out east comes next to Riverside International Speedway, located in Nova Scotia, on September 17. Modeled after Bristol Motor Speedway, Riverside always thrills both competitors and fans alike with Kennington winning there last year.
The series will close the season at Kawartha Speedway, a .375-mile oval near Peterborough, Ontario on Saturday Sept. 24 in series tradition fashion. Last year, Pete Shepherd III picked up his first career win to close out the season.