Canadian Motorsport Falling Down the Order

Andrew FletcherCorrespondent IDecember 11, 2008

With the announcement of the cancellation of the Canadian Grand Prix for the 2009 Formula One World Championship season, it’s time to give an update on Canada and Canadians on the motorsport World Map.

The Canadian Grand Prix was a fixture on the F1 circuit for a strong 30 years, but sadly, Bernie Ecclestone said that the Montreal-based Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was years in debt, and the nation was cut.

During those years, we seen great battles at a circuit where perfection is recommended and mistakes are punished.

On the flip side, at least they still have NASCAR, right?

Sadly it’s not the top series, but the racing has been worth watching.

I wonder if Montreal will have the same fate as the Mexico City race. You know, NASCAR races there until they think they have a market and then pulls the race.

Now, folks are saying the Indy Car Series is looking to come to Montreal to place a third Canadian circuit on the schedule.

Currently, the series have Toronto and Edmonton on the schedule, which has been a great way to rope in the Canadian audience.

The Indy Car Series has a special place in my heart because it is still hosting Canadian races, but it’s starting to seem that the series is turning into a stepping stone for NASCAR.

The bright side for Canadians is that Alex Tagliani is racing is the series. The dark side is that it’s Tagliani.

Toronto native Marty Roth ran an Indy Car team on his own until the end of the 2008 season. The Indy Car Series would not renew his super licence for the following year.

And it does not look like his motorsport career is going to continue.

One driver who was left out after the elimination of the Champ Car World Series is Paul Tracy, the 2003 Champion. Many consider him too old to continue racing, but he proved himself in a one-off race in 2008 during the Edmonton Grand Prix, where he finished fourth.

Now he is without a ride again and is looking to branch out into NASCAR again.

Any Indy Car team could use his experience in the car, but no owner seems willing to take the chance.

Speaking about NASCAR drivers, Patrick Carpentier had a go in the Sprint Cup Series this year with limited success. Where his career goes from here is anyone’s guess.

Another driver who looked like he was going to be driving in the Sprint Cup this season was good old Jacques Villeneuve. His departure from the NASCAR scene after his crash in the qualifying duel for the Daytona 500 did not really surprise anyone.

Since then, he's been hopping around the world all year.

From crashing at Daytona to finishing second in the Le Mans 24 hour race to then crashing in the rain-filled NASCAR Nationwide Series race in Montreal to driving in the SPEEDCAR Series, he has had a mixed-up year.

There were a couple of success stories for Canadian drivers this season.

Even though he did not score any wins, for the third year in a row, Canadian DTM driver Bruno Spengler finished in the top five in the point standings.

The only problem that him is that no one in Canada actually knows he exists.

This brings us back to the Nationwide Race in Montreal. This was Canada’s one major win over the course over the course of the 2008 season.

Ron Fellows won his fourth career Nationwide Race at the track and led a Canadian 1-2 finish, with our good friend Carpentier earning his best finish in any car this season.

The 2009 season may be a long one for fans of Canadian motorsports, but at least we have Tagliani.