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2-Headed Monster: Should the Truck Series Go to Canada?

Only 28 trucks are entered for the Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park this weekend, which means for just the second time this season, the series won’t have a full 32-truck field. The only other occasion was at Kansas Speedway in May.

That leads to this week’s debate: should the Truck Series continue going to Canada one week a year? Michael Massie and Mark Kristl debate.

O Canada! … More Like No Canada

For the sake of the teams, the Truck Series needs to stop going to Canada.

Why does the Truck Series, the least lucrative of the three national touring series in NASCAR, travel all the way to Canada for a race? The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series don’t have any international races — and the money those teams make is more than Trucks. That’d be like a rich person shopping at Dollar General while someone on welfare shops at Whole Foods.

It’s expensive to travel — to transport the truck, crew members, equipment, etc., past the border. Plus, the drivers and team members have to worry about getting passports and the differences in Canadian money compared to ours. Given how big of an expense it is to Truck teams, no wonder only 28 trucks are showing up this weekend.

Canadian Tire Motorsports Park is an awesome track that produces fantastic finishes almost every time, but it should be the Cup Series going there instead. Then, the race would draw more TV and sponsorship money and there would be a bigger crowd in attendance.

The Truck Series should be confined to local short tracks mainly around the southeast. There were several trucks that failed to qualify in the races at Martinsville Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway. I don’t even think the series should travel to Las Vegas or Texas Motor Speedways twice each, but I understand those races pay more than quite a few. Still, the Truck Series needs to have races at South Boston Speedway, Langley Speedway, Myrtle Beach Speedway, Hickory Speedway, etc. The truck count would be off the scales if that happened. If South Boston and Langley can host the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown, then they can also host a Truck race.

Having the lone road course on the Truck schedule in a region where it takes more money to travel to just makes it that much easier for teams to skip it and prep for the next race. If the Truck Series is going to have a road course, then it should be the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL or Road Atlanta, maybe even Watkins Glen International.

If the series is going to have a race at Canada, then have it at Jukasa Motor Speedway in Cayuga, Ontario. The five-eighths mile would put on a spectacular show for fans, and racing at a short track would offset some of the costs of going to Canada. Plus, then some of the locals could potentially show up and make a name for themselves against some of the best up-and-coming drivers of NASCAR.

So let’s take Mosport off the Truck Series schedule and give it to the Cup Series. Then, we can give the Truck Series a much more realistic schedule for teams. –Michael Massie  

Don’t Penalize Canadian Tire Motorsports Park

Of course, the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series should continue racing at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Despite the small entry list, it is not completely the track’s fault. In May, I wrote a Truckin’ Thursdays article about the small entry list for the Digital Ally 250 at Kansas Speedway. Many of the problems written in the article are the same problem besieging the Truck Series as it heads to Canada.

Should NASCAR penalize Ron Fellows and the Mosport staff because costs for Truck Series teams are astronomically high? No. NASCAR needs to work with teams to find cost-cutting measures, which may include loosening some of the rules. Additionally, NASCAR should help tracks such as Mosport acquire sufficient purse money for the races.

In that Truckin’ Thursdays article, Josh Reaume mentioned teams cannot survive on purses alone. Without sponsorship, why should teams make the trek to Bowmanville, Ontario?

NASCAR no longer releases the prize money for races. No offense to Chevrolet Silverado, the title sponsor of the Truck Series’ race at Mosport, but the purse for the race needs to be an impressive amount. After all, except for ThorSport Racing, most teams are making the trek from the southeast to Canada.

Moreover, this race presents an additional cost for Truck Series teams. They make their earnings in Canada, so they pay an extra tax on that money — making it that much more of an expensive trip for teams.

Mosport currently serves as a de facto wild-card race in the Round of 8. Because it is a playoff race, Cup Series regulars are ineligible to compete in the Chevrolet Silverado 250. There has not been a repeat winner there, and the 2019 edition will continue that trend. The multitude of winners adds to the uniqueness of racing at the 2.459-mile road course.

The track contributes to the diversity of the Truck Series schedule, which races at superspeedways, short tracks, 1.5-mile tracks, a dirt track, the Tricky Triangle, Michigan International Speedway and the road course in Canada. Of the three major NASCAR series, the Truck Series schedule is the most diverse. Fellows and his staff deserve commendations for their marvelous work hosting the Truck Series. We should not be discussing if the track should lose its race date.

The Chevrolet Silverado 250 is known for having exciting finishes. Many times, there is contact on the last lap which determines who celebrates in victory lane. In the case of John Hunter Nemechek and Cole Custer, their contact resulted in a fight.

These highlights are what NASCAR promotes. How can it deny a race at a track renowned for its highlights? It’s fun for the fans, it provides for great storylines for the media and it furthers rivalries among drivers.

NASCAR has international fans and drivers, as well. DJ Kennington has competed in the Daytona 500 and Cameron Hayley formerly competed full-time in the Truck Series. Canadians Jason White, Gary Klutt, Alex Tagliani, Stewart Friesen and Raphael Lessard are all entered for the Chevrolet Silverado 250.

Friesen is in the playoffs. He should be honored to represent Canada in NASCAR, and he will proudly represent his home country at Mosport.

For all those Canadian drivers, Mosport is their home NASCAR track — it is the only time NASCAR ventures outside the continental United States. Winning there would be special for them.

The Truck Series should continue to race at Mosport, as it is an annual one-of-a-kind race for the series. It offers a race for the Canadian fans to attend in their own country. Yes, it is costly for the Truck Series teams. But if NASCAR would work with the teams to lower costs and perhaps raise the purse for the race, then the entry list may be full and the Truck Series will continue to produce highlight reels there. –Mark Kristl

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John

The Canadian race is actually just about the same distance from NC as it is to Chicagoland, Gateway, and Homestead. With seven other NGOTS races held even further, the distance to Bowmanville, ON really isn’t an issue other than crossing a line at the 49th parallel.

John Irby

I remember years ago when what is now known as the Xfinity Series went to Montreal. The racing there was great, the crowds were big, but underneath that happy veneer things weren’t copasetic.

Most of the 2nd-Series team owners at the time were also owners of big Cup teams who were better able to make their concerns heard by NASCAR. Among the complaints: The teams’ truck drivers reported long customs delays at the border. Crew members groused about working in a city where English is a 2nd-language, having to get passports, confusion over money and everything in Montreal being so expensive. Sponsorship deals that were good in the US may, or may not have been valid in Canada. Finally, one of the races ended up being run in the rain, which may have been entertaining, but also resulted in a truck convoy full of wadded-up cars heading back to the Charlotte MSA. Sadly, this experiment of racing in Montreal came to an end.

Upstate9fan

Absolutely, this is usually one of the best races of the year. That final corner is a doozy. It just invites drivers to try something crazy. I’d love to see Cup cars there, but that is probably too close to Watkins Glen.

P. Machek

I haven’t gone to one of these truck races at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park since 2014 I was ran off the road by one of the visiting American race truck haulers . on Durham Road 57 . The truck heading for Hwy 401 went into the shoulder and head on towards my motorhome . Rocks flew all over my truck . Not even sure how I ever cleared it !

DoninAjax

Is Mosport farther than California? Maybe they should race there instead.

Patrick

Bring the trucks to Mid Ohio! We will sell out!!

Garry Shortt

Michael Massie have you ever come up to CTMP to watch the truck race ??? Campers lining up and put in a holding area starting on the Tue before the race. The crowds are huge for race weekend. It has alway been an action packed race. We watch the Xfinity from Road America on the Sat from my motorhome. Hell of a lot more people at CTMP then R/A. Being most are based in Mooresville, CTMP is closer then Road America to drive. Biggest crowd for a stand alone event for trucks. Jukasa Speedway yes they should run it. Do a midweek show days before running CTMP and yes Jukasa will sell out midweek.
My guess is you can’t the boarder!!!!!

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