In September 2006, NASCAR announced the purchase of Canada’s premier stock car series - CASCAR.
They also revealed a long-term sponsorship agreement with the Canadian Tire Corporation.
This signaled a new era for professional stock car racing in Canada.
The season kicked off in late May at Cayuga Speedway. The opening round was followed by races at Mosport International Raceway, Barrie Speedway and Autodrome Saint-Eustache. The teams then traveled west competing at Sun Valley Speedway in British Columbia and the Edmonton City Center Airport. In August, the series made its second visit to Quebec with an event at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Round seven was another weekend at Mosport but this time it was on the oval which was followed by Circuit Trois Rivieres, Quebec. The championship returned to Cayuga and Barrie in early September. The penultimate round was at Riverside Speedway in Nova Scotia with the finale being held at Kawartha Speedway. There was a total of thirteen race weekends in five different provinces.
The first season included many of the teams that had previously participated in the CASCAR series and some new faces. The switch to NASCAR also meant changes to event procedures, technical inspections and the cars. In 2008, there weren’t many changes to the rules. The two most significant were an increase in the number of available transmission options a team could use and standardized installation of colour coded wiring for the series technical officials.
The series cars are constructed using a steel tube frame design covered with a fiberglass body and are required to weigh no less than 3000-lbs without the driver. Eligible body styles are the Dodge (Avenger and Charger), Ford (Taurus), Pontiac (Grand Prix) and Chevrolet (Monte Carlo SS). Engine displacement which can range from 350-360-cu.in. is dictated by the make and model of the vehicle. The carbureted eight-cylinder motors produce approximately 550-horsepower at 6,500-rpm and depending on gearing can achieve a speed of 160-mph.
After twelve races the 2008 NASCAR Canadian Tire Championship would be decided between Scott Steckly and Don Thomson, Jr. at Kawartha Speedway. Drivers would race on the 0.375-mile semi-banked oval for 250-laps in the Dodge Dealers of Ontario 250.
|The starting grid lines up on the front straight at Kawartha Speedway for what teams expected to be a 250-lap race. On the front row are the title contenders, Don Thomson, Jr. and Scott Steckly. The weather was overcast but soon after the event started - mist and light fog rolled in. The contest lasted until lap-174 when rain moved in and Series Officials were forced to stop the race and call it completed.|
|The top-three finishers for the 2008 Dodge Dealers of Ontario 250 at Kawartha Speedway. In the center is the race winner, Jason Hathaway. This was the first NASCAR victory for Hathaway and the owner of Team 3 Red, Ed Hakonson. To Hathaway’s right is the runner-up, D.J. Kennington. And, rounding out the rostrum is the driver of the No. 60 Mopar/Mobil 1 sponsored Dodge, Ron Beauchamp, Jr.|
|The rain-shortened event worked in favour of some competitors and for others, the outcome may have been much different if the race went the distance. The driver benefitting the most from the inclement weather was Jason Hathaway who grabbed his first NASCAR victory. Hathaway moved into first place on lap-106 when D.J. Kennington slid-up the track. When the race was called by Officials, Hathaway was the leader.|
|D.J. Kennington had one of his worst races of the season in the previous round at Riverside Speedway. A hard impact with the wall and a suspension failure forced the driver of the No. 17 Castrol/NPP sponsored Dodge to retire on lap-102. Kennington started eleventh and moved into the lead on lap-62 for forty-three circuits. Unfortunately, he lost the top spot when he slid-up the track but recovered to finish second.|
|Ron Beauchamp, Jr. entered the season finale fourteenth in the standings. Beauchamp had two top-five finishes, but his year also included many results outside the top-10 including a DNF in race one at Cayuga International Speedway. Beauchamp, driving the Mopar/Mobil 1 Dodge was gridded fifth for the start of the Dodge Dealers of Ontario 250. He turned in a solid performance and was rewarded with a third place.|
|Peter Gibbons decided to hang up his helmet after the Kawartha Speedway event. Here Gibbons is seen with his wife and recognizing his achievements, Tony Kuczynski from Canadian Tire. In addition to the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, he also participated in the ARCA Racing Series, NASCAR North Tour, NASCAR Xfinity Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and CASCAR where he won titles in 1999 and 2000.|
|The driver with the best chance of preventing Scott Steckly from winning the championship was Don Thomson, Jr. Entering the finale, Thomson trailed, Steckly by sixty-seven points. To increase his odds of wrestling the title away from Steckly, he qualified on the pole. After his last pit-stop, it appeared that Thomson was well positioned to win the race. Unfortunately, the rain came and ended the contest – he finished fifth.|
|The 2007 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series champion, Andrew Ranger did not participate at Kawartha Speedway. Instead, Ranger was competing at the Nationwide race in Kansas. Despite missing the final round, he finished fourth in the standings. Ranger’s vacant seat was filled by Pete Shepherd, III who qualified twelfth quickest and although he suffered an issue with the hood, he was eighth at the checkered flag.|
|The 2008 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series title would be decided at Kawartha Speedway. The main combatants were Scott Steckly, the points leader and Don Thomson, Jr. a five-time CASCAR Super Series champion. In the finale, Steckly qualified second but contact with another competitor took him out of contention. He finished in seventeenth place but the was enough to secure the championship by twenty-four points.|
|FINISH||START||DRIVERS||SPONSOR / CAR||LAPS||RETIREMENTS|
|1||13||Jason Hathaway||Snap-on Tools/Super 8 / Dodge Avenger||174||-|
|2||11||D.J. Kennington||NPP/Castrol / Dodge Avenger||174||-|
|3||5||Ron Beauchamp, Jr.||Mopar/Mobil 1 / Dodge Avenger||174||-|
|4||15||Brad Graham||Full Throttle/Logel's / Dodge Avenger||174||-|
|5||1||Don Thomson, Jr.||Home Hardware / Chevrolet Impala SS||174||-|
|6||3||Doug Brown||Haldex / Dodge Avenger||174||-|
|7||9||John Gaunt||Centennial Chrysler / Dodge Avenger||174||-|
|8||12||Pete Shepherd III||Wal-Mart/Tide / Ford Fusion||174||-|
|9||22||Daniel Descoste||Wal-Mart/Ubisoft / Ford Fusion||174||-|
|10||14||Donald Chisholm||Nova Construction / Chevrolet Impala SS||174||-|
|11||18||Derek Lynch||Allied Steel Buildings/Canadian Shield / Dodge Avenger||174||-|
|12||10||Dave Whitlock||Dickies/NMT / Dodge Avenger||174||-|
|13||20||Joey McColm||Alzheimer's Society/B&B Decals / Dodge Avenger||174||-|
|14||24||Jason White||A&W/Zimmer-Wheaton GMC / Chevrolet Impala SS||174||-|
|15||6||Peter Gibbons||Canadian Tire/Mobil Super / Chevrolet Impala SS||174||-|
|16||25||Todd Nichol||Norton/Pennzoil / Chevrolet Impala SS||174||-|
|17||2||Scott Steckly||Erb Group/Tow Truck in a Box / Dodge Avenger||173||-|
|18||26||Nik Lapcevich||Hal-Nor Plumbing & Heating / Chevrolet Impala SS||171||-|
|19||4||J.R. Fitzpatrick||Fitzpatrick Motorsports / Chevrolet Impala SS||171||-|
|20||19||Jeff Lapcevich||Tim Hortons / Chevrolet Impala SS||170||-|
|21||8||Kerry Micks||Beyond Digital Imaging / Dodge Avenger||169||-|
|22||23||Kent Nuhn||Interstate Batteries / Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS||164||-|
|23||7||Mark Dilley||Dodge/Leland Industries / Dodge Avenger||159||-|
|24||17||Shawn McGlynn||Race For A Cure / Ford Fusion||155||-|
|25||16||Anthony Simone||Crown Modular/Sign-A-Rama / Chevrolet Monte Carol SS||122||Engine|
|26||21||Andre Coursol||Carquest Canada / Chevrolet Monte Carol SS||70||Engine|
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