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 a 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 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.

Round eleven of the 2008 NASCAR Canadian Tire series was held at Barrie Speedway on the 1/3-mile oval track. Drivers would compete for 300-laps in a race sponsored by Pizza Pizza. A late race caution for debris on the track resulted in a ‘green-white-checker’ finish and an extra lap for competitors.

Twenty-two cars are gridded on Barrie Speedway’s front straight for the Pizza Pizza 300. The fastest qualifier was the No. 4 Home Hardware sponsored Chevrolet Impala SS of Don Thomson, Jr. This was Thomson’s sixth pole of the 2008 season. Sharing the front row with Thomson, Jr. is Dave Whitlock in the Dickies Dodge Avenger.
The point’s leader, Scott Steckly was in need of a good finish after a string of poor results on the ovals. Steckly started fourth driving Erb Group Dodge Avenger and immediately moved into contention. On lap-247, he slid into the race leader, Don Thomson, Jr. causing him to spin. Steckly took first place and despite being challenged by Kerry Micks in the final laps, he held on for his fourth victory of the season.
The No. 02 Beyond Digital Imaging Ford Fusion was driven by Kerry Micks. Micks started fifth but two separate incidents sent him to the rear of the field. Despite these setbacks, he worked his way back to the front. Debris on the track, with two laps to go, caused the officials to display the yellow flag. This allowed Micks to close on the leader, Scott Steckly but he was unable to pass him and finished second.
The Pizza Pizza 300 was Don Thomson’s sixth pole position of the 2008. Unfortunately, Thomson had only one victory to show for his efforts. He remained in contention during the race and took the lead from Scott Steckly for the final time on lap-246. Thomson’s run out front only lasted one lap before contact with Steckly caused him to spin. He drove through the field and managed to finish third.
Stock car veteran, Dave Whitlock started on the outside of the front row in the No. 39 Dickies sponsored Dodge Avenger. On lap-238, Derek Lynch spun coming on to the main straight and the front left of his car made contact with the right front of Whitlock’s Dodge. Whitlock drove over the top of Lynch’s car and rolled twice – landing upside down. Whitlock was not seriously injured but his race was over.
The defending NASCAR Canadian Tire Series champion, Andrew Ranger was third in the title chase but his results had been mixed during the 2008 season. Highlights included a pole at Edmonton and victories at Montreal and Trois-Rivieres but many times he finished in the middle of pack. Barrie would not be one of the high points of his year – he qualified eighteenth quickest and finished twelfth.
Barrie resident, Mark Dilley drove the No. 9 Dodge Avenger with backing from Leyland Industries. Dilley entered round eleventh sixth in the standings. To date his season included the ‘highest of highs’ – a victory at Cayuga and the ‘lowest of lows’ – a clutch failure at Mosport where he was the first retiree of the race. At Barrie Speedway, local track knowledge helped him qualify third and finish fifth.
Only once did J.R. Fitzpatrick fail to qualify in the top-ten (the first event a Barrie) in fact, he often started in the top-five. Unfortunately, Fitzpatrick’s race results did not match his qualifying performances. He won the second round at Mosport but only had two other results in the top-ten (St. Eustache and Montreal). Fitzpatrick started fifteenth at Barrie he managed a sixth-place finish.

14Scott StecklyErb Group/Tow Truck in a Box / Dodge Avenger301-
25Kerry MicksBeyond Digital Imaging / Ford Fusion301-
31Don Thomson, Jr.Home Hardware / Chevrolet Impala SS301-
417John GauntCentennial Chrysler / Dodge Avenger301-
53Mark DilleyDodge/Leland Industries / Dodge Avenger301-
615 J.R. FitzpatrickFitzpatrick Motorsports / Chevrolet Impala SS301-
76D.J. KenningtonNPP/Castrol / Dodge Avenger301-
810Alex TaglianiWal-Mart/Ubisoft / Ford Fusion301-
98Brad GrahamFull Throttle/Logel's / Dodge Avenger301-
1011Derek LynchAllied Steel Buildings/Canadian Shield / Dodge Avenger301-
1116Peter GibbonsCanadian Tire/Mobil Super / Ford Fusion300-
1218Andrew RangerWAL-MART/Tide / Ford Fusion300-
139Jeff LapcevichTim Hortons / Chevrolet Impala SS300-
147Ron Beauchamp, Jr.Mopar/Mobil 1 / Dodge Avenger298-
1513Doug BrownHaldex / Dodge Avenger270-
1619Jason HathawaySnap-on Tools/Super 8 / Dodge Avenger262-
1712Joey McColmAlzheimer's Society/B&B Decals / Dodge Avenger246-
1820Anthony SimoneCrown Modular/Sign-A-Rama / Chevrolet Monte Carol SS245-
192Dave WhitlockDickies/NMT / Dodge Avenger237Accident
2014Kent NuhnInterstate Batteries / Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS50Engine

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