The Crown Jewel 200 takes place this weekend, May 24, at Cayuga Motor Speedway. The race marks the opening of the 2008 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.
Cayuga Motor Speedway has been the site of many of Canada’s top motorsports events since its opening in 1966. Top names in racing have competed at the track over the years including Bobby Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Bill Elliott, Tony Stewart and Darrell Waltrip.
The .625-mile semi-banked oval was a staple track of the CASCAR Super Series and has become that for the Canadian Tire Series as well. The track hosted the first-ever series event last May 26, won by Don Thomson Jr. Derek Lynch earned the victory last Sept. 1 at the facility which covers nearly 300 acres with 1,500 campsites. This will be the third series event at Cayuga.
The one-lap qualifying record for the Canadian Tire Series at Cayuga is held by D.J. Kennington and was set during time trials for that inaugural event. He posted a lap time of 20.785 seconds which translates to an average speed of 108.251 mph.
A Look Back: Thomson Collects Win in Inaugural Race
It was a race that everyone wanted to win. After years of rumors and hopefulness, NASCAR, at last, had set up shop in Canada and the first event was at hand.
The race had the look of almost any season-opening event – a lot of shiny racecars, realistic dreams for every team and anxious drivers. However, this was not just any season opener. This was the inaugural race for the brand new NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio – the first NASCAR event by either a regional or national series in many years.
“It was a little sloppy at times out there, but I think that was just because everyone wanted to win it so bad. I know I did,” said the victorious Don Thomson Jr.
The multi-time CASCAR Super Series champion was no stranger to big wins in his career, but it was easy to detect the specialness of this one.
“I’ve been lucky enough to win some races, but this one is right at the top of the list, if not the very top. What a thrill! We’ve all waited for this moment for a long time. No one will ever be able to take this away from me – I won the first one,” he exclaimed.
D.J. Kennington was the polesitter for the event, but his time at the front of the pack was short- lived due to a broken rear trailing arm after just a single lap. All told, eight different drivers led during the 200-lap race, but Thomson led a race-high 79 circuits around the .625-mile Cayuga track.
“I felt great about the time we put up in qualifying and was very confident heading into the race, but it just wasn’t meant to be, I guess,” said Kennington.
The Race: Crown Jewel 200
The Place: Cayuga Motor Speedway
The Date: May 24
The Time: 7:32 p.m. ET
TV Schedule: Midnight, May 30 (delayed)
Track Layout: .625-mile paved
Race Purse: $68,511 CAD
2007 Winner: Don Thomson Jr.
2007 Pole: D.J. Kennington
Schedule: Saturday: Practice 12 noon – 2 p.m., Time Trials 4:30 p.m.