This Canada Day the city of Hamilton will host an unprecedented motorsport event when stars of NASCAR lace-up their boots and jump behind the wheel to compete in the first-ever Race of Champions at Flamboro Speedway. The historic asphalt arena will celebrate its 50th anniversary this summer, with competitive seasons spanning six decades of stock car racing. As part of this great milestone the third-mile asphalt oval based in the Flamborough township will host yet another great event in Canadian racing history.
On a day when our nation will be in celebration, Flamboro Speedway will open its gates to three of the most recognized stars of NASCAR, the worlds leading stock car racing organization. Jimmy Spencer, Ken Schrader and Sterling Marlin will join a field of local competitors on July 1st to compete in a main event feature race. Speedway co-owners and promoters John and Frank Casale are truly excited to make this event available to the racing fans of south western Ontario. Said John, “It’s a big year for us and we have special events throughout the season to recognize this anniversary. We really wanted to give something back to the fans and teams who have supported us through the years. We are thrilled that these great [NASCAR] drivers are excited to be a part of this event, and we know it’s an incredible opportunity for both our drivers and fans.”
The Flamboro Speedway and Stadium first opened in 1962, and in its illustrious career has been a proving ground for Canadian racers of all ages. The most prominent names of years passed include Canadian racing legends Junior Hanley and ‘Daytona’ Don Biederman. In this past decade top talents include J-R Fitzpatrick and Petey Shepherd, both of whom have graduated to compete in NASCAR tours. This will be the first time in the speedway’s history that a non-Canadian NASCAR driver from the sanction’s elite level, now recognized as the Sprint Cup Series, will compete in Hamilton’s asphalt arena.
To mark the occasion further, this will be the first time that the NASCAR stars compete in the Freedom Village Thunder Car class in Ontario, the intermediate division known for its full-contact driving style and ultra competitive roster. The afternoon event will be a special race format, including heat-race qualifying and a B-feature race that will advance only the top 15 finishers to join the NASCAR stars in a main event, 25-lap shootout.
The roster will also be limited by invitation and application only. The final field will be a mix of top performing Flamboro Speedway regulars and those drivers whose credentials earn them one of the 20 spots available in the invitational qualifiers. Of the drivers on the speedway’s guest list some recognizable names include Fitzpatrick and Shepherd, multi-time speedway champion Scott Lyons, Canadian “Iron Man” Gary Elliott, and the first ever Canadian Grassroots Racing Champion Stompin’ Tom Walters. Said Event Director Gerry Paxton, “This is a fun event, away from points and championships. The chance to compete in a field with Spencer, Schrader and Marlin is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s like getting to play pick-up hockey with Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Mario Lemieux. Those race teams that make the final 15 will remember this race day forever.”
All three NASCAR stars are recognized for their great racing achievements through the 1990’s and early 2000’s when the elite division ran under the Winston Cup banner, including Sterling Marlin’s impressive back to back Daytona 500 victories in 1994 and 1995. With credentials reaching beyond on-track theatrics, race fans will also know Jimmy Spencer and Ken Schrader as hosts on the SPEED network, featured on programs like NASCAR Race Day and NASCAR Victory Lane.
In addition to the on-track excitement, race fans will be treated to a special Canada Day autograph session with the NASCAR stars prior to the racing program. Tentatively scheduled for 1pm, the autograph session behind the main grandstand will lead into the 2pm green flag that will kick-off the qualifying races. If Saturday night Thunder Car racing is any indication, then this Canada Day Race of Champions is sure to be a thrilling event with even more fireworks on the track than Ottawa will have in the skies. And it’s only the start of the weekend. The following night, Saturday July 2nd, the province’s premier racing class the Late Models will suit up for the second round of the Grisdale Triple Crown tournament. Complete event details, schedule and race format information for both days will be available online, at www.FlamboroSpeedway.ca