Sunday, February 09, 2014

Richard Petty at Canadian Motorsports Expo

The King of NASCAR wowed the crowds at @CMEtoronto as he held court in #Toronto on Sunday, February 9, 2014. The King doesn't wear a crown, but his cowboy hat is pretty damn spectacular! Fans had a chance for a VIP meet and greet, preferred seating at the Inside Track stage, or lined up from one side of the International Centre to the other to get an autograph from the friendly racing champion. His best race? The last one he won!
Richard answered questions from the host and members of the audience. He talked about a negotian with STP for a $250,000 sponsorship many years ago. Just when he thought it was all wrapped up he finds that STP's contract required Richard's car to be coloured day-glow red instead of his regular blue scheme. He wouldn't sign the contract and this started an around the clock talks with STP offering a compromise - half blue and half red, plus a bonus of $50,000 if he made the switch to red. Richard turned down that bonus, which could keep his team racing for quite some time.
Three time NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Champion Scott Steckly provides a Champion Sponsor trophy to Matthew Coorsh of Canadian Tire. C.T. has signed Scott for the upcoming 2014 season as well as continuing as the series sponsor.
Backwoods Girls were back
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series NCTS drivers were heavily involved in the Canadian Motorsports Expo. Several autograph sessions, announcements and a driver Q & A panel hosted by Dave Bradley got Canada's only national racing series stars out in front of their many fans. The 2014 season starts May 18 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and runs until September 20 at Kawartha Speedway. The 11 races of 2014 will see the cars in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia. The stock car challenges come with racing on both ovals and road courses, sometimes the drivers have a performance difference in the variety of tracks.

The NCTS panel discussed some of the track changes going into 2014, including going into a smaller Edmonton track. 2013 series champion Scott Steckly noted that the competition increases every year - especially with Andrew Ranger and Alex Tagliani planning to race a full series this year. The key will be in consistancy in getting to the podium. Mark Dilley noted that NCTS is like football on wheels with a lot of contact, but also a lot of fun. Alex Nagy of NCTS says that carting has improved the talent pool and brought in a lot of young drivers into the series.
TDC Entertainment were also back at the show helping to promote Targa Newfoundland
Angie and Mike Skinner held a Q & A session. Angie is the host of SiriusXM's NASCAR Radio program and Mike 'The Gunslinger' Skinner is a NASCAR Truck Series champion (he won the first truck race along with the inaugural season). He warned the crowd that his beautiful wife is taken, so I asked Angie if he says that every time. She said no, this was the first time that he has made this announcement at a show, so there must have been a lot of handsome Canadian drivers in the crowds. Angie is also Mike's manager and the team had some great stories.

Posted by Joe Hamilton and James Hamilton. See more after the jump.

Hooters Girls
More of Richard Petty

Jeff Gordon's #24 car at the Canadian Motor Speedway display. The 3/4 mile, Jeff Gordon designed Speedway is a new $150 million racetrack planned in central Fort Erie. Phase one was started in October 2013 and an official groundbreaking ceremony is planned in the summer. It is also billed as the world's first carbon neutral speedway and is within two minutes from the Canada-US border and 15 minutes from Niagara Falls.

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