THREE-RIVERS | No major NASCAR division has stopped in Canada since 2019, but a new foray north of the border is not excluded.
• Read also: Great heat in Trois-Rivières: Grand Prix drivers are ready for the races
• Read also: Trois-Rivières Grand Prix: Kevin Lacroix leads the charge
• Read also: Trois-Rivières Grand Prix: Gougeon wins the Chevrolet Urban Challenge
The Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières had a distinguished guest today, in the person of Steve O’Donnell, chief of operations within the famous banner which manages the stock car in the United States.
As expected, several questions from media representatives focused on a possible return to Montreal of an event of the Xfinity series (called « Nationwide » at the time), which, after five years (from 2008 to 2012), was scratched from the calendar.
But O’Donnell went a little further during our conversation by citing the NASCAR Cup, the queen discipline of the stock car.
“I make no promises, he says, but we are open to any discussions. We realized the importance of the Canadian market a long time ago.
“My visit here to Trois-Rivières only confirms the passion of the Quebec public for NASCAR. »
However, the promoter of the Nationwide race at the time, François Dumontier, had given up on the NASCAR adventure at the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit, after the leaders of the series had ruled out any possibility of possibly running the racing cars of the Cup in Montreal.
More road course racing
« The context has changed over the past few years, » O’Donnell said. And the NASCAR Cup is opening up to new destinations and particularly to events contested on the road circuit.
“However, we know that the presence of Canadian drivers in the NASCAR Cup would be beneficial to promote the holding of such a race in Montreal.
“Our challenge is to promote the emergence of Canadian talent through the Pinty’s series.
“This series has remarkable potential and we want it to move to another level to allow its most talented drivers to climb the NASCAR ladder. »
But, stock car enthusiasts shouldn’t get carried away too quickly before hoping to see Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson and other tenors of the specialty land in Montreal.
If the City of Montreal allows the presentation of a second weekend of races at the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit after the F1 Grand Prix of Canada, it will be necessary in particular to find a promoter and especially financial partners, read major sponsors.
One thing now seems certain: the NASCAR Truck Series, which moved to the Ontario Mosport circuit from 2013 to 2019, no longer has a future in Canada.
The Preferred Xfinity Series
It is rather the XFinity series which would ensure the succession.
“The arrival of the vans hasn’t generated the desired enthusiasm in Canada in terms of visibility, underlines O’Donnell, but we can believe in the chances of the Xfinity series. »
He claims that it is realistic to think that, in the not too distant future, the cars of the second major division of NASCAR could have fun in the streets of Trois-Rivières.
« Again, I’m not making any promises, but we’re open to talks, » O’Donnell said.
Mosport wants his race too
But obstacles stand in front of the GP3R.
The Xfinity series would have reached its maximum number of road course events; however the circuit of Mosport also covets a stage of this series after having lost the vans.
Finally, O’Donnell was full of praise for the GP3R, saying that « this event was a source of pride for NASCAR and that the other series of touring [en Europe et au Mexique] should be inspired by it. »