NASCAR Returns to Road America

January 12, 2010 by  
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Following the cancellation of the Milwaukee Mile race on the NASCAR Nationwide Series calendar, it was decided to keep the event in Wisconsin and to hold it at the Road America track. Set to take place on 19 June 2010, it has been nine years since the last NASCAR event took place on the road course and it is set to be a thrilling occasion.

Located near to Elkhart Lake, Road America is currently host to the AMA Superbike series, American Le Mans, SCCA Speed World Challenge Series and other events. The track is 4.048 miles (6.515 km) long and boasts 14 turns. It is known for its numerous changes in elevation, as well as a renowned turn on the backside called “the kink”. The Road America track also features a long front stretch that allows drivers to reach speeds near to 200 mph.

Visitors to the Road America track can make use of grandstands and hillside seating, though the seating is open and spectators may move about through the area. There are 13 concession stands, as well as place for RVs and camping. Spectators are sure to enjoy the 640 acre facility and park-like atmosphere.

NASCAR fans, drivers and organizers are eager about the move and are looking forward to the 200-mil, 50-lap race. The first NASCAR-sanctioned race took place at Road America when the track was just a year old on 12 August 1956, and was won by Tim Flock. The track has a reputation for excitement and this is sure to draw the crowds. Strategy is vital when racing at Road America, testing driver skill to the max. With the addition of Road America to the calendar, NASCAR Nationwide teams now have two permanent road courses as well as a temporary circuit to contend with; the others being Watkins Glen International and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. NASCAR teams racing at Road America will be allowed an added full day of practice on 17 June, before the official on-track activity begins on 18 June.

Be sure to get your ticket well in advance so as not to miss this exhilarating event!

Gilles Villeneuve

February 9, 2009 by  
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Joseph Gilles Henri Villeneuve was an outstanding Formula One driver from Canada. Starting off on snowmobiles, Gilles Villeneuve raced in Formula Atlantic and then F1. As a Formula One driver, Gilles Villeneuve truly impressed the crowds and was well known for his excellent skills on the track. A true risk-taker, Villeneuve was known by his compatriots for his sensitive, friendly personality.

Gilles Villeneuve was born on 18 January 1950 in Quebec, Canada. Right from a young age he expressed an avid interest in motor vehicles. When he turned 16 years old and received his driver’s license, it was like a dream come true. By 1976 he was racing with Ecurie Canada and taking the Formula Atlantic championship by storm. He was quickly noticed by McLaren and asked to join the team.

Gilles Villeneuve debuted as an F1 driver in 1977 at Silverstone race track. He attracted much attention as an up and coming talent. In August 1977 Ferrari met with Villeneuve and soon after he began racing for the team. His first major F1 victory occurred in 1979 in Canada. Some reason that he would have done better if his vehicle could have matched the great Lotuses of the time. Others said that his wins weren’t many due to his all-or-nothing driving method. One of F1 driver Villeneuve’s most notable races was the 1979 French Grand Prix held at Dijon track. Renault driver Rene Arnoux looked set to come in second following teammate Jean-Pierre Jabouille. However, Gilles Villeneuve wasn’t about to let the faster Renault beat him. In a tense duel with much sliding and contact, Villeneuve managed to end the race just ahead of Arnoux for second place.

Sadly, on 8 May 1982, Villeneuve died as the result of an accident whilst taking part in the final qualifying session of the Belgian Grand Prix. There are a number of memorials to the exceptional driver, including the naming of the Grand Prix track in Canada after him. With his persistant attitude, excellent car control and strong driving style, Gilles Villeneuve will go into Formula One history as a legend.

Gilles Villeneuve Circuit

February 9, 2009 by  
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The Gilles Villeneuve Circuit was named in honor of Gilles Villeneuve, a Canadian driver and father to Jacques Villeneuve. The circuit was constructed on a man-made island named Ile Notre-Dame, which is located in the St Lawrence River, in Montreal. In addition to hosting the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix, the circuit hosts an event in the NASCAR Busch Series. It was also home to the Champ Car World Series Grand Prix of Montreal that was hosted here between the years 2002 to 2006.

With its location in the St Lawrence River, for most of the year, Ile Notre Dame is a quiet island that is lush and green and the fastest moving objects on its surface, are animals, cycle enthusiasts and the joggers. But for a few days each year, within this idyllic setting, the island comes alive with racing action and all its accompanying noise and frantic activity.

The Gilles Villeneuve Circuit is part street circuit, and is extremely fast, with a common problem for drivers being to misjudge the barriers that are located very close to the track. The most famous part of this track, is a wall that is located just outside the end of the last chicane, which said “Welcome to Quebec” and was later nicknamed the Quebec Wall. Three Formula 1 champions had their races brought to an abrupt end when colliding with this infamous wall, namely Jacques Villeneuve, Damon Hill and Michael Schumacher. The wall no longer carries the name Quebec Wall, but was renamed the Wall of Champions.

In 2005, the curbs in the last chicane were made higher, and drivers complained that they were more difficult to see and that the curbs made the chicane even more difficult for drivers to navigate. The changes were extremely controversial, as they had reduced the area for general admission ticket holders, to see the race. This forces spectators to purchase grandstand tickets, to enable them to see.

Normand Legault was awarded exclusive rights, by the city of Montreal, to host two race weekends on the track. Legault is the promoter for the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix. The contract for the rights, runs from the year 2007 to the year 2011, after which there is an option to extend it from 2012 to the year 2016. The Champ Car Races have been replaced with the NASCAR Busch Series and the Grand American Road Racing Associations’ Rolex Series.