Opening in 1961, Mosport International Raceway is a track that many Canadian motorsports fan know of and have been too. The 10-turn, 2.459-mile road course also has been on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series schedule since the first year in 2007.
On that first race on June 17, 2007, it was then 20-year-old Andrew Ranger winning the event in just his third stock car start after switching from open-wheel racing. Ranger won the 2009 event, as well, though will not be racing in this year’s event.
Winning the other two races was JR Fitzpatrick, who will attempt the Road America-Mosport double. On Saturday June 25th, he will run the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Road America for Go Canada Racing after scoring a top 10 there last year for JR Motorsports. He follow that by running the Vortex Brake Pads 200 on Sunday at Mosport. The Cambridge, Ontario native has led 72 laps on the Mosport road course and is known for how he runs on them as five of his six career wins have come on road courses. So far this year, he has had a successful start to the season, finishing in the top 10 all three races.
The 10-turn course, though, will pose a chalelnge as according to Robin Buck, series competitor and instructor.
“The pretty drastic elevation change along with a couple blind turns makes Mosport fairly unique,” Buck, who got his career win earlier this year at Circuit ICAR, said. “It’s a driver’s course, but long straightaway from Moss Corner to The Esses requires horsepower regardless of what kind of car you are in.”
One of the parts of the track to watch is the Mario Andretti Straightaway.
“If you have a car that can’t pull up that straightaway, then you’re going to have a long day at Mosport,” Fitzpatrick said.
Another part of the race to watch will be the pit stops as with this being the longest of the five road courses, it requires at least one pit stop. Once a caution comes out, teams will have a tough decision to make as series rules mandate teams cannot change tires and fuel the car under the same stop.
“There’s going to be a caution at some point,” veteran driver Kerry Micks said. “The odds of the race going green-white-checkered are pretty slim. So, when a caution does come, you have to decide what’s most important at the time – fuel or tires. Obviously, a fuel stop under green is easier than changing tires but everything depends on those yellows.”
Last year, Micks scored his best finish ever at Mosport as he finished fifth, well the previous three starts resulted in a high finish of 16th. He has had success on the road courses despite that as he has two road course wins, both coming in 2007.
Depending on how a driver works the strategy and drives the course will depend if they find success or not. For those who do, it will mean a lot.
“Practically every racing fan in Canada has heard of Mosport and knows of its history,” defending champion DJ Kennington said. “For sponsors, it’s an easy drive from Toronto. The setting at the track is comfortable. It’s not cramped. All in all, it’s a good setting and if your sponsors are there, then you want to win.”