For the 14th race of the Camping World Truck Series season, the drivers get down to business at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for the Chevrolet Silverado 250. It is their only road course of the season. This world-class racetrack opened in 1961, with a win by Sir Sterling Moss – this is how corners 5A and 5B got their name – and has had no fewer than 16 formula 1 champions and ten Indy 500 winners that have graced the corners. Greats such as: A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Rick Mears, Jackie Stewart and even ‘The King’ Richard Petty.
The track, a 2.459 mile, ten-turn asphalt road course has been host to: formula 1, IndyCar, United SportsCar and NASCAR. 2015 will be the Camping World Truck Series’ third visit to the track, which is one of the world’s fastest road courses. The inaugural race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park was in 2013, becoming the first time in 13 years the series has raced on a road course.
This is a track that requires a driver to develop a rhythm while providing few places to pass. Turn one is very bumpy and nearly flat-out. Turn two is a wide sweeping corner followed by turn three, which is tight on entrance then opens up. This flows into turn four, a downhill corner.
Turn five, the ‘Moss Corner’, is a lower speed, tricky corner. One mistake here and a driver can quickly find the tire barrier. Turn six flows into ‘Andretti Straight,’ a 3,000-ft. straight that allows the trucks to reach a top speed of about 165-170 MPH. This leads into the esses leading to turn nine and finally turn ten leads to the straightaway to cross the start-finish line.
Expect drivers to make one or two pit stops, of course that depends on the number of caution flags thrown. In the previous two events, the yellow flag waved an average of 3.5 times. In 2013, five cautions appeared, and in 2014, there were only two.
That number will likely go up this weekend, as inexperience will be the case in a large number of drivers. In the 2015 field, drivers like Matt Tifft and Brandon Jones are making their first road course starts while Brian Wong and Robert Mitten make their NASCAR Camping World Truck Series début.
Seventeen-year-old Chase Elliott won the inaugural event in thrilling fashion when he bumped into Ty Dillon in the last turn, leaving Dillon with a wrecked car. In 2014 dramatic last lap action occurred as German Quiroga stalked leader Ryan Blaney lap after lap until he passed him in turn nine on the last lap. But Blaney crossed back over him in turn ten to barely eke out victory.
Alex Tagliani, doing a one-off for Brad Keselowski Racing, is a heavy favorite not only because it’s a road course event but he also won the 2014 pole. ThorSport Racing’s two-time champion Matt Crafton is still fighting hard to regain the top spot in the point standings and any weekend he’s not winning, he’s not happy. Now, wins mean more than ever as the top-five championship drivers have only 90 points of separation. Meaning the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park race will have huge championship implications. NASCAR Next driver Cole Custer in the No. 00 for JR Motorsports will be in ‘the mix’ for the win as will Erik Jones in the Kyle Busch Motorsports entry. Jones finished third in the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 250.
This race may also have a huge surprise, as I predict this race will produce a new winner. My race winner call is 17-year-old Gray Gaulding, driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports. I expect this will be his year after he qualified second and finished fourth last season. Whatever the result, the real winner will be the fans witnessing some of the best racing of the 2015 NASCAR season.