Photo Caption: The late Jeff Green is seen on Friday practicing for the weekend’s Formula 5000 reunion at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Norris McDonald will comment on the tragedy that took Green’s life in his wheels.ca column Monday morning. Photo by Paul Madder
With friends like these, who needs enemies?
Brian Redman, the F1 and Formula 5000 champion of the 1970s who won Le Mans and other famous sports car races, came to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park at the weekend to be Grand Marshal of the ill-fated VARAC vintage racing festival.
So last Friday, he leaves his home in Vero Beach, Fla., and makes his way to the West Palm Beach airport to catch a Delta Airlines flight to Toronto. He hands his passport to the agent to get a boarding pass and said agent tells him that he needs a visa to travel to Canada and if he doesn’t have one he won’t be allowed to board the plane.
The Delta agent – who is coo-coo, by the way – tries to be helpful, however. Mr. Redman can apply for a visa online and if he’s lucky, he might even get one in time to fly to Canada later that day.
Brian Redman has been to Canada – and just about every other country in the world, by the way – and knows you do not need a visa. He is not in a mood to argue, though. He changes his flight to one from West Palm to Baltimore, and then catches another plane to Buffalo, where he rents a car.
He drives across the Peace Bridge to Fort Erie, hands his passport to a Canada Customs officer, and is welcomed to Canada. He is not asked for his visa.
There are strange things going on in the United States these days. Not all are at the White House.
DRIVER DIES AT CTMP. READ NORRIS McDONALD’S
MONDAY MORNING RACING ROUNDUP AT WHEELS.CA
Kevin Lacroix (above) won the NASCAR Pinty’s Series race Saturday night at Jukasa Motor Speedway. Photo courtesy of NASCAR
SHORT SHIFTS: Fernando Alonso was one of three drivers (Formula Electric driver Sebastien Buemi and F1 reject Kazuki Nakajima were the others) to race a Toyota LMP1 to victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. They did not have any real competition but a win at Le Mans is a win at Le Mans. For a full and complete story, please click here .
There will now be story after story about how McLaren (Alonso’s employer in Formula One) is planning to re-enter the IndyCar Series in 2019 and Alonso will be the No. 1 driver. I say forget it. This man is one of the five best racing drivers in the world (Hamilton, Vettel, Verstappen and Ricciardo are the others) and he is a multi-millionaire who is used to the Good Life (that’s the world of private jets, Mediterranean yachts and beautiful European women) and I say you will never find him racing on a crappy little oval speedway in Iowa, which is one of the places you go in IndyCar.
I predict that he will continue in F1 next year and take another crack at the Indianapolis 500. If he overstays his welcome in F1, and is asked to leave, he will then do world sports cars or the equivalent. But you will not see him racing at Pocono or Phoenix or wherever with the place half empty. Never. Ever. . . . . .
Talking about crappy little ovals in Iowa, Brent Moffitt won the Camping World Series trucks race at Iowa Speedway at the weekend (click here for details) while Justin Allgaier was first in the Xfinity Series race. Please click here for the full story on that one. . . . .
Quebec stock car racer Kevin Lacroix reminds me of Will Power. You will recall that when Power first started racing for Team Penske, he was a terror on road courses and not good on ovals. Then he learned to drive on ovals and is one of the better all-round race drivers in the world today.
Lacroix, who won Saturday’s Pinty’s Series race at Jukasa Speedway, would win regularly on road courses but could never handle the ovals. Well, Saturday night he didn’t just win the Rankin Construction 200, he dominated it. I suggest Lacroix will win this year’s Pinty’s national championship and then head south to join 2017 champion Alex Labbe full-time in the Xfinity Series.
For details of Saturday night’s race under the lights at the Hagersville-area plant formerly known as Cayuga Speedway, please click here . . . . .
Jason Hathaway hauled all the way out to the Maritimes to race at Riverside International Speedway near Antigonish, N.S., and was collected in a huge crash at the start involving 17 cars and didn’t get to race. The Ed Hakonson Racing team will return for another kick at the can in July . . . . .
Anne Chisholm, wife of Riverside founder, the late John Chisholm, has passed away. . . . . .
At Ohsweken Speedway Friday night, 120 cars were signed in across four divisions as Burger Barn presented Wall of Fame night and Kids Race for the Canadian National Autism Foundation. An on-track ceremony at intermission welcomed five new members to the Wall of Fame, including Fred Carleton, Keith Dempster, Kelly Hallett and Ken and Cheryl Pelkie. On the track, it was Cory Turner picking up the win in the Kool Kidz-Corr/Pak 360 Sprint Car Feature. Jesse Costa scored his second victory of the season in the Strickland’s GMC Crate Sprint Car Feature while Dave Bailey won the Middleport Mechanical Thunder Stock Feature and Nick Masi claimed the checkered flag in the HRW Automotive Mini Stock main event. . . . . .
There was a Formula 5000 reunion at CTMP this weekend – which is why Brian Redman was there – and it gave all of us of a certain age a thrill to see those incredible cars. Incredible, of course, but also very dangerous. My friend Paul Madder, an ace photographer who photographed F1 races in Europe and just about everything that moved at Mosport in the Seventies, sent me the photos that you see below.
The one right at the bottom is of me – I’m the guy in the middle – between two legendary racers, Canadian Eppie Wietzes (left) and Brian Redman of England and the United States. I conducted a public “Fireside Chat” with those two guys Sunday morning and it was a delightful half-hour.