Archive for December, 2009
Friday, December 18th, 2009
And the good news just keeps on coming boys and girls!
Thursday night, Niagara Regional council voted to approve the Canadian Motor Speedway project!
The Raceline Radio Network/The FAN 590 was the only electronic media covering this historic event!
The complex, that will include Canada’s first one mile high-speed oval, has now cleared all major governmental process!
Next step: It goes back to the Town of Fort Erie for re-zoning early in the new year, but in the meantime, permits are being secured to start actual preliminary construction on the site.
Once all re-zoning has been established, and it would be hard to think Fort Erie Council would slow things up, plus some further noise study, they can start putting shovels in the ground for work on the actual 65 thousand seat oval!
They fully intend to start constuction in 2011, so Happy New Year!
Almost there, but this is a beautiful Christmas present for the future of the sport in the GTA, Niagara Region, Southern Ontario and across Canada!
Programming note: our 13 minute post-approval interview with CMS partner Jay Mason will air on The FAN 590 this Saturday the 19th at 4:06 PM during Sports Saturday.
An edited version of the same interview will air on “Best-Of” Raceline Radio December 28th ( Late night ) on The FAN 590.
Monday, December 14th, 2009
Canadian Motor Speedway could host a variety of events
Ray Spiteri at the Niagara Falls Review had an on-target article in Monday’s Niagara Falls Review, and he called me for some input. I don’t think Ray would mind me re-printing it here..
NASCAR says they are not in the business of building race tracks, so unless one has already been built, they are not prepared to discuss how they might get involved.
When asked about the possibility of their organization expanding into Canada, or being involved in some way with a proposal being looked at in Fort Erie, a representative from NASCAR’s public relations department in Florida referred all questions to their legal department
“NASCAR does not build race tracks. After a track is built, then they would apply for a sanction for a race. So, until something is built, there is no way to know,” said a representative from their legal department. “Once the track applies for a sanction, it’s at that point when NASCAR would decide.”
The Canadian Motor Speedway plan, proposed to be built on 821 acres of land just west of the QEW between Bowen and Gilmore roads, has got motor heads wondering what type of race events the facility will host if built.
Jay Mason, a partner in the speedway project, would not comment.
“We can’t even remotely talk about that. It will get me in nothing but trouble,” said Mason. “Look at the facility. It speaks for itself.”
It’s unlikely any racing sanctioning body will commit to the speedway until it’s up and running, said Erik Tomas, anchor for The Raceline Radio Network.
“You have to build it first, then go after the dates,” said Tomas, heard on 20 stations across the country, including The FAN 590 Toronto, AM 900 CHML Hamilton, and 105.1 The River in Niagara Falls.
“I can only imagine how many plans NASCAR, gets from those wanting a commitment from them prior to a build.
“But with this proposal in Fort Erie, you’ve got folks with deep enough pockets who are saying ‘We’ll front load it. We’ll build it first and let’s see what we can do after that.’ That’s the right approach.”
And with grandstand seating for up to 100,000 people, a Jeff Gordon-design signature speedway with a one-mile oval track and a 2.5-mile road course, there are a number of race possibilities, said Tomas.
“As far as the one-mile oval is concerned, it would be the first in Canada of that size and capacity,” he said.
“They can go after NASCAR events, but I don’t see them getting the premier Sprint Cup Series, at least not initially.”
The Sprint Cup is the top racing series of NASCAR.
“It’s not just up to NASCAR, it’s also the sponsors,” said Tomas. “They will do whatever makes business sense and it will really have to beneficial to the sponsors to come to Fort Erie. That may take a while.”
He said it’s more likely the Canadian Motor Speedway would be able to lure the Nationwide Series, which is essentially the level below Sprint Cup.
“One series I could also see them going after immediately is NASCAR’s Truck Series. NASCAR’s Modified Series could run there, and so could the NASCAR Canadian Series, which used to be known as CASCAR.”
Aside from NASCAR, Tomas said the Indy Racing League could also be a good fit on the speedway’s one-mile oval.
He said the road course would have the capability to host events such as the American Le Mans Series, the Grand-Am Sports Car Series, and on the motorcycle side of things, the Parts Canada Superbike Series and Moto GP Grand Prix.
“One thing we have to keep in mind where we are is that we have a narrow weather window to schedule races,” he said. “The racing season traditionally runs from the 24th of May to Labour Day, so you’ll have to work dates in largely between that period.”
The Niagara Regional council votes this week to pass or reject the speedway. My crystal ball says they pass it with conditions the developers provide more info on noise, pollution and traffic. My sources tell me the Region thinks it’s a good deal… because it is!
Thursday, December 10th, 2009
It’s getting even closer to reality!The Niagara Regional planning committee Wednesday backed supported an amendment application to its policy plan, allowing the multi-million-dollar project to move ahead through the process even further.
The backing is subject to conditions, such as limiting the type of other types of buildings and functions on the property, and further studies on things like noise and traffic, plus local control over the future zoning bylaw.
Like the decision to move it forward by Fort Erie Town Council Monday night, the planning committee’s vote was unanimous.
The proposal will again come before regional council for discussion December 17th where council will vote to implement the motion passed yesterday.
Discussions on re-zoning implementation will begin early January to establish the roadmap.
The Canadian Motor Speedway site sits on a 821-acre property just west of the QEW, between Bowen and Gilmore roads. It includes grandstand seating for up to 100,000 people, a Jeff Gordon-design signature speedway one-mile oval track, which would be Canada’s first, a 2.5-mile road course and other developments including a McMaster University research and development centre.
Niagara College’s automotive department may also get involved with the R&D.
Supporters of CMS point to an economic boon for Fort Erie that will bring millions of dollars to the town that sits with 10% unemployment rate and numerous businesses shuttered. The 100 year old-plus horse racing facility is also suffering. The Speedway will also offer up part-time and full-time employment and offer benefits to area hotels, restaurants and shopping.
The project developers still have a lot of work ahead of them, agencies to report to and government ministries to sway.
Opponents claim the speedway will not be the economic boom supporters claim, will destroy agricultural land, and will generate too much noise, traffic and air pollution. Some are concerned the project may reduce property values.
Raceline Radio, as it has from the beginning, will continue to track this story that has gained national attention.
Tuesday, December 8th, 2009
After a marathon 6 and a half hour meeting last night that didn’t end until 12:30 AM, where close to 60 delegates spoke for and against the project, and with the leisure-plex jammed with over 500 people, Fort Erie Town council unanimously approved Canadian Motor Speedway to move to the next step!
It was worth the wait.
That next step is the Niagara Region’s planning committee’s vote tomorrow ( Wednesday the 9th ) to recommend or reject the speedway.
I’ve been told since Fort Erie has voted yes, it should have influence on how the planners and Regional council votes. That final vote on the Speedway by Niagara Regional Council is on the 17th.
The Province will also be asking the project partners for more info and clarification on things like noise db levels, pollution and such. They have a battery of some 90 engineers working on that stuff, so…
We are a step closer to getting our first one mile oval.
Tuesday, December 8th, 2009
It’s our annual holiday BEST OF Series, featuring replays of some of the best Raceline Radio interviews from the 2009 season.
Best Of # 2: December 21st: Regional council’s vote on Canadian Motor Speedway, AJ Allmendinger, Jordan Szoke, JR Fitzpatrick, Alex Tagliani.
Best Of # 3: December 28th: Jay Mason from Canadian Motor Speedway, Tom Ryley, Danica Patrick, Jack Roush.
Best Of # 4: January 4th: Richard Petty, Junior Johnson, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Schumacher, Dario Franchitti.
Thursday, December 3rd, 2009
Just a few days away now from 2 critical votes on Canadian Motor Speedway in Fort Erie, prized because if approved, it will give us our first NASCAR-IndyCar size one mile oval.
At this Monday’s Fort Erie Town Council meeting, to be chaired my FAN 590 Football/Bullpen insider Councilman and acting Mayor Sandy Annunziata, they will vote on the project once and for all, ending a detailed process that goes back more than 2 years.
If Fort Erie passes it, first hurdle crossed!
It then goes to The Niagara Region, where the planning committee will vote on whether or not they recommend The Region should approve or reject the project.
The Region will them make the final vote December 17th.
Fingers and toes remain crossed.
There is opposition to the Speedway, but it should be obvious there are more benefits than detriments.
Speaking with AM 900 CHML morning host Bob Bratina, as CHML is a Raceline Radio Network affiliate, Bob also sits on Hamilton City Council.
Bob knows how the municipal process works, and his term for voting yes or no on Canadian Motor Speedway is “the common good“, where the pro`s out-weight the cons by a wide margin.
We know there is support for the Speedway, a lot of support. Here`s the latest article from our friend Kris Dube at the Fort Erie Times:
Speedway supporters rallying before council meeting
Posted By Kris Dubé
Supporters of the Canadian Motor Speedway are hoping the Town of Fort Erie will give the project its full endorsement at Monday’s council-in-committee meeting.
Normally, these meetings are held in the council chambers at town hall but because a large crowd is anticipated, the Leisureplex banquet hall will be the venue. Before the council session begins, a group of supporters will be found at the Quarter Mile Restaurant and Sports Bar on Garrison Road, who plan on marching to the meeting in hopes of seeing council voting in favour of the speedway, to be built on 823 acres of land adjacent to the QEW between Bowen and Gilmore Roads. The project is being funded by Bayt Al Mal Investments, a subsidiary of the Kuwaiti Investment Bank.
The build-out could be expanded to about $400 million considering the commercial, industrial and educational uses the facility will have. McMaster University has agreed to build and operate a research and development centre at the site if it is approved by both the municipal and regional governments by the end of next week.
Ed Moody, who refers to himself as a “retired motorsports historian” says this project is what the Canadian auto-racing industry has been waiting for. Although he has just recently moved to Greater Fort Erie, he feels his new place of residence will become an area visited by tourists even more than what it already is.
“If this speedway is approved, there will be a lot of people attracted to the area,” said Moody, who spent many years as a freelance motor sports writer for Sun Media and worked at Mosport Speedway in Bowmanville since the 1960′s.
He feels there isn’t enough people addressing the “mistruths” that have appeared in local newspapers. One submission suggests there will be out of control tailgate parties that will continue until the early hours of the morning after a race event. He finds this hard to believe and says “someone is confusing a football game with a car race.”
Reminiscing about the Crystal Beach Amusement Park era, Moody said this was a time when people travelled from all over Ontario and parts of the U.S. to visit Fort Erie. He feels there hasn’t been anything to attract people from outside the area other than the Fort Erie Racetrack, since the Crystal Beach park closed in 1989. He referred to the historic family venue as a reason for people to visit Fort Erie for entertainment. At the same time, he feels it was also a reason for residents to stay in Fort Erie because of the employment opportunities it offered, especially for young students hoping to fund their post-secondary education.
“That’s exactly what is going to come with this speedway,” he said.
Mayor Doug Martin made a similar comment, saying if the speedway is approved many students will be able to find employment right in their backyard, saving up for their futures.
“This is a place for students to work in the summer to save enough money to go to university,” said Martin.
The mayor will not be present at the meeting as he will be travelling to Switzerland for a discussion on refugees, hosted by the United Nations. Even though he will not be there, he says it is still very important to “hear from everybody,” which includes people opposed to the project, people in support of it and those who will be directly impacted by it.
“And you also have those looking at this as an opportunity for employment while putting Fort Erie on the map,” said Martin.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 15 people have registered to make a delegation at the council-in-committee meeting. Anyone wishing to join this list, in opposition or in support of the project have until Monday at 3 p.m. to speak at the meeting.
The rally at the Quarter Mile is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. and will include a free BBQ for those in attendance.
A Facebook group at has also been an outlet for showing support with almost 4,000 users of the social networking site as members.
If all goes according to plan, we might have a gigantic christmas present for Canadian race fans under the Christmas tree this year!
Deck the Halls!