While there are no World of Outlaws drivers that hail from Canada, there are four crew members that call the Great White North home, and Wednesday will be a homecoming of sorts for them, as the series makes their long awaited inaugural visit to the high-banked 3/8-mile Ohsweken Speedway in Ontario.
Jimmy Carr, Marie Lapointe, Kevin Loveys and Steve Moulton all hail from the north of the border and with the demanding schedule of the World of Outlaws, keeping them on the road for nine-plus months of the year, they are excited to return to Canada and visit family and friends that they normally do get to see during the racing season, which stretches from early February until early November.
Carr, the crew chief for Paul McMahan on the No. 20 car, who hails from Maple Ridge, British Columbia, will be visiting Ohsweken Speedway for the first time. The 1991 World of Outlaws Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year has been around sprint car racing since 1982, the last time the World of Outlaws visited Canada. The last time he was in the country was back in 1990 and the last time he drove was in 2000.
“It’s a long ways from where I was born and raised, but it will be nice to get back up there and see some people,” said Carr. “A lot of people I know live on the east side of the country so it will be great to get home.”
Carr and the Tony Stewart Racing team with McMahan behind the wheel are currently eighth in both driver and team points. After a very busy stretch of races that began last Tuesday at Lernerville Speedway and was expanded a day due to a rainout, Carr and his crew planned to take advantage of the two days away from the track before the event at Ohsweken Speedway on Wednesday, July 25.
“We were on a six day in-a-row stretch last week and if we had to do that every week it would be pretty bad,” he explained. “Normally we can sneak in a day to get caught up on the work on the car and do laundry and get the driving out of the way. It’s tough a lot of the time living out a suitcase and motels, going to restaurants every day and not having any home cooking.”
Marie Lapointe, a crew member on the No. R19 of Jason Solwold, hails from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and is excited to head back to her native land to race. Though she hails from Canada’s capital city, it will be here first ever visit to a race track in her home country. She will get to see many family and friends before and after the race.
“It’s going to be pretty cool,” said Lapointe. “My sister will be there with her kids so she will get to see us for the first time. She will get to see me in action as well, and I can’t wait to see that happen.”
Lapointe, who began working for the team last season, is the only female crew member on a World of Outlaws team. While she is still knew to racing, she has learned the ropes quickly and is ready to be part of one of the most anticipated events in Canadian racing history.
“I was never really involved in racing in Canada, so I don’t know exactly what the fans are like,” she said. “What my sister told me was that she was not going to come to the race and people at her work said she had to go, that it was the big thing. They are really thrilled and excited to know that the Outlaws are coming.”
Kevin Loveys, the crew for Jeremy Campbell has raced at Ohsweken Speedway in the past and also has worked for track owner and 360-sprint car driver Glenn Styres as well. Loveys who has been involved in racing for 12 years, drove Styres back-up car in a few times and in his first outing drove from 20th to sixth. He also earned a Top-Five finish at the Canadian Sprint Car Nationals, which are annually held at Ohsweken Speedway.
“I’ve been looking forward to going home for a while now,” said Loveys. “I think everyone will be impressed with Ohsweken, it’s an awesome race track. It should be one good race.”
Loveys admits that the fans have been waiting a long time for the World of Outlaws to come to town. Many of the Canadian fans have never seen a 410-sprint car in action and he knows they will be thrilled with the blistering speeds the cars will turn on the high-banked 3/8-mile oval, with the track record expected to quickly fall in time trials. He has received indication that fans from far and wide will be heading to Ohsweken for the event.
“There really is not a whole lot of professional racing going on in Southern Ontario and you have to have to drive quite a distance to see an Outlaw race or other professional race, probably six or eight hours,” he noted. “Most of the tickets are already sold and they added more seats, that is how excited the fans are.”
With a couple of days off before the event, Loveys will have a chance to visit with family and friends that he rarely sees during the course of the always demanding World of Outlaws season.
“I’m going to get to have dinner with my grandma and my mom and everybody,” said Loeveys. “I haven’t seen then for probably five or six month, so I am looking forward to going home for a day.”
Steve Moulton, one of Randy Hannagan’s crew members hails from Toronto. He has been involved in racing for over 30 years and has helped turn the wrenches on a number of 360-sprint cars in Canada over the years.
“I’m excited to head up there,” said Moulton. “I have helped guys in the past there and can’t wait to get back. The fans are really pumped and I heard the place is sold out already. We’re looking forward to it.”
Moulton puts in countless hours each day to make sure that Hannagan has a fast car on the track, and is looking forward to having a day away from the track in Canada to relax and get caught up on things.
“It’s a lot of work out here,” he said. “We raced six nights in-a-row last week, but we get a couple of days off before Ohsweken. That will help us get all rested up.”
On Wednesday, July 25 at Ohsweken Speedway tickets for those ages 13-over will be $40, with tickets for those 12-under $25. Visit http://www.ohswekenspeedway.com for more information.