Today, Go Canada Racing, the newest all-Canadian NASCAR contender, officially starts its quest for NASCAR glory.
Go Canada Racing is the only current NASCAR national series team with a Canadian owner, businessman Steve Meehan, and a Canadian driver, rising Canadian NASCAR star J.R. Fitzpatrick.
"Go Canada Racing brings together my two great passions: business and racing," Meehan said as the team was announced Tuesday in Toronto. "My success in business has been built on seeing where the right opportunities are and creating a great team of people to do the job. When I saw the opportunity to start a team, I brought in the right people, like J.R., and with their help I believe I can have the same kind of success in the racing world as I had in the business world."
Meehan's goal for Go Canada Racing is for it to become the first fully-Canadian team to compete full-time on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tour - the preeminent series in North American motorsports.
The team raced two weeks ago at Auto Club Speedway and will make its official debut this Saturday at Nashville Superspeedway.
"NASCAR has 7 million fans in Canada, many of whom watch the races every week on TV," Meehan said. "This team will give the millions of Canadian fans a ‘home team' to rally around, and I believe it's a great opportunity for Canadian companies to showcase their brand to this huge audience of Canadian race fans."
The team name, Go Canada Racing, and car number, 67, were both chosen to give the team an all-Canadian feel. The name was inspired by the cheers of "Go Canada" that Canadians are accustomed to hearing at sporting events throughout the country.
The car number, 67, corresponds to 1867, the year of Confederation in Canada. This number is very significant for Canadians, and Meehan believes it will help Canadian NASCAR fans identify with his team even more.
At age 18, Fitzpatrick became the youngest driver to win the CASCAR Super Series championship, and last year he finished second in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series championship. Over the last three years he has raced in nine NASCAR Nationwide events, and drove to a career-high finish of seventh at Road America and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, both in 2010.
The opportunity with Go Canada Racing is Fitzpatrick's first chance at a full-time ride on one of the premier stock car racing circuits in North America, an opportunity he has worked towards for many years.
"I've been racing since I was 15 years old and it has always been my dream to step into one of these cars full-time," Fitzpatrick said. "Steve has put together an outstanding team and given us the tools to succeed in this sport. We have a great crew, a great car, and a great team, and I'm looking forward to competing with some of NASCAR's best, starting this weekend in Nashville."
"We're looking forward to the addition of Go Canada Racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's Senior Vice President of Racing Operations. "Canada is an important market for NASCAR, as demonstrated by our commitment to developing Canadian drivers in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. Now, the millions of NASCAR fans in Canada have a ‘home' team to root for on NASCAR's national level."