NASCAR Negotiating Potential Return to Canada: Report

Getty Danica Patrick races at Cicuit Gilles Villeneuve during the 2012 season.

A return to Canada could be on the way for NASCAR. The Sports Business Journal has reported that negotiations are ongoing for a potential race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

SBJ’s Adam Stern provided the report on June 7. He cited sources while saying that the Montreal track is involved with ongoing negotiations focused on potential international Cup Series races. Stern also clarified that a deal is not yet complete, so there is a scenario where this deal does not come to fruition.

The NASCAR Cup Series has never competed at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, but the Xfinity Series made regular visits to the road course between 2007 and 2012 as Ford Performance and Team Chevy drivers split the wins.

Kevin Harvick won the inaugural event during the 2007 season. He only led two laps, but he held off Canadian Patrick Carpentier and scored his fifth of six wins that season.

The list of winners included Ron Fellows in 2008, Carl Edwards in 2009, Boris Said in 2010, and Marcos Ambrose in 2011. Justin Allgaier won the final Xfinity Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2012 after bumping Jacques Villeneuve out of the way on the final lap.

The Move Would Fit With Comments From Steve Phelps

GettyXfinity Series drivers race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2012.

NASCAR has not shied away from making big moves with its schedule in recent seasons. The Busch Light Clash at the LA Memorial Coliseum, the Bristol Dirt Race, and the Chicago Street Race are only some examples.

Back in 2022, NASCAR President Steve Phelps indicated that these moves will only continue. He made an appearance at the CAA World Congress of Sports, and he sat down with FOX Sports reporter Josh Sims, Trackhouse Racing owner Justin Marks, and Hendrick Motorsports vice chairman Jeff Gordon to discuss a variety of topics.

Part of the discussion focused on the upcoming changes to the NASCAR schedule. Phelps said that aggressiveness will continue as the sanctioning body prepares to release the 2024 schedule.

“The opportunity for us to continue schedule variation — and for the first time ever — run a street course, we think it’s gonna be fantastic,” Phelps said, video courtesy of Sports Business Journal. “Whether you are race fans telling us you want geographic expansion or different things or our broadcast partners in FOX and NBC, they want to see unique things as well.”

“…We are going to keep being very aggressive in our schedule. Our [2024] schedule, I think, will probably have the most aggressive schedule we’ve ever had in terms of continued schedule variation. I won’t talk about what that is at this particular time.”

Another NASCAR Series Spent Several Seasons in Canada

GettyAlex Kennedy catches air during a Nationwide Series race in Canada.

The Nationwide Series — now Xfinity Series — only spent six seasons in Montreal, but there was another national series that continued to compete in Canada.

The Craftsman Truck Series first headed to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Ontario during the 2013 season, and it continued competing at the road course through the 2019 season.

Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Austin Cindric, Brett Moffitt, John Hunter Nemechek, Justin Haley, and Erik Jones all won Truck Series races during this span of time.

The Truck Series has since remained away from Ontario due to travel restrictions while the NASCAR Pinty’s Series has provided racing entertainment for passionate fans in Canada.

There have been calls for NASCAR to return to Canada and its road courses since the 2019 season. Whether this happens remains to be seen, but Stern’s report indicates that it is possible.


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