Originally created 06/17/04

Canada opens its border to sport



BROOKLYN, Mich. - The formation of NASCAR Canada apparently doesn't mean stock car racing is making a run for the border.

NASCAR announced this week it would work with TSN, one of Canada's leading media companies, to expand its presence through marketing and television. The deal, however, doesn't mean NASCAR is looking to move races to places like Montreal or Toronto.

"This partnership, which goes far beyond televising NASCAR in Canada, will help grow the NASCAR brand in Canada, attract new fans to our sport, and bring new marketing opportunities to NASCAR sponsors and licensing partners," NASCAR chief operating officer George Pyne said.

According to NASCAR, the deal will provide Canadian businesses with marketing rights to the NASCAR trademark; provide a multi-level television, newspaper and radio media program and provide grassroots initiatives through its weekly racing series which already has events at Delaware Speedway in Ontario and St. Eustache Speedway in Quebec.

While NASCAR is spreading its name north of the border, some wonder if moving races there would be a good idea.

"As far as the sport itself, the actual racing, it doesn't make any difference," said Kyle Petty, a car owner and driver on the Nextel Cup Series. "Now it could make a huge difference for the sponsors, and that currently would be a very positive effect on all of us. If the Mexican or Canadian markets are key markets for them, or could become a key market for them, obviously it would be something they would like a lot."

FIXING NASCAR: Darrell Waltrip has a few ideas to fix NASCAR's recent run of problems: Make it simple.

"There are just many simple things that can be done," he said during an interview Monday on FX's Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain. "You know, freezing the field (during a caution) was a great idea, but we knew it would going to cause a lot of problems that we couldn't envision. There are a lot of things that can be done, but you just can't keep saying you are working on it. You need to go back to things that have worked in the past."

Waltrip's broadcasting partner, Larry McReynolds, said when NASCAR invoked the rule that prohibits racing back to the flag stand during a caution, it wound up making other rules to define it. Like Waltrip, he said the sanctioning body needs to make it simpler for everyone - including NASCAR - to understand.

Reach Don Coble at doncoble@bellsouth.net.