theresa tayler/metro calgary
NASCAR is racing into Canada at top speeds, and if Mark Dilley has anything to do with it the sport will soon be one of the most popular in the nation.
The NASCAR circuit veteran remembers a time when NASCAR remained a mostly-American sport, but the driver now says he doesn’t need to go down south to earn a living as Canada is gaining interest in the circuit.
“It’s a growing sport in Canada. The growth pattern is unbelievable and, in a few years with marketing, it’s going to accelerate even more,” he says.
This weekend he will be behind the wheel in Edmonton to compete in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, Canada’s only national stock car racing series that hits tracks in 12 cities across the country.
After he’s finished in Edmonton, Dilley will head to Montreal for race No. 6.
“The year is going well — we came out in third in Vernon (last week) because I crashed real bad,” said Dilley.
Yesterday, he and fellow driver Ron Beauchamp were at Calgary’s Imperial Oil — the official sponsor of Mobil 1 — showing off their cars to employees and signing a few autographs.
The 38-year-old racer says he’s proud to be part of a group of drivers who are paving the way for Canada’s up and coming NASCAR stars.
“The way I’m focused is to help bring the younger Canadians up through the circuit, Ron and I are coming down the other side of the mountain. We’re not at the top — but we’ve climbed a lot of mountains to be here and we’re paving a track for the new Canadian young drivers,” he says.
“I love the people, and the sport — but it can be a hard life — it’s not highly recommended for the weak,” said Dilley, who hails from Barrie, Ont.
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