Return of Drive-In Theaters

The Ontario Government recently announced that drive-in movie theaters would be allowed to re-open. It took a few days for these businesses to get properly staffed and develop safety protocols. But when the 5 Drive In announced they’d be open on Saturday night, the Demaras family was first in line!

Drive-in theaters are so retro 50’s that they’re about to be relevant again. In those early years drive-ins were popular with family station wagons packed with kids. The Demaras family, always looking for something car-related to do, have been patrons of drive-in theaters for years.

Plus, Richie, Ralph and Potsie took their dates there.

With most entertainment suspended due to the virus, the drive-in theater is uniquely able to provide the space needed for physical distancing of large groups of people.

Theaters have opened at 50% capacity, meaning every second spot is off-limits. The result is much more space between vehicles and increased privacy.

The popularity of drive-in movie theaters has been on the decline since the 70’s. But with Canadians looking for family-friendly entertainment in the age of covid, even the very last row of the theater was full on Saturday night.

GM Canada to Make 10 Million Masks

Good news is hard to find during these challenging times in 2020. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was so scarce two months ago that locals had to 3D print shields and hand-sew masks for hospitals! Canada is so reliant on foreign manufacturers of PPE that the situation reminds many of a 70’s oil crisis!

Less than a year ago, Canada faced another hardship, when the 100+ year old GM Oshawa plant was closed, despite winning multiple quality and productivity awards.

Capitalism has an ugly side.

Now, in response to the shortfalls in PPE production exposed by the pandemic, General Motors of Canada has been contracted to make ten million face masks. While only 60 workers is a far cry from thousands of workers over 3 shirts who built Camaros and Impalas, it is the first new business the car plant has seen since shutting down in 2019.

When the crisis began, and shortages of PPE became evident, GM repurposed the Oshawa in less than a month. It was licensed to manufacture medical devices in April 22, installed the needed equipment, and created special “clean rooms” with for manufacturing. The ten million GM masks are being made at cost for the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Demaras Racing is proud to see a car company like GM, with it’s long history in Canada, helping on the Road to Recovery!


Sparky

To honour Tony Kanaan’s 23rd and final season in open-wheel racing, IndyCar’s YouTube channel is showing the 2004 Chevy 500. The tar of the show was Sparky, Texas Motor Speedway’s anthropomorphic spark plug mascot. Retired for 10 years now, Sparky was a joy to see!

Like Tricky (Pocono) and the Firehawk (Firestone) these mascots were so common back in the day and made victory lane a little more fun.

TK and 7-Eleven

Certain drivers become synonymous with their liveries and sponsors. Michael Schumacher and Marlboro. Kenny Bernstein and Budweiser.

For nearly a decade of Tony Kanaan’s IndyCar career, he drove the green and white 7-Eleven sponsored car. They were his sponsor at Andretti Green Racing, Andretti Autosport, and Chip Ganassi Racing. Even Kanaan’s 2004 championship season occurred in the 7-Eleven livery.

It’s very fitting that in his 23rd and final season of IndyCar racing, TK and 7-Eleven have been re-united again for one last race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Designated Area For Street Racing in Atlanta

Sometimes it seems like Americans would rather give up than face a problem head on.

A recent example was when US states like Georgia allowed 16 year old ‘learners permit’ holders to receive their driver’s licenses without a test. Yes, the virus pandemic interfered with the routines of life, and getting a license at 16 is a rite of passage…but come on! No test means even the worst of these “drivers” will be on the road. In Ontario, tests were simply delayed until the pandemic eases. Where do these teens need to go so urgently?!

Much like Toronto’s problems, Atlanta has had a startling increase in street racing throughout the pandemic. The empty roads created by the lock down lead to a massive increase in stunt-driving ‘sideshows’ in Atlanta.

In a CBS report out of Atlanta, the local mayor has hatched a plan to establish a designated space for street racing and stunt driving. Shockingly, the idea was put before Mayor Kiesha Lance Bottoms by her 18 year old son! They mayor is studying the idea of blocking off public roads to segregate racers from regular traffic.

Atlanta has a deep and rich car culture, but city sanctioned racing on public roads undeniably brings up questions of safety and liability. Turning a blind eye to the problem of street racing, or condoning it in designated areas does ignores the threat to public safety, both for spectators and participants. Atlanta could face liability for property damage, injuries and even wrongful death lawsuits.

An alternative idea could be “Take it to the Track” events where they city subsidizes a local drag strip to host events where people can safely race.

There are five drag strips within an hour of Atlanta, desperately hurting for money because of the pandemic, that already have the safety facilities for such events. ‘Test and Tune‘ nights at local drag strips are already cheap, but some folks aren’t really about racing, speed and competition.

If they were, they’d be at the track, not in a parking lot at 3:00 am.

How cool is that?

~ by Chris Demaras ~

I have no idea who Phil Arscott is. All I know about his is that he did really, really well in a kart race in Mooresville, North Carolina, this past weekend and one of my all-time favourite racers Will Power gave the guy a shout-out on social media. How cool is that?

Indianapolis 500 winner Will Power launched his own brand of racing karts this year, creatively named Will Power Kart (WPK). Like any entrepreneur, Power is promoting his brand, and sharing success stories achieved with his racing karts.

I could probably look up Phil Arscott and find out he was 2009 US National Champion in Rotax karts, or that he’s an aerodynamicist for Team Penske (the IndyCar team Power races for) but that would take away from the hope that any kid racing a WPK and doing well will get the personal congratulations of the IndyCar champ.

WPK on Track

If there’s one racer who’s career has inspired the drivers at Demaras Racing to persevere, it’s Will Power. After so much adversity, he’s now a champion. Plus, the name; Will Power.

How can you not be a fan of this guy!

This season, Power launched his own brand of race karts. Michelle, Daniel and Chris were thrilled that their IndyCar racing hero would also be racing karts, just like the Demaras family.

The worldwide interruption of racing resulted in a false start though. The March race debut for the Will Power Kart was cancelled on Friday the 13th. With race tracks starting to re-open, and life returning to normal it’s exciting to see the WPK on track across the US.

Le Grand Rendezvous

Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc filmed his scenes in the remake of the controversial 1976 short film ‘C’etait un Rendezvous‘ on Sunday. Director Claude Lelouch is back, but this time his driver is racing through the streets of Monte Carlo.

Leclerc drove a Ferrari SF90 Stradale road car at speeds up to 240 km/h as interested onlookers Prince Albert of Monaco and Ferrari chairman John Elkann kept a safe distance. In line with physical distancing guidelines, everyone on set wore face masks.

A Ferrari press release described it

“The car’s blistering engine soundtrack broke a long dry spell for Prancing Horse enthusiasts and tifosi alike. Most importantly of all, however, the roar of its hybrid V8, sent out a message of optimism and signaled a first step towards the return of motorsport, film and social life as we endeavour to put the pandemic behind us through mutually responsible behaviour, commitment and solidarity.”

The new film ‘Le Grand Rendezvous‘ is set to make its premiere on June 13.

C’etait une Urgence

Classic car dealer, collector and journalist Simon Kidston has filmed a modern remake of the classic 1976 short film ‘C’était un Rendezvous‘ to gather donations for the Italian Red Cross.

The coronavirus is a worldwide problem, but Italy has been especially hard hit. Doctors and nurses work under conditions that are difficult to imagine in the western world. Kidston’s launched a GoFundMe campaign to support the Italian Red Cross by using his video ‘C’etait une Urgence‘ to request donations. The new video follows the formula laid out in the original, only this time, the driver tears through the streets of Rome, in what appears to be an ambulance. At the end of the video, the driver hands over an aid package to a Red Cross nurse in front of the Santissima Trinità dei Monti church above the Spanish Steps, mimicking the final scene of the French original, where the driver broke every traffic law in France to meet his girlfriend (1967 Miss Sweden Gunilla Friden) at the Sacre-Coeur.

“You’ve seen the original 1970s movie, racing through Paris at dawn, which nearly landed the director in jail. So we asked ourselves: when better during our lifetimes to repeat the feat than now, with empty streets, to raise money for charity and help COVID victims? And which more beautiful city to race through than Rome? Here it is: please give something to the Italian Red Cross and spare a thought for your friends behind bars!”

Simon Kidston

C’etait un Rendezvous

Today is supposed to be the Monaco Grand Prix. Like many events in the world of motorsports in 2020, it’s not happening this year. Another victim of the virus. But the streets of Monaco will still be closed to the public today, not for the race, but for Ferrari F1 driver Charles Leclerc as he shoots his scenes for a remake of the classic ‘C’etait un Rendezvous’.

The original 1976 French film shows an 8 minute, high-speed drive through the streets of Paris early on a Sunday morning. Director Claude Lelouch shot the original short in a single take, driving at break-neck speeds through public roads. There was no permit to shoot this OG fast and furious film; the driver blows through 18 red lights, drives opposite traffic on one way streets, and takes to a sidewalk to avoid a garbage truck. When the film was first screened, there was public outrage at the director. He was subsequently arrested and his license taken away, briefly. The film has since become legendary.

Charles Leclerc is living a charmed life. He is the undisputed number one driver at Scuderia Ferrari, just signed a contract with Italian designer Giorgio Armani, and his inclusion in such a legendary project as ‘C’etait un Rendezvous’ with original director Lelouch will only build on Leclerc’s mythology.