Travel Plans

Continued lockdowns and travel restrictions mean vacation is going to be a little closer to home in summer 2021. With the above image in mind (looks just like his wife’s Mini Cooper) Chris headed out to the local RV dealer to find something fun for the family this summer.

Instead, Chris came home with 7,000 lbs of American-made camping excess. At 33′ long, the Jayco recreational vehicle absolutely dwarfs Chris’ monster truck. Plans to take the RV on a trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway next year are already underway.

Special thanks to ‘Uncle Trev’ for helping get the RV home without issues.

This Sucker’s Quick

It’s really cool that the US has a ‘car guy’ as president.

President Biden visited Ford’s Electric Vehicle Center in Michigan this week to promote his plan to help the U.S. auto industry, and their transition to electric vehicles. Biden shared the stage with significant Ford pickup trucks of the past, including a fat-fender F-100, a Raptor and the new F-150 Lightning EV pickup, making its first public appearance.

It’s common knowledge that US Presidents must surrender their driver’s licenses, and cannot drive while in office. But after his speech, Biden took a pre-production electric Ford pickup out on the private test track and kicked the crap out of it. No matter what you think of his politics, you have to hand it to the man. He used a PR event as an excuse to get back behind the wheel of a 563 HP monster of a truck.

Confusion Creates Chaos

Ontario’s roadmap to re-opening announcement last week was a little confusing. Exactly what counts as an outdoor recreational activity? A go-kart track looks a lot like a golf course. Acres and acres of grass lands with quarter-sized motorized vehicles scurrying around. Yet when Daniel and his sister Michelle hopped the fence at Goodwood Kartways on Saturday (to drop some tools in their garage) they were the only people on the property. The place would normally be buzzing on a sunny weekend in May. Instead, totally desolate. It was almost spooky.

Compare to Toronto Motorsports Park in Cayuga where they were allowing motorheads on track for ‘recreational’ driving this weekend. No competition, no timing, no spectators. Just the opportunity for 30 people to take their sports cars out on the road course for some fun. On Monday, June 14th, race tracks will be allowed to re-open with capacity restrictions as part of Stage 1. Until then, recreational lapping seems to be OK

And without a way for people to satisfy their ‘need for speed’ this was the scene at a mall parking lot in Pickering. At least two-hundred people gathered for an impromptu cars show. Dudes were revving their engines passing through the crowd, and there was a Honda Civic doing donuts with the driver’s door open. Clearly, safety was a priority!

City officials were not impressed.

“C’mon folks. We know that lockdown has been difficult for all of us. However, let’s not be careless especially now that we can see light at the end of this long tunnel. We’re close to returning to some level of normalcy. Don’t do a disservice to the rest of our community” 

Pickering Mayor, Dave Ryan

Despite hundreds of vehicles, and thousands of spectators in attendance, Durham Regional Police did not lay any charges for violating the Reopening Ontario Act.

Heartwarming

Here’s a social media post from (former) young kart racer Nicholas Latifi. It’s a throwback to 11 years ago at Goodwood Kartways, when he was just a little guy with big dreams … and his first race winning trophy!

And here’s Williams F1 driver Nicholas Latifi’s social media post from this week, as he prepares to compete in the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend. Just amazing!

Heartbreaking

Indy 500 qualifying did not go to script today. Will Power could not muscle his No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet into the big race. Power will have to return to the speedway tomorrow for the Last Chance Qualifier. Battling for positions on the last row will be:

  • RC Enerson – No. 75 Top Gun Racing
  • Sage Karam – No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
  • Charlie Kimball – No. 11, AJ Foyt Enterprises
  • Will Power – No. 12, Team Penske
  • Simona de Silvestro – No. 16, Paretta Autosport

Goodwood Kartways alumnus Dalton Kellett used a strategic last-minute qualifying run to prevent Will Power from securing the the final spot. The Canadian is in the big show!

Race For Equality and Change

At the 2010 Indianapolis 500, there were 5 female racers; Danica Patrick, Sarah Fisher, Ana Beatriz and Simona de Silvestro raced, while Milka Duno did not make the qualifying cut. Three decades earlier, Janet Guthrie broke barriers at the Brickyard by racing in the Indy 500 from 1977 to 1979.

Yet, at the 2020 Indianapolis 500, there were no female racers. That hadn’t happened in 20 years. Gender equality in racing seemed to have taken a step backwards last year.

Enter Penske and the IndyCar Series Race For Equality and Change program. It’s a major effort to support diversity and inclusivity in IndyCar. A key element of Race for Equality and Change program is a $1 million fund to fuel initiatives that will create fundamental change. Penske put his money where his mouth is. One of IndyCar’s top teams, Penske Racing has provided training and support to an all-female team entered into this year’s race, giving them a fair shot at qualifying.

Today, the No. 16 Rocket Pro TPO / Paretta Autosport Chevrolet will attempt to qualify for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing with Simona De Silvestro at the wheel.

This is a completely different approach that the FIA’s W-Series in which top female racers compete against each other, hoping to gain the attention of a Formula 1 team. The Race for Equality & Change Program provided the money and the knowledge to give an all-female team an equal chance to compete in a top open-wheel series.

Good luck to Simona Di Silvestro and her No. 16 Rocket Pro Chevrolet at Indianapolis in the race for equality and change.

Roadmap to Re-Open Racing

The Ontario Government press release on Thursday, May 20th 2021 read:

Roadmap to Reopen is a cautious three-step plan that will guide a safe and gradual reopening of the province and the lifting of public health measures based on the provincewide vaccination rate and improvements in key public health and health system indicators.

The process is phased in over 21 day periods, starting in 25 days. Effective this Saturday, May 22nd, 2021, Outdoor Recreational Amenities are allowed to open. These include golf courses, tennis courts, skateboarding parks, sports fields, BMX and skate parks, shooting ranges and archery ranges. While it is clear that motorsports facilities like the oval track at Sunset Speedway or the road course at Toronto Motorsports Park are not included as Outdoor Recreational Amenities, questions remain whether a go-kart track is closer to a Superspeedway or a golf course. The three steps of the plan (applied province-wide) are as follows:


Step 1: Monday, June 14th, 2021

  • Sports: outdoor team sports – training only, 10 people max, 3m distance
  • Sports: indoor closed, except for high-performance athletes
  • Motorsports: Outdoor with capacity and crew restrictions. No spectators

Step 2: Monday, July 5th, 2021

  • Sports: Outdoor sports leagues open
  • Sports: Training for professional or amateur athletes and/or competitions
  • Motorsports: Open with spectator capacity and other restrictions

Step 3: Monday, July 26th, 2021

  • Sports: Indoor open, with some restrictions
  • Sports: Outdoor open, with some restrictions
  • Motorsports: Open with spectator capacity and other restrictions

It is expected that go-kart tracks will open this weekend for practice, with limited participants. Expectations are high that the season (or at least spring training) will commence on Saturday, June 19th, 2021.

Stay tuned…

Recipe for Reopening Racing

Last year, avid racers Daniel Demaras and Jake Cowden were fortunate enough to take part in the NSM NASCAR test day at Shannonville Motorsports Park. At the racetrack that day was Cowden’s mom, Kerri Thompson (facing the car, below). Provincial restrictions due to the pandemic have prevented her son from racing this year. So Thompson took action by writing the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, and her effort was the subject of a recent Toronto Star article.

Her goal is to make sure that when outdoor amenities re-open, racing isn’t ignored. She believes that the science is clear: that playing sports, specifically outdoor sports, does not spread ‘the virus‘. Representatives of every sport believe that they can effectively protect competitors through social distancing and limiting the number of participants. But picking and choosing which activities are allowed and which are not is going to enrage many. So, Thompson’s recipe for safe reopening of sport (particularly motorsport) when the stay-at-home order is lifted does not pit golfers against racers.

  1. Open up sports, including practices and competition (games, races, tournaments) with no spectators.
  2. Include motorsports with all outdoor, individual, non-contact sports.
  3. Remove motorsport from the “Businesses not allowed to open” category.
  4. Determine a return to spectator protocol after participants, employees and related officials return to sports safely.

That third point, about certain businesses not been allowed to open during the pandemic, includes zoos, amusement parks, and movie theatres. These are places where large groups gather, without the ability to distance from one another. It might seem odd that racing would be included in this category, but the province is likely picturing spectators at the Honda Indy Toronto not the local go-kart track. Thompson wants that changed.

Similarly, a petition was organized by Pinnacle Advanced Driving Academy that asked the province to differentiate between grassroots motorsports and professional motorsports. The idea is simple; amateur or grassroots motorsports have small crews and spectators are not integral.

Today, the provincial government will present it’s latest ‘Re-Opening Ontario’ plan. Premier Ford has come under incredible pressure from Ontario voters and political opponents. It will be interesting to see if a logical, methodical approach will be implemented, or whether well funded lobby groups like the golf industry are allowed to open, while uncouth activities like racing are left on the back burner.

The Eagle

~ by Chris #16 Demaras ~

Daniel got his WRX this. The car has been in and out of 5 different shops (mechanic, body shop, electronics, exhaust, detailing) over the last 90 days. Daniel paid for the car and did as much of the work as he could personally. I was glad to see the smile on his face when he finally turned that key and drove off. I’ve been waiting for this since I was 17.


When I first got my license, my dad gave me my big sister’s old car and sent me out to work for the family business. I was glad to have the freedom and mobility the car provided suburban, teenage me. And the job paid good money. But the car was so…boring.

It was beige. The interior was the colour of a double-double coffee. I wanted flash! So with the money I earned from my job, I began customizing the 1989 Eagle Vista (a re-badged Mitsubishi Colt). First it was things I could do myself, like sanding down the chrome trim and painting it flat black. Blacked out tail lights, tinted windows and fog lights.. Then a spoiler from an BMW M3 and a front air dam from the Japan-only Colt Turbo. Later, 5-spoke aluminum wheels and Pirelli tires. A Blaupunkt CD player in the dashboard and three Rodek amplifiers pushed power to the four 12″ subwoofers in the trunk. The speaker box weighed the rear end down so much, I had to install spring spacers to get the ride height back to ‘normal‘.

Those first coupe of years with that car impacted my approach to car ownership ever since. I’ve always modified, customized and personalized my cars. I’ve never bought a car and just been happy enough to leave it stock.

If I just had something cool when I was 16 or 17, I might never have been this way. Even now I have a lifted truck and a slammed sports coupe. Nothing stock. So, when Daniel got his license last year, I wanted to make sure he didn’t have a double-double coffee coloured econobox.


Paragon Competes

Many of Demaras Racing’s sponsors are automotive related; auto body shop, indoor kart track and a new car dealership. But Paragon Competition is our first sponsor actively involved in professional motorsports. Here’s a recent press release about their entry into the newsiest Canadian Sports Car Series!


Paragon to contest the 2021 FEL Sports Car Series

Paragon Competition is pleased to announce it will enter the newly formed FEL Sports Car Series for the 2021 season. The team is looking forward to its new relationship with Mercedes AMG and will campaign their new AMG GTR GT4.

We are excited with our partnership with the AMG and look forward to competing with the AMG GT4 platform. This AMG platform has been racing for a few years now, procing to be reliable and quick, with the new FEL Sports Car Series and the top GT teams in Canada on the roster, “I think it will be an exciting time for our team and for GT racing in Canada,” said Team Principal Joe Chan. We are committed to help the FEL series grow and help take GT racing in Canada to the next level.

The team will also enter a SEAT TCR from the VW Motorsports Group in the TCR entry.


When racing finally resumes in Ontario, Daniel, Chris and the Demaras family will cheer on Joe Chan as he takes a run at a sports car championship!