By admin | August 27, 2009
By Richard Allen
Just a few short days ago President Obama lauded NASCAR as a “uniquely American sport”. That statement could potentially be proven false in every possible way very soon. After this weekend’s Nationwide Series race in Montreal NASCAR could well enter a strange realm of foreign participation.
Think of this for a moment. Marcos Ambrose is without question one of the best road course racers in NASCAR. He has won two Nationwide Series races at Watkins Glen, including one just weeks ago. He seemingly had the race in Montreal won on one occasion only to be spun by a car that had been ordered to go to the back but was allowed to remain in place for no other reason than to spin Ambrose.
With Ambrose’s road course abilities established, think of the possible ramifications to the Obama statement referenced above should Ambrose do what he will likely be favored to do this weekend. He, an Australian, could win a NASCAR sanctioned race in Canada driving a Japanese car. And the win would come in the French speaking part of Canada, no less.
I don’t know if anyone keeps up with such things, but it would almost certainly have to be the first time in NASCAR history that there would be a winner with absolutely no American ties.
Neither the driver, the brand of car nor the venue will be of the United States. Not even the language spoken over the public address system would be that predominately spoken in the United States(for now).
The next closest instance I can think of was when Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya won a Nationwide race in Mexico, but he was driving a Dodge in that event.
There are other foreign born drivers with a chance to win this race. I am simply counting Ambrose as the most likely.
Perhaps the brass at NASCAR will be patting themselves on the back because they will have truly taken their sport global should these events come to pass. Almost certainly, the leadership will enjoy every bit as much success globally as they have by removing the sport from its traditional roots and into places such as Los Angeles and Miami.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not rooting against Marcos Ambrose. It would be almost impossible to not like the guy. I’m just saying NASCAR will enter into a whole new realm if he indeed does win.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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