It may be only June, but the hype for the second Canadian Short Track Nationals at Jukasa Motor Speedway (ON) has already reached a high level, with teams from both north and south of the border announcing their intentions to run. With a $300,000 purse and a $75,000 winner’s share, both of which are up from one year ago, it’s hardly a surprise, especially given the great race in 2018 won by Bubba Pollard.
Now in 2019, the 5/8-mile oval is stronger than ever in its second year back in operation. This past Monday on Speed51’s "The Morning Bullring," Jukasa General Manager Alex Nagy talked about how the event and the track have many people to thank for the rapid rise to prominence in the North American racing community.
“It’s only our second year, and I know the purse is strong and that has a lot to do with it, but everybody that has visited us and raced with us had spread the word about our facility and our staff; which is ultimately the most important," Nagy told Speed51. "Our fans are great and we’re fortunate to have a track that people from all over North America want to go to. This year is no different, only this time on a bigger scale for our second annual."
The history of Jukasa is long, spanning over 50 years back to its Cayuga Speedway days. Events like the Canadian Short Track Nationals are a way of adding to that great history.
“When we reopened the facility from Cayuga Speedway it already had a ton of history," said Nagy. "We had the best of the best come through here from Dale Earnhardt to Mike Eddy, all of the ASA guys: Mark Martin, Alan Kulwicki, Don Biederman Jr. and all of the Canadians. This has always been a place in Canada where everybody from North America came to, to major events. We appreciate our history and we want to continue to remember that.”
While carrying on tradition is a worthwhile goal, Nagy and the Jukasa team are going far above and beyond that, with the intention of being an international destination for all race fans and teams. The 250-lap event for Pro Late Models being the main instrument towards that goal.
“It’s the biggest asphalt oval track in Canada and we feel it’s the best, second to none in North America," said Nagy. "So, we felt it was important to rekindle that Canada/U.S. kind of competition. Ultimately, we just want to have the best drivers available to come to the events we have from wherever they are from, and we are starting to be able to accomplish that. So far this year, it has grown, we got thirty-something entries already for September from all over Canada and guys from Michigan, Oklahoma, Florida, and Texas.”
Beyond the Canadian Short Track Nationals, well-known sanctioning bodies have joined on with their own events, including the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series, ISMA Supermodifieds, APC United Late Model Series, and NASCAR Pinty’s Series, all helping to form an all-star schedule with the Nationals as the focal point.
“Our management group when decided to reopen the racetrack ultimately decided that we would have special events, we don’t race weekly," explained Nagy. "We just had our opener this past weekend with the NASCAR Pinty’s Series and the OSCAAR Modifieds and Hot Rods. We’re trying to create annual events that people can know; the Canadian Short Track Nationals is Labor Day weekend on the calendar. Just trying to create those big events is the priority.”
There are a number of events in both Canada and the U.S. which see short track stars in various classes cross the border for money and trophies, but Nagy believes that the Canadian Short Track Nationals has the promise to be more than just a great Canadian event, but an event for all both north and south.
“With the Canadian Short Track Nationals, we wanted to create the richest short track event in North America and I feel we have accomplished that," said Nagy. "We want whether they’re Canadian or American, it doesn’t matter to us. There’s a border, but we’re all the same, the cars are the same, and all the drivers are talented. We want to be up there with the likes of the Snowball Derby and all the traditional events in North America.”
The second running of the Canadian Short Track Nationals is set for August 31 and September 1 of Labor Day weekend. Be sure to stay tuned to Speed51 for more information on the event.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51