The inaugural Canadian Short Track Nationals at Jukasa Motor Speedway has created a wave of anticipation that has reached far across Canada and south to the United States. With the recent announcement that the race will now pay $50,000 to win ($38,270 U.S. dollars), racers from throughout North America have referred to the Pro Late Model race as a can’t-miss event.
One driver south of the Canadian border who has had the inaugural event at Jukasa Motor Speedway circled since its announcement is Michigan ace Brian Campbell. Although Campbell has chosen to stay close to home for much of the 2018 season, the large purse made the Canadian Short Track Nationals an irresistible opportunity.
“That was on our radar the first time it popped out back in the spring and now they have raised the purse up,” Campbell told Speed51.com. “We were going regardless when it was at $25,000, now the $50,000 just makes it even more enticing, so we’re certainly looking forward to it.”
A two-decade veteran of the Late Model ranks, Campbell has been to his fair share of big money races, but he cannot remember a prize so large in recent times, and never for a Pro Late Model event.
“No. I can’t really remember anything recently,” he stated. “Dirt cars have it every now and then, but that’s about it. I can remember the Snowball Derby had it 10 or 20 years ago. But other than that, I can’t remember a race that had a payout like that.”
Located in southern Ontario, to the west of Niagara Falls, Jukasa Motor Speedway is a 5/8-mile fast oval. The track, previously known as Cayuga Speedway, was reborn in the last year with the facility undergoing major renovations.
Campbell has heard many great stories from those who ventured there from the Midwest already, and he is looking forward to getting his own chance to experience it on September 2.
“Depending on customs it’s about five or six hours; just a hop, skip and a jump across the pond. It gives us a chance to see a different place and a different track,” Campbell said. “There are a couple of guys on the team that went to Cayuga for the old ASA shows. Going there after the revamp is going to be fun. I’ve seen lots of pictures and talked to lots of people. I’m very impressed. I’m sure they won’t give it justice until we get there. You don’t get places or races like this a lot anymore.”
For a team that is being very selective about their schedule, Campbell thought this was an easy choice for a road trip. The 2018 Money in the Bank 150 winner is also hoping that other teams with the means to travel the distance take a chance at this great opportunity.
“The race bumps against some commitments that people have, chasing various series around. But for guys in Canada and guys that aren’t running for points or are locked into a sponsorship deal with somebody else, if you can figure out how to get up there, it’s a no-brainer.”
The biggest concern that Campbell does have is that drivers will not let all that cash blind their reasoning when laps begin to wind down.
“That’s going to be really good until there’s a caution with five to go or a green-white-checkered,” he commented. “I can see people losing their brains pretty quick, so hopefully that doesn’t happen. Hopefully it ends clean and there’s no fight at the end or anything like that.”
Although the on-track racing is an uncertainty heading in, Campbell is confident that this race will provide a unique mix of cars and stars from both north and south.
“You see their names all over the internet but you’ve never had an opportunity to race them. It’s going to be fun and challenging. We’re doing research on who’s who, who’s fast, and who we got to watch out for. Plus the Americans that are going will be a handful as they always are. It will be a mixed bag and a cool challenge. It’s big. It’s good for the sport, certainly a marquee race, and the dollar alone sets it apart from any other Pro (Late Model) race for sure.”
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com