The CASCAR Castrol Super Series Eastern Champion-ship was decided amidst shattered fiberglass and flaring tempers.
With the finale being held at Autodrome St-Eustache, the incidents of note came following an event filled with contact. At the head of the controversy was Don Thomson Jr. Locked in a battle for the eastern title with race leader Peter Gibbons, Thomson was running third to Neil Fair as the white flag flew to signify the last lap. Thomson was aware that he needed to finish second to tie Gibbons in the points and win the title on the basis of having more race wins.
After crossing the start-finish line, Thomson slammed Fair into the gravel between turns one and two, came home second and took the series title.
Fair, who finished tenth, didn’t let it end there. With Gibbons, Thomson and third place finisher Dave Whitlock lined up on the front straight for post-race celebrations, Fair brought his car around and confronted Thomson, putting on a show for the fans and making CASCAR officials increasingly uncomfortable.
As a result of the pass, CASCAR officials fined Thomson an amount equal to his winnings for the day, but left his points and title intact. Fair was also fined for his after-race incident. And there were five drivers cited for infractions during the incident-filled event.
“We understand that these individuals were motivated to win the Super Series East Championship and the race itself,” said CASCAR national race director Steve Mifsud. “While we applaud their determination and competitiveness, we cannot condone the unprofessional and dangerous behavior that erupted in the final laps of the race, and at the start/finish line immediately following the event.”
It was a troubling end to what had shaped up as a highly competitive season with five winners in eight races.
The season started out well for the Blue Streak team of Al Turner, who won the season opener at Delaware, Ont., and the next event at Cayuga. Kerry Micks took round three at Montreal’s Autodrome St-Eustache a week later, surviving a first lap oil slick laid down on the pace laps that threw the front runners into disarray.
Thomson dominated at the Mosport oval to notch his first in of the season, but was a lap down in fifth at New Brunswick International Speedway when Al Turner took his third win of the season. Despite being the most victorious driver of 2000, win-or-crash luck knocked Turner out of contention for the title and even out of the top ten in the standings.
When the series hit the Toronto Molson Indy for the Exide Street Fight, it was westerner Kevin Dowler who enjoyed a small but comfortable margin at the end to become the first western driver to take top honors at a CASCAR Castrol Super Series event.
The next, and last, event was the UAP/NAPA Autopro 200 at St-Eustache, won by Peter Gibbons, which ended the eastern championship race, but not the season.
It set up the leading drivers for a further close battle going into the National Series events, with Thomson and Turner able to bring two first place regional finishes to bear on the National points title fight.