Ims Motor Speedway is an intermediate NASCAR racetrack in Canada. It is located in Bowmanville, Ontario, about 40 minutes northeast of Toronto. The two-year old course is one of five stops on the NASCAR Pinty’s Tour, a summer series that started in 2016 and continues through September of this year. The track is named after Roger Curtis, the owner of the track’s primary sponsor, Ims Incorporated. Curtis grew up in the area, and fondly remembers competing in local drag races there in the 1960s & ’70s.
The track itself is a purpose-built, high-tech oval that hosts a variety of events including, but not limited to, NASCAR races, NHRA competition, and the Canadian Touring Car Championship. Construction took place in 2015 and was completed in May of that year. The new half-mile track was designed to meet the standards set by NASCAR, and features an innovative three-phase start system. In short, the new track was built to host and accommodate NASCAR and other national series, such as the IndyCar Series and the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship. This is quite an accomplishment, as previously, the closest racing venue to Bowmanville was 250 miles away in Fort McMurray, Alberta (the home of the 2016 Republican National Convention).
With all the changes the new track underwent, it is no wonder that the old saying “no man is an island” never rings more true. Many familiar with the area remarked that the new track brings the community together in a way that they have never seen before. Local businesses saw a dramatic uptick in business following the opening of the track, as there was suddenly a demand for everything from groceries to concrete. The positive effect that the new track had on the region’s economy is undeniable.
What Is A Three-Phase Start?
The multi-phase start at Ims Motor Speedway is one of the innovative new features introduced by the organizers of the track, and it aims to make the starting process as streamlined as possible. Under normal circumstances, teams will pull into the pits for a mandatory stop after starting six or seven cars. This is to ensure that the crew chief has time to put the finishing touches on the cars, and that all the competitors are serviced before they begin racing. The crews at Ims Motor Speedway save a considerable amount of time by utilizing a three-phase start; the first two phases are identical to a traditional start, while the third one is unique to Ims Motor Speedway.
As a result of the new system, the cars that start in the first two phases will be the ones that start the third phase. The cars that make up the top five in phase three will then progress to a green flag. This phase will last for five or ten minutes, and the first to lead a lap in this period will win. The entire process is repeated until there is only one car left at the end. The last car is then declared the winner of the race.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that the three-phase start is the result of considerable research and testing done by track organizers. This new system was introduced last year, and has already brought a substantial amount of efficiency and momentum to the sport. It is hoped that more tracks will adopt this system in order to reduce the number of accidents and incidences of premature starts that happen from time to time.
What Is The Overall Layout Of The Racetrack?
The course itself is quite innovative and includes a number of unique elements. The wide, grassy oval is undulating and includes a variety of elevation changes. This is designed to increase the feeling of speed and excitement for drivers and spectators alike. The wide nature of the racetrack also means that there is ample room for overtaking. While most ovals have high- and low- spots that make passing easy, the wide open spaces at Ims Motor Speedway promote passing skills that drivers can utilize.
The turns are another unique element of the new track. There are five turns and each one is banked at a five degree angle. This is done to promote better air flow and minimize brake heat build-up. The turns are arranged in a way that creates a sense of anticipation for drivers as they approach the apex. The sight of those long, sweeping corners is enough to make even the most seasoned race car driver anxious for the start of the next lap.
How Many Poles Will There Be At The Track?
Unlike many other NASCAR tracks, the new track at Ims Motor Speedway does not include any traditional poles. Instead, the track uses a chicane-style barrier at the beginning of each leg of the racetrack. The use of these barriers promotes better racing and minimizes the advantage that is generally given to the car that is on the inside of a turn. The barriers also make the track look more like an IndyCar or IMSA racetrack than a typical NASCAR venue.
The chicane barriers are a major feature of the new track, and their inclusion is a direct result of the feedback that the organizers of the track received following the inaugural season. Many fans complained that the traditional poles at other tracks made for too many long, boring stops on the track’s surface. The pole-no-pins were also a pain for the crews that were responsible for changing them, as the constant stopping and starting put a strain on the engines. The chicane barriers are an excellent solution to this problem as they minimize the damage that the trucks and trailers do while making numerous stops at the track. The overall effect seems to be one that promotes better racing, and allows for more exciting finishes.
How Is The Overall Feel Of The Track?
The overall feel and ambiance of Ims Motor Speedway is quite unique. The organizers of the track did a terrific job of using the natural beauty of the area to their advantage and created an atmosphere that is both modern and innovative. The sight of the modern skyscrapers that are nestled among the trees as the sun sets over the plains is quite a sight, and a perfect way to end the day.
With all the changes that the new track underwent, it is no wonder that it was met with a tony of skepticism when it first opened its doors. Some were concerned that the innovation of the track would distract from the fun of watching a car racing. That these concerns were unfounded can be witnessed by the fact that the new track has become a popular destination for drivers, fans, and media members alike. This is further proof of the unique position that the NASCAR Pinty’s Tourists have in the Canadian motorsport community, and why others should be willing to take them seriously when it comes to the future of the sport in this country.