Tomas on Racing: Highlights of 2012

December 10, 2012, 4:47 AM

The 2012 racing season, from a Raceline Radio standpoint, was a celebration of 20 years on the air.

To mark the anniversary, we replayed some of our best interviews from the past twin decades going back to show-one, May 7, 1992 on then CJCL 1430, which became The FAN 590 shortly after.

Raceline and Sportsnet 590 The FAN are the same age.

Ken Squier, the man who revolutionized the way the sport is televised was our very first guest and listening to the replay, it was a good omen when he told us Raceline, Canada’s first nationally syndicated motorsport radio show, was “right on the nickel!”

Having survived this long, thanks to great sponsors and loyal listeners across Canada, Ken was right.

What about some other top headlines and 2012 highlights?

The fascinating, patience-testing Canadian Motor Speedway saga ranks No. 1, as Raceline enjoyed Canadian radio exclusive access to the principles of the development in Fort Erie that will give Canada our first one-mile high banked oval.

Six years and over $12 Million spent dragging this complex through seemingly endless Province of Ontario red tape, and we close out the year with the speed plant still just short of a go!

One environmental group is being allowed to slow down progress which I think is a disgrace.

CMS chief developer Azhar Mohammad’s outlook is still very positive despite the appeal by “Preservation Agricultural Land Society” of the Ontario Municipal Board decision to approve the development.

PALS is asking for a review of the decision. The OMB is expected to rule in January.

All other technical issues raised by PALS in the appeal are expected to be dismissed.

I will never un-cross my fingers! I am still very optimistic Canadian Motor Speedway will fly!

It’s just too bad it’s taken so long, but it will definitely be worth the wait!

One sanction that could entertain on the CMS oval is the IZOD IndyCar Series.

Plenty of news here in 2012, as the race in Edmonton is gone, with a double-header weekend scheduled for Toronto next summer.

The never-ending power struggle at the top continued with Randy Bernard fired amid rumour Tony George, the architect of the dreaded IndyCar split, was trying to regain control.

Luckily George is not in line to run the series again, but Roger Penske is right. You can’t keep changing the front office every couple of years and expect stability.

Good thing the racing in 2012 was some of the best we’ve seen in years!

Ryan Hunter-Reay’s come back to win the title was superb, and Canada’s James Hinchcliffe continues to show all-star potential.

Detroit native Brad Keselowski’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship heralds a return to a thinking man’s game.

BK’s ability to think in the car was underlined by crew chief Paul Wolfe and team owner Roger Penske, who’s worked with some of the best thinkers in the sport.

Who does Keselowski remind me of? Mark Martin maybe, but Terry Labonte might be a more accurate comparison.

He wins by being not overly flashy, but he’s damn smart and excellent with the fans and media.

I also like the way NASCAR’s culture is changing, open to different ideas, even old ideas to get the spark back.

The Nationwide race in Montreal may be toast, but the Trucks at the rejuvenated Canadian Tire Motorsports Park/Mosport and on the dirt at Eldora Speedway more than make up for it!

The 2012 Formula One season was highly entertaining!

Sebastien Vettel wasn’t even on the radar for three titles in a row until they improved the Red Bull’s aero and he socked away four wins in a row in September and October to become the youngest to win three consecutive championships at the tender age of only 25.

The racing was a lot better. Texas was absolutely splendid for a brand new race, the new home of the U.S Grand Prix!

I also liked the history Antron Brown laid down in NHRA drag racing with his Top Fuel championship.

Antron is the first African North American driver to win a major auto racing championship!

But without a doubt the best motorsport performance takes us to the sometimes overlooked sport of road rallying!

While we were amazed when Michael Schumacher cracked off his seven Formula One titles, his performance is second-rate to that of Frenchman Sebastian Loeb!

Not only did this super-human rally driver score his 9th career World Rally championship, Sebastian in 2012 nailed his 9th consecutive championship!

Nine in a row!

That’s 2004 to 2012 inclusive the guy has been at the very top of one of the toughest series there is in our sport!

It’s a magical performance I doubt we will ever see equalled, at least not in my life time!

There’s just a few thoughts on the 2012 campaign!

And the good thing is we should be just as busy in 2013!

Happy New Year!

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