A Canadian businessman is expected to place a NASCAR team in Nashville in coming weeks, after running some “joint effort” races with Baker Curb Racing earlier in the season.
Sources say Go Canada Racing, owned by Toronto millionaire Steve Meehan, will make its debut in the April 23 Nationwide Series race at Nashville Superspeedway. The car will carry No. 67, with Canadian driver J.R Fitzpatrick behind the wheel.
The plan is to eventually compete in the top-tier Sprint Cup Series.
The team’s exact location and other details will be announced at a press conference prior to the Superspeedway race.
Parts of the story broke Friday on a national racing website that inaccurately reported that Meehan has purchased Baker Curb Racing, which moved to Nashville from Kentucky four years ago.
“I can’t tell you anything about the other deal [the Canadian team],” Baker said, “but I can tell you that Baker Curb Racing has not been sold.”
Baker confirmed that some of his team’s equipment has been sold to Meehan.
“We sold a transporter, two race cars and some pit road equipment,” he said, “but selling off some assets is not the same as selling the team.”
Fitzpatrick has driven Baker Curb Racing’s No. 27 in some races this year, with Meehan “paying most of the costs.”
“It’s been a joint effort,” Baker said of his team’s association with Meehan. “But Mike Curb and I still own the team. If somebody forms another team here, it will be entirely separate from ours.”
Baker is trying to secure a corporate sponsorship to cover the approximate $1.5 million needed to race in NASCAR’s second-tier series. He said Baker Curb Racing won’t race again this season unless a sponsor is found.
A story titled “Canadian buys Baker Curb Racing” was posted on the national racing website Jayski Friday. Excerpted from the Canadian newspaper, Globe and Mail, it said:
“Toronto businessman Steve Meehan bought the Baker Curb Racing team in a deal closed following the March 19 race at Bristol.”
Fitzpatrick is quoted as calling the deal “fantastic,” and adds: “Steve is a really good guy … he is definitely going to push my career along and I am glad to be part of it.”
Meehan’s short-term goal, according to the story, is to run a partial Nationwide Series schedule this season, with a long-term goal to be in Sprint Cup by 2013.
Meehan, 46, is founder of the Investment Planning Counsel which was acquired by IGM Financial in 2004 for $95 million in a cash and stock deal.
Why would a Canadian businessman place a race team in Nashville instead of in the Charlotte, N.C. area where the majority of NASCAR teams are located? A source said some key personnel who will be involved with the team live in the Nashville area and Meehan is willing to locate the team here as a concession to them.