Jimmie Johnson calls for NASCAR Sprint Cup round in Canada

Jimmie Johnson would like to see more road courses added to the Sprint Cup schedule and believes a race in Canada is something NASCAR should explore

Jimmie Johnson calls for NASCAR Sprint Cup round in Canada

The reigning Cup champion, only once a winner on a road course in NASCAR, would favour the addition of a race in Canada to the top-level series' schedule in the future, as he sees major interest from fans in the neighbour country who often make the trip south of the border to attend Cup events.

NASCAR currently races at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal with its second-tier series, although there are fears for the future of the event as government support for next year's race is said to be under review.

The NASCAR-sanctioned Canadian Tire Series has also raced at the track for nearly five years, and competes on ovals, road courses and street circuits during its calendar.

"I think that having more road course races would be great for our series," said Johnson. "I personally think that heading north into Canada would be the place to do it. There's a couple of facilities up there that we could put on an awesome show at and have a new fan base, sponsors potentially. A whole new thing for our series and it wouldn't be that far to head up there.

"I'm for it. I don't know if it will ever happen. There's obviously a lot of big contracts that exist between tracks and NASCAR and how that all plays out. I think it would be awesome to have it."

Only two tracks in Canada have staged Cup races in the series' history, both taking place in the 1950s on short dirt ovals. However, at all NASCAR events held in states placed on the border with Canada, both the Canadian and American national anthems are part of the pre-race procedures and both flags are waved at the venues during the race weekend.

"My perspective on heading north and into Canada to race is from a fan hunger standpoint," Johnson said. "We have a huge racing audience in Canada. The Canadian fans travel to Michigan, to Loudon even further south to come see our sport and their presence is felt. We sing their national anthem at certain racetracks for a reason. I think it is an untapped market of sorts in an area where we can see some growth.

"Get more eyeballs at the racetrack and more eyeballs on television and in an area we should really consider moving to. It is easy from my seat because I don't own a track and I don't have to worry about the schedule and where a date should go. But, I would think there is some weight in that angle and that thought process.

"If it happens, I have no clue, but that is really the driving force behind it due to a large fan base and some great circuits up there. I love road course racing and think we could put on a good show at a few of the road courses up there."

Last week Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports team-mate Jeff Gordon said he would like to see a road course added to the Chase portion of the Cup calendar in order to have all types of tracks in the final 10-race stretch of the season, making it more varied and complete.

Johnson backed this proposal as he believes he is more in control of his own destiny at road courses than when racing on ovals.

"I enjoy road course racing," said Johnson. "I love the discipline about it and I think it would make things very exciting in the Chase. When you look at wildcard races and the lack of control you have at Talladega... I've seen some dispute [that] it is not what we do all the time and that maybe it's not fair. It's out of the driver's hands.

"I feel more in control at a road course race than I ever would and will at a restrictor plate race. That's kind of my rebuttal to that discussion and from my own personal preference; I would like to see one. But, again, there are a lot of other factors that go into it and I'm not sure it will happen."

The Nationwide Series competes in Montreal for a fifth time this weekend, with Sprint Cup regulars Carl Edwards, Marcos Ambrose, Trevor Bayne and Robby Gordon commuting between Michigan and Canada to compete in both events.

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