Photo courtesy Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame

Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame welcomes Class of 2016 inductees

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Hockey may be Canada’s favorite sport, but drag racing isn’t far behind in terms of popularity and interest.

Saturday night in Montreal, 23 drag racing luminaries from north of the border were inducted into the Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame in its second annual gala.

“It’s a privilege to witness the Class of 2015 welcome this year’s inductees,” says John Scotti, Founder of the Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame. “Seeing the positive reactions from members of the drag racing community at each annual induction, is truly a rewarding experience to be a part of.”

Inductees were enshrined for having been actively engaged in the top level of their respective drag racing categories for at least 25 years.

Categories for which they were inducted included racers, crew chiefs, engine and chassis builders, mechanics, track officials, track photographers, announcers, promoters and sponsors “who have made a lasting impact and significant difference in the development of the sport of drag racing in Canada and elsewhere,” according to a media release.

Among those inducted were former NHRA team public relations representative and International Hot Rod Association Media Relations Director Rob Evans, as well as Jeff Arend, who won several races in his career, including the 1996 NHRA event at Maple Grove Raceway.

Others inducted included former world champion Gianni Cantusci, who follows his father Frank Cantusci, who was inducted in last year’s inaugural Hall of Fame class.

“With each new induction, the Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame Museum is expanding with new artefacts and memorabilia thanks to each inductee and the drag racing community,” said Hall director Bob Aubertin. “Not only are we recognizing some of our nation’s drag racing greats, it also shows today’s generation just how far the sport has really grown.”

The Hall is located in Montreal.

Here’s a list of Saturday’s inductees:

Ken Achs, Saskatoon, SK; Jeff Arend, Thornhill, ON; Bob Beazer, Odessa, ON; Vic Beleny, Welland, ON; Gianni Cantusci, Ottawa, ON; Guy Desjardins, Montreal, QC; Bob Elliott, London, ON; Rob Evans, London, ON; Geoff Goodwin, Prince Albert, SK; Charlie Haviland, London, ON;

Also, Vince Hazel, Windsor, ON; Ron Hodgson, St. Albert, AB; Richard Jones, Ottawa, ON; Bill Kydd, London, ON; Wayne Lang, London, ON; Abe Loewen, Regina, SK; Brian Mulligan, Cornwall, ON; Norm Noddle, Wasaga Beach, ON; Harold Parfett, Edmonton, AB; Venice Perno, Stoney Creek, ON; Rob Potter, Dundas, ON; Bert Straus, Kitchener, ON; John Waldie, Embro, ON.

2016-canadian-drag-racing-hall-of-fame-class
Here’s the 2016 Class of the Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame: 1st Row – From left to right: Richard Jones, Brian Mulligan, Ken Achs, Guy Desjardins, Vince Hazel, Rob Evans, John Scotti – Founder of the Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame – Gianni Cantusci, Jeff Arend, Rob Potter, Vic Beleny, Wayne Lang. 2nd Row – From left to right: Harolf Parfett, Ron Hodgson, Geoff Goodwin, John Waldie, Norm Noddle, Bill Kydd, Bob Elliott, Venice Perno, Charlie Haviland, Bert Straus, Abe Loewen and Bob Beazer.

 

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Fernando Alonso will decide this summer whether to pursue F1 again

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Fernando Alonso said he will determine by this summer if he would consider a return to Formula One next season.

After announcing Tuesday that he will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May with Arrow McLaren Racing SP, Alonso said “right now the Indy 500 will take all of my concentration” but left the door open for F1 in 2021.

“In my case, probably during the summer period, I’ll make a decision on 2021 if Formula One is still appealing to me,” Alonso told IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview (watch the video above). “The 2021 rules (in F1) are definitely a step forward, and hopefully things can be more mixed and not only three teams capable of winning races. So all this factors into play. I may consider that possibility.”

Alonso won consecutive Formula One championships in 2005-06 with Renault. He has 32 victories in an F1 career that started in 2001 and also includes stints at Ferrari and McLaren.

His last victory on the circuit was May 12, 2013 in Barcelona. He is winless in his most recent 110 starts, including the past 77 races with McLaren in 2015-18.

The Guardian recently reported that McLaren CEO Zak Brown said Alonso wouldn’t be returning to F1 with the team.

Alonso also told Diffey that returning to F1 from a two-season absence wouldn’t necessarily be linked to McLaren’s performance.

“I think they did well last year, and hopefully they make another step forward and close to the top three because they deserve it and are a fantastic team,” he said.

Though he is optimistic about more parity, Alonso said six-time champion Lewis Hamilton should be a favorite for the 2020 title based on preseason testing in which Mercedes turned heads with a new steering system.

“It seemed Mercedes is still quite competitive,” Alonso said. “They show enormous potential on the development side and on the progress from one year to next. Formula One is impossible to predict because many things happen in season.

“At the starting point, (Mercedes) are the favorites. When you have Lewis in the car and Mercedes with the potential they have, they have to be No. 1 probably.”