Collins has the drive

Pla­cen­tia na­tive will race in NASCAR’s top cir­cuit in Canada

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY ROBIN SHORT TC ME­DIA rshort@thetele­

Josh Collins had a taste of the pro stock car rac­ing cir­cuit last sea­son, and now the Pla­cen­tia driver is poised for the full course meal.

Collins cut his rac­ing teeth on tracks around New­found­land - most re­cently the East­bound In­ter­na­tional Speed­way in Avon­dale, re­cently granted of­fi­cial NASCAR af­fil­i­a­tion sta­tus - for 11 years, and is pre­par­ing to join the NASCAR Pinty’s Se­ries (for­merly Cana­dian Tire Se­ries) this sum­mer.

The se­ries is Canada’s top auto rac­ing com­pe­ti­tion.

Collins will race May 22 at the Cana­dian Tire Mo­tor­sports Park in Bow­manville, Ont., in the Cas­trol Vic­to­ria Day Speed­fest Week­end.

It’s the first what he hopes will be a full sched­ule of 12 races this sea­son from Edmonton to Antigo­nish, N.S.

“I’m ready for this next step,” said the 30-year-old Collins. “I’ve been at this a long time — since I was 19 — jump­ing around dif­fer- ent tracks.”

Collins ran two races in the Cana­dian se­ries last year, record­ing 10th and 11th-place fin­ishes at River­side In­ter­na­tional Speed­way in Antigo­nish and Kawartha Speed­way in Fraserville, Ont. Eigh­teen and 24 cars started the two races.

Collins will be the pri­mary driver on Joey McColm’s CBRT out­fit — Canada’s Best Rac­ing Team — from south­ern On­tario.

McColm, who like Collins is 30, raced for 15 years — 10 as a pro — but is step­ping aside from driv­ing to be­come a full-time crew chief and gen­eral man­ager.

“Josh came right out of the box with two pretty good show­ings in his first two races amongst Canada’s best,” McColm said. “I think he has what it takes. “I like his drive and his de­ter­mi­na­tion, and I think I’m the right guy to help him.”

Collins likes the idea of driv­ing for McColm’s team, which has “six or seven” cars and will have three other drivers — Kevin Poitras of Toronto, Robin Buck of Camp­bel­lville, Ont. and Mel Shaw from the Philadelphia sub­urb of Voorhees, N.J. — rac­ing part-time. “I just show up and drive.” Collins said. The NASCAR Pinty’s Cana­dian cir­cuit is a few steps be­low the Sprint Cup tracks on which the big boys — the Jim­mie John­sons and Brad Ke­selowskis — of the rac­ing world drive.

Rather, it’s a few rungs down, just be­low the Xfin­ity Se­ries and Truck Se­ries.

“But we’re close,” McColm says, “like the CFL to the NFL.”

I’m ready for this next step. I’ve been at this a long time — since I was 19 — jump­ing around dif­fer­ent tracks. Josh Collins

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