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July 20, 2009 News
2009 ASN Canada National Karting Championship
The following is the first of a six part series of articles leading up to the Canadian National Championships written exclusively for EKN.ca readers.

Already known as one of Canada’s oldest and most storied tracks, Goodwood Kartways has been working for several months to prepare the facility to host the 2009 Canadian National Karting Championship on August 6th through 9th. Located just north-east of downtown Toronto, a trip of only 30 minutes from the heart of Canada’s financial district, you enter the peaceful and picturesque countryside of Stouffville-Whitchurch. The community is built on rolling hills and is holding back suburban growth with all their might. Just a few clicks east from the Highway 404 off a small concession road lies Goodwood Kartways.

Goodwood has been a fixture in the rolling landscape for over 40 years and is home to many whom we have come to know as great Canadian auto racers. And we don’t mean just a casual visit for a one off race, but their home club. Goodwood was the place they spent lazy hot summer days burning through 40 liters of fuel while pounding out hundreds of laps. This distinguished group includes Scott Goodyear (CHAMP Car, Indy 500), Paul Tracy (CHAMP Car, IRL, Indy 500) and Ron Fellows (ALMS, LeMans, NASCAR).
 

A view of the new barriers in place at Goodwood (Photo: Goodwood Kartways)
A view of the new barriers in place at Goodwood
(Photo: Goodwood Kartways)

“If you can learn to be fast at Goodwood, you can be fast anywhere,” comments Ron Fellows, Corvette Ambassador and NASCAR driver. “The track has been around for a long time and I enjoyed racing there every time.”

Goodwood Kartways is owned by the Di Leo family, who purchased the facility back in 1994. The track has been operated by several different groups over those years but never left the skillful hands of family patriarch Frank Di Leo. Today the facility is a family affair, the way karting should be. It is run by brothers Daniel and Marco along with sister Stefanie and of course Frank is never too far from view. Both Daniel and Marco are accomplished kart racers in their own right who have moved forward up the motorsports ladder. They continue to compete in various series including the ultra competitive Grand AM Koni Challenge were Daniel competed in the 2009 edition of the Daytona Rolex 24 Hour. Currently Marco leads the point’s chase in the World Karting Association Manufacturer's Cup Senior TaG class.

“We are very proud of what Goodwood has meant to karting over the past 30 years,” comments Goodwood track owner Frank Di Leo. “This place has seen a lot over the years and having the Nationals here is very special to us.”

The goal from the start has been to expand and improve, but not lose the character and charm of the track. It’s rare to visit a track in Ontario or Quebec and not have it compared to Goodwood Kartways. The track has speed and yet is very technical in nature, like many great tracks, an exercise in compromise to balance the twisty infield with the ultra fast front stretch. Changes in elevation add a nice mix and many grey hairs to tuners. Back then tracks were built to a different standard than today. Like many things around us everything has just gotten bigger and bigger. Back in the day it was a kart in the back of your pickup truck and maybe a 10-foot trailer. Today it’s 40-foot toy haulers and 53’ race trailers with bungalow size square footage under canvass. To meet today’s standard the owners of Goodwood Kartways have under gone an intensive development effort to meet the needs the kart community and play host to Canada’s best kart racers.
 

A view of the new elevated podium (Photo: Goodwood Kartways)
A view of the new elevated podium
(Photo: Goodwood Kartways)

“We needed to go through a major expansion to keep up with today’s karting community and this was a great time to do it,” states Daniel Di Leo. “We worked closely with Paul Cooke of ASN Canada to make sure we made the right changes that would keep us current in the future. We have made a significant financial investment to ensure our guests have the best experience of their lives.”

Three main areas of work were done to expand the facility, increase safety and speed up race operations. First, in the paddock area, the grounds to the northwest corner have been graded and fill brought in to expand the actual trailer parking area. Second, an area along the northeast edge of the property has been graded and covered with asphalt tailings to accommodate RV parking and tow vehicle parking. A lot adjacent to the track has been secured for public parking and overflow vehicle parking. In all, the useable paddock area has been increased by over 50%.

The second area is the Parc Ferme pit area. A new timing and scoring hut has been built with a perfect view of the track. The two story 1,200 square foot building will house timing and scoring on the second level and is home to a unique F1 style podium on the backside. Drivers walk out on a second story balcony area 12 feet above the crowd. This truly unique structure makes winning that much sweeter. Also in the pit area the grid section has been widened, expanded and repaved to allow for larger grids and smoother access to the track for drivers.

Third the track has been worked to ensure great safe racing. A complete new barrier system was put in to replace the old stacked tire system. New curbing was placed in several corners and the runoff for corner one has been enlarged. The track surface has undergone some minor reconditioning. Several bumps have developed over the decades as drainage pipes three feet below grade began to heave. These sections were cut out and resurfaced. Furfari Paving of Markham, Ontario, did the work, a family well known in karting circles. Furfari Paving did extensive research to find the right mix for the track. The track ended up using a special one off mix similar to what was used to pave Lime Rock in Connecticut two years ago. Also special bonding agents were used to carefully match the old pavement with the new. The result is a billiard table smooth finish and perfect seams.
 

Crews work on repairing the
Crews work on repairing the "rough patches" at Goodwood Kartways
(Photo: Goodwood Kartways)

“Asphalt can take a vertical load of tens of thousands of pounds an hour after laying, yet these 300 pound karts can rip it apart in no time if you’re not careful,” comments Furfari Paving. “It’s really a testament to the horizontal G forces these karts under go. We wanted to make sure we got the mix right and the mill did a great job giving us the special mix we needed.”

In only four weeks time the roar of engines and the heart beat of competition will make these changes another distant memory for Goodwood Kartways, but for now we can marvel at where karting has come from and what it took to get here.
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