Nationwide race gets stand-alone date

MONTREAL -- Organizers for the NASCAR Nationwide series race signed a three-year deal Monday to keep the event at Gilles Villeneuve Circuit.

This year's NAPA Auto Parts 200 will be held Aug. 29-30 -- a Saturday and Sunday.

In its first two years, the Montreal event was held on Friday and Saturday, on the same weekend as the NASCAR Sprint Cup series was competing in another city.

Some of the best drivers who race in both series when they can did not compete in Montreal because of travel difficulties between the two events, although others dashed between the two venues on private jets.

"We should get more top drivers to do the event and overall, it should be a bigger event," said Stock Car Montreal boss Francois Dumontier. "NASCAR responded to our request for a stand-alone weekend."

The fate of the Nationwide series event was up in the air after the city lost its popular Formula One race in October and promoter Normand Legault announced he was pulling out of the business.

But Daytona, Fla.- based International Speedway Corporation, which previously owned 50 percent of the event, bought out Legault's half so the stock car race could continue, said Dumontier. It's one of the best-attended races on the Nationwide schedule.

Dumontier said the previous lease for the track was with Legault and it became invalid when he pulled out, so a new agreement had to be negotiated.