CLARINGTON -- Racers made their way around the Speedway at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park during the Saturday evening races. The Speedway is set to close on July 27. June 29, 2013

CLARINGTON -- Racers made their way around the Speedway at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park during the Saturday evening races. The Speedway is set to close on July 27. June 29, 2013

BOWMANVILLE -- The end of an era is drawing near. In just over a week, on Saturday, July 27, the checkered flag will come down on the half-mile oval speedway at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The oval is closing to accommodate the expansion of a driver development track. The speedway was opened in 1989 to complement the famed road course at Mosport, which the Bowmanville facility was named from its birth in 1961 until just last year. In its 24-year history, the speedway has been home to virtually every form of oval track racing, including most recently the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, which held its final Clarington 200 event last month. It’s the regular Saturday night stock car racing that will likely be missed most, however, especially among the homegrown talent nurtured here since it began in 1990. “It’s going to be sad, I think it’ll be sad for everybody,” says Dwight Brown, of Beeton, Ont., who has a course-record nine career titles to his credit. “The fact that I’ve spent all of my racing career there, it’s going to be weird to know on Aug. 3 that I’m not loading up and going out that way.” The oval originally opened as a clay track and was dubbed Ascot North, a tribute to the famous California circuit, but the first races created deep ruts and exposed rocks that became dangerous when hurled backwards by the spinning tires of the open-wheeled sprint cars. Within weeks, the circuit was covered with asphalt and hosting the Canadian sprint car nationals, a race that included the legendary Rich Vogler and a young Jeff Gordon, now a famous NASCAR driver. Glenn Butt, who has worked on and off at Mosport since 1994 and is now the track manager, says the oval has its own unique character that will be missed. “Being a half-mile, it had long straights and the corners were kind of unique at each end so it wasn’t like a perfect oval,” he explains. “It was a little bit different at each end of the race track to set your car up for. It made it a little bit challenging or tricky for the guys to get their cars working real good.” The final night, July 27, will feature the usual pure stock, thunder car and late-model races and Mr. Brown trying to add to his impressive resume by defending his open wheel modified title from a year ago. He recognizes that, even if he does, it will be bittersweet. “You see the same faces year after year after year and they get to know your name and sometimes you get to know theirs,” says Mr. Brown, describing an intimacy between the racers and fans. “That’ll be the part I’ll miss most. The patch of asphalt will be gone sometime soon I suspect. The memories you’ll take away will be the people.”;