After his 12th place finish at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres, Ray Jr. headed directly for southern Virginia where he tested a NCWTS truck at the "Virginia International Raceway" road course. Teammate and experienced racer Alex Tagliani accompanied Ray Jr. and helped him acclimatise himself to the quicker and very different race truck.
Back in Montreal after two intense days of driving, Ray analysed the experience for us. "The first thing that hits you is the extra torque and acceleration from the 750hp engine, a 250hp jump from the Canadian Tire Series car. You get comfortable with the power after seven or eight laps, and then discover the extra braking, corner speed and efficiency of all on-board systems. The acceleration and extra speed force you to pay very close attention to every bump and slight change of direction and to manage wheelspin and the extra braking power." Over the two days, fine tuning of the car by the team and expert coaching from Tagliani helped Ray Jr. close in on competitive times.
As he gained experience with the truck, Ray started to take advantage of the extra performance relative to his NCaTS car. "You get much more out of the truck - power, braking, stability over bumps, overall quality and finish, and a certain willingness from the truck to go quickly as you gain speed and familiarity with it. I know that my driving has improved and I will be quicker and more at ease in my NCaTS car."
Driving all out for 450 km in two races the same day will require a bullet-proof physical and mental preparation. Courtemanche knows how challenging this will be. "I train for strength and endurance every day, and will have a trainer with me at the track to help with my physical form and my nutrition. This will certainly be an extreme experience and I want to get the most out of it. I will not leave anything on the table… or on the track in this case."
Practice and qualifying for both races will take place on Saturday, August 30. The start of the 200 km NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race is scheduled for 10am, and will be reported live on http://hometracks.nascar.com/series/canadian-tire-series.
Ray Junior Courtemanche PR