The Nationwide Series has generated large crowds in Montreal since the 2007 season. (AP Photo)
This weekend's annual Nationwide race in Montreal might be just a taste of what's to come north of the border for NASCAR.
Since 2007, the Nationwide Series has visited the famed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve road circuit. Every year, rain or shine the event draws one of the largest and most enthusiastic crowds of the entire season.
The success of the race has sparked speculation more of NASCAR's top divisions may compete in Canada in the not too distant future including the Sprint Cup Series.
Canadian road racing ace Ron Fellows, who will compete for JR Motorsports this weekend in Montreal, is now co-owner of what was once known as Mosport International Raceway, a storied motorsports facility in Ontario that includes a 2.5-mile road circuit as well as a one mile oval track.
Fellows has made it clear he would like nothing more than to bring a NASCAR Nationwide and/or Camping World Truck Series race to what's now known as Canadian Tire Motorsports Park sooner rather than later.
"We've talked to NASCAR and yes while we weren't able to put it together for 2012, we're pursuing something for our 2013 schedule," said Fellows.
With the truck schedule down to 22 races this season, NASCAR is trying to add three dates to bring next year's slate back to the 25 events that have traditionally made up the division's calendar. The sanctioning body is reportedly close to adding Road America, which has hosted a successful Nationwide weekend for the last three years, and a second road course event perhaps at Mosport would make sense.
But the big fish Sprint Cup Series is also on the Canadian radar. NASCAR CEO Brian France was in Montreal in recent months to meet with Circuit Gilles Villeneuve officials and speculation is the sanctioning body would consider adding a third road course to the Cup schedule and take the series international.
There is no doubt an Sprint Cup race in Montreal would be a hit at the box office as well as in the publicity and exposure department.
But the question is where would the date come from? NASCAR will not add another weekend to the racing schedule that many believe is already too long. In order for Montreal (or Iowa Speedway for that matter, which continues to prove it is certainly a viable venue for NASCAR's top series) to host a Sprint Cup event, another track will have to lose one.
Therein lies the roadblock for NASCAR to bring its premier circuit to Canada.