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May 16, 2008 | General

For the first time in Edmonton, a CASCAR-sanctioned car race will take place on September 21-12, at the Edmonton City Centre Airport.

The event will be named the Tommy Fox Classic, in honour of a prominent Edmontonian who made his name as a bush pilot and later in life became active in car racing in this city. Fox passed away last September at the age of 85.

The way was cleared for the races on Tuesday, when Edmonton City Council gave third and final reading to a zoning amendment which will permit car racing to be held at the airport.

“Edmonton has not been on the CASCAR circuit,” said Garry King, Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Development for Edmonton Airports, the race sponsor and proprietor of the City Centre Airport. “This is an opportunity to join the circuit with other Canadian cities, to draw visitors to our city, to generate cash flow for the airport along with local businesses and community leagues, and to get some national TV coverage for a major event in our city.”

The race is expected to draw as many as 20,000 fans, about 40% of whom may come from out of town. The Sports Network (TSN) is committed to carrying the race nation-wide, with several rebroadcasts scheduled. Local community leagues and businesses will be invited to be actively involved in order to share the benefits of the race, King promised. There will be only minimal disruption to the operation of the airport, as spectators and parking will be confined to the north end. One runway will be closed, with provision for reopening within minutes in event of urgent need.

Edmonton Airports has named Tom Hinderks as the Executive Director of the race. Hinderks is a resident of the Athlone community, and is general manager of an auto parts business in the Prince Charles area. He is a long time car racer, active in the Northern Alberta Sports Car Club, and is a pilot, aircraft owner and member of the St. Albert Flying Club.