Ron Fellows

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This article is about the racing driver. For the NFL player, see Ron Fellows (American football).
Ron Fellows
Ronfellows.JPG
Fellows in 2007
Born (1959-09-28) September 28, 1959 (age 56)
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Achievements 2001 24 Hours of Daytona co-winner
2003 American Le Mans Series GTS class champion
2001, 2002, 2004 24 Hours of Le Mans GTS class winner
2002, 2004 12 Hours of Sebring GTS class winner
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
25 races run over 16 years
2013 position 44th
Best finish 43th (2007)
First race 1995 The Bud At The Glen (Watkins Glen)
Last race 2013 Cheez-It 355 at The Glen (Watkins Glen)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 5 0
NASCAR Xfinity Series career
25 races run over 14 years
2013 position 123rd
Best finish 39th (2011)
First race 1997 Lysol 200 (Watkins Glen)
Last race 2013 Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 (Mid-Ohio)
First win 1998 Lysol 200 (Watkins Glen)
Last win 2008 NAPA Auto Parts 200 (Montreal)
Wins Top tens Poles
4 15 2
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career
15 races run over 4 years
Best finish 35th (1999)
First race 1997 Pronto Auto Parts 400K (Texas)
Last race 2000 Bully Hill Vineyards 150 (Watkins Glen)
First win 1997 Parts America 150 (Watkins Glen)
Last win 1999 Bully Hill Vineyards 150 (Watkins Glen)
Wins Top tens Poles
2 5 3
Statistics current as of November 17, 2013.

Ron Fellows (born September 28, 1959 in Windsor, Ontario) is an accomplished Canadian SCCA Trans-Am, IMSA, and American Le Mans Series driver.

Personal life[edit]

Fellows was born in Windsor Ontario Canada on September 28, 1959. At age 4 he became interested in auto racing with his family. He found a love for French-Canadian Formula 1 driver Gilles Villeneuve. Fellows has one of the biggest collections of Gilles Villeneuve merchandise in Canada and called Villeneuve his idol. To attend F1 races at a young age, Fellows went to watch them at a local track on an island in Montreal Canada; a track that eventually would be named Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. When Villeneuve died in 1982 the track was named after Villeneuve himself. Fellows developed a dream to win at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve when he became a racing driver. He accomplished his goal in 2008, winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the track the NAPA Auto Parts 200.

Besides his racing career, Fellows owns a corporate business chain the Ron Fellows Performance Driving Schools and is one of the owners of car brand, Corvette as well as Corvette's racing operations. He also owns a charity called the Sunoco-Ron Fellows Karting Championship to help young kids become race-car drivers. In January 2013, Ron Fellows purchased the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park racetrack and NASCAR hosted a truck series race there-the first time since 2000 that the truck series came to a road course. Fellows' current goal for his track is to bring the Cup series to the track someday.

He has a wife Lynda Fellows, and 3 kids, Lyndsay, Sam and Patrick Fellows. Ron is a close friend of Dale Earnhardt Jr. who he currently drives for in the NASCAR Nationwide Series; as well as Gilles Villeneuve's son Jacques who was a student in a racing school with Ron.

Early career[edit]

He began his career in Karts, which led to Formula Ford 1600 and Formula Ford 2000. When funds for these projects ran low, he left racing for a 9-year stint as gas pipeline worker. Fellows returned to the track in the 1980s with help from driving school instructor Richard Spenard. He made his professional debut in 1986 in the Player's GM Challenge, driving a showroom stock Chevrolet Camaro.

Sports car racing[edit]

He had a dominant 1989 season, capturing both the title at Mosport Park and his first SCCA Trans-Am Series race during the same weekend. His career skyrocketed as he became one of the most successful drivers in the history of Trans Am, with 19 wins in 95 starts.

Fellows then had 2 starts in the legendary Ferrari 333SP, including a 1997 win at Mosport Park in the IMSA GT Championship.

1998–2001[edit]

In 1998, Fellows began his long association with GM's Corvette Racing program, with the historic Chevrolet Corvette C5.R. He was also briefly involved with the development of the Cadillac LMP program. At the 2000 Rolex 24 at Daytona, he made history by setting the closest margin of victory in the history of the event, 31 seconds behind the winning Dodge Viper GTS-R of Olivier Beretta, Dominique Dupuy and Karl Wendlinger. Fellows and Corvette Racing fared better the next year, winning overall with Chris Kneifel, Johnny O'Connell, and Franck Fréon. Later that year in June, Corvette Racing achieved its ultimate goal, a GTS class win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with Scott Pruett and Johnny O'Connell. Corvette Racing also captured the American Le Mans Series GTS title that same year.

2002–2004[edit]

In 2002, the Corvette C5.R once again dominated the American Le Mans Series season, with a GTS class win at the 12 Hours of Sebring, along with a repeat of their 24 Hours of Le Mans GTS class victory. For the 2003 season, Corvette Racing won the American Le Mans Series GTS title with a very close down to the wire fight with the Prodrive Ferrari 550 team. In 2004 Corvette Racing continued to dominate the American Le Mans Series GTS class, including another GTS class win at the 12 Hours of Sebring. Fellows also competed in one NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Watkins Glen, where he started 43rd and climbed his way up to 2nd place.

2005[edit]

In 2005, Corvette Racing debuted the revolutionary Chevrolet Corvette C6.R at the 12 Hours of Sebring, with high expectations. A tire blow out erased their chances of capturing the GT1 (was GTS) win, with the Prodrive Aston Martin DBR9 taking the class win. However, later that year, the tides would turn as Corvette Racing won their 3rd 24 Hours of Le Mans class title in 6 years, beating the Aston Martin DBR9's with superior reliability and strategy. Although Fellows was not driving the winning Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, he ran a respectable race in the No. 63 car.

2006[edit]

In 2006, Fellows returned for a full season with Corvette Racing. However, a dark cloud loomed over the 2006 season as a result of the controversy surrounding IMSA's performance balancing. Corvette Racing's opposition during 2006 was the Prodrive Aston Martin team, which ran two full-season cars on Pirelli tires. The Pirelli tires were their Achilles heel, as they were not as competitive as the Michelin tires on the Corvette. Prodrive expressed their disdain for their disadvantage, and IMSA, the ALMS sanctioning body, introduced a number of penalties for the Corvette Racing team, to 'balance' the performance. Despite this controversy, Fellows remained optimistic and still carried himself with the professionalism and class for which he is known. Despite the penalties, Corvette Racing prevailed, winning their fifth ALMS championship. Corvette Racing also went on to win their fourth 24 Hours of Le Mans in six years. However, Fellows did not have the best luck in 2006, with the title going to the sister car driven by Jan Magnussen, Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin.

2007[edit]

Fellows returned to Corvette Racing in a limited supporting role in the American Le Mans Series. He was the third driver for the three long-distance races, and competed at Mosport, his home race. He sat out the other races, providing technical input and experienced advice to the team from behind the wall.

NASCAR[edit]

Fellows has had various stints in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Nationwide Series, and Sprint Cup Series, as a "road course ringer". He has 2 wins and 3 poles in the Camping World Truck Series, winning twice at Watkins Glen. He has had even greater success in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, where he has 4 wins and two poles in 6 starts. He was also the first non-American to win a NASCAR Nationwide Series event. As of November 22, 2011, Fellows holds the record for most wins by a foreign-born driver in NASCAR's top three series (Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Trucks) with six - four in Nationwide and two in Trucks.[1]

Fellows made his NASCAR Cup series debut in 1995 driving the No. 68 Chevy. After he performed awfully during the race, Fellows stepped down from Cup racing to drive a part-time stint in the Craftsman truck series. Fellows did not return to the Cup series until 1998, driving the No. 96 Chevy. Starting second alongside Jeff Gordon, Fellows had a promising race, until he broke down from axle issues on lap 87. He finished 42nd. He also ran an oval race in the same car-at Loudon which happens to be his single race he's run that is not a road course. He finished 36th after starting dead last.

Fellows won his first Busch series event on June 28, 1998, leading the most laps during the 1998 Lysol 200. After polesitter Boris Said spun on lap 1, Fellows took the lead and led 54 of 82 laps. Fellows held off Michael McLaughlin to win the race. In 1999 Fellows nearly repeated the win but got passed by hotshot Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the final lap.

In August 1999, Fellows had his career-best finish at Watkins Glen driving the No. 87 Chevy for Joe Nemechek. In his only scheduled NASCAR Cup series race for 1999 for the Frontier at the Glen, Fellows led 3 laps, but was beaten by Jeff Gordon on the final restart. Ron Fellows returned to the No. 87 in 2001 driving both road courses. A promising run at Sears Point Raceway, in which he led the most laps, Fellows finished 38th after crashing with 14 laps to go. He led 3 laps at Watkins Glen during the Global Crossing at the Glen but finished 42nd after breaking his brakes on lap 30 of 90.

In 2000, Fellows was in talk with Dale Earnhardt about driving for Dale Earnhardt Inc. full-time after 2001. When it appeared that the full-time deal was sealed up, Earnhardt was killed during the 2001 Daytona 500 which left the deal invalid. In 2003 however, Fellows was remembered by Ty Norris, the DEI co-owner, and he was hired for the road races to drive the No. 1 car.

In 2003 at Infineon, during the Dodge/Save Mart 350, Fellows had his career's nearest-miss. Fellows started third, and took advantage of a battle between Richard Childress Racing teammates Robby Gordon and Kevin Harvick to take the lead. Fellows led a lot of laps, and controlled the race with less than 70 laps to go. However Fellows had his sure-win end for good after being called into pit road just after an untimely caution came out with 38 laps to go. Restarting 31st, Fellows finished 7th. Though Fellows has finished second twice at the Glen, Fellows stated in 2006 and 2013 that the 2003 Dodge Save-Mart 350 was how closest he had been to winning because he was dominant at Sonoma while the Watkins Glen finishes, is when he lacked the proper speed.

In 2004, Fellows had one of his greatest performances. Because qualifying was cancelled due to rain, the lineup for the Watkins Glen event was decided by owner-points. Fellows started 43rd and finished second behind winner Tony Stewart. Fellows did challenge Stewart on the final restart but all of his speed was worn out by his charge through the field.

In 2005 and 2006, Fellows drove the No. 32 car for Cal Wells and PPI Motorsports at Infineon and Watkins Glen. After starting 43rd at Sonoma he finished 8th. In 2006, Fellows had originally finished 10th during the AMD at the Glen, but was penalized 30 seconds hours after the race ended, for having illegally made passes through the "bus stop". The Tide team later closed up shop after the year was over, throwing Fellows out of his part-time ride.

In 2007, Fellows joined Hall of Fame Racing as driver for the road races. In a similar performance to the 2003 Infineon race, Fellows led a bit of the race after passing in a 3-wide move, and lost the lead after having to pit during a caution. Fellows finished 15th. After starting 26th at Watkins Glen, Fellows moved up to fourth. Fellows probably would have had a shot at the win had he not gotten a speeding on pit road penalty on lap 55 and had to restart 40th. But in a challenging rough drive through the field Fellows finished 4th.

During 2006 and 2007, Fellows drove the No. 33 Busch series car for Kevin Harvick Incorporated, driving the road course races in Mexico City, Montreal and Watkins Glen. In 2006, Fellows led 1 lap in Mexico City but finished 33rd after blowing a radiator with less than 10 laps to go. Fellows picked up a top ten at Watkins Glen, finishing 9th.

In 2007 Fellows renewed his deal for one more year to drive for Kevin Harvick Inc. in the No. 33 for the NBS road course events. In Mexico, Fellows didn't have a promising race, finishing 33rd after blowing an engine with less than 15 laps to go.

At the first NBS race at Montreal, he drove a good race, starting 3rd in the No. 33 Camping World.com car. After spinning out with less than 9 laps to go, Fellows mounted his best drive of the race during the final green-white-checkered finish attempt; he drove from 14th place to 4th place in two laps. His boss Kevin Harvick ended up winning the race because of Robby Gordon and rookie Marcos Ambrose's altercation. The next week, at Watkins Glen, he controlled the race early, leading 11 laps, but ended up 24th after tangling with fellow road ringer Scott Pruett on the final lap.

In 2008, Fellows only raced in 1 event, driving his first race for JR Motorsports. Fellows, in his only start of 2008, won a rain-shortened NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in the No. 5 car at Montreal. He won after Marcos Ambrose was black-flagged for slipping across the soaked pit road too fast just before the red flag flew. This race made history as the first points paying race to be run on Goodyear rain tires. NASCAR races are generally red flagged for rain. This victory marked Ron's fourth NASCAR Nationwide series win, all coming on road courses. This also tied him for first in the Nationwide Series for most road course wins. He is tied with Terry Labonte with 4. Fellows was very emotional about his win because his lifelong childhood dream was to win a professional car race at Montreal since his childhood hero Gilles Villeneuve raced at the track when he watched from the stadium. As a result of his big win Fellows was given the No. 5 JR Motorsports crew for a multi-year deal. He drove for JR Motorsports through 2009 and 2010 for the road course races. Fellows didn't have any promising races in 2009, but came back to the No. 88 team in 2010 to finish second at Road America.

2011 Nationwide car at Road America

Fellows returned to JR Motorsports in 2011 for the road course races, driving the #7 AER car. He was in contention to win the Bucyrus 200 at Road America. He took the lead from Justin Allgaier, who had run out of fuel previously, passing Reed Sorenson in the process. However, NASCAR ruled that Fellows had passed both drivers under the caution flag way too fast. Believing that Sorenson slowed due to also being out of fuel, Fellows drove past them at nearly race speed until he was leading the caution to the pace lap, though NASCAR rules stipulate that a driver must maintain reasonable speed while under the caution flag (Speeding is not reasonable caution speed anymore). As a result, Fellows was relegated to second place post-race, handing the win to Sorenson. To this day Fellows maintains that he should have won the race.

During 2010 and 2011, Fellows drove the No. 36 car for Tommy Baldwin Racing in the Cup series. After running most of the 2010 Heluva Good at the Glen in the top ten, Fellows suffered a blown engine and finished 40th. In 2011, Fellows only ran at Watkins Glen, driving the No. 36 Golden Corral car for Baldwin. Fellows wasn't much of a factor in the race. While running 25th on the final lap, Fellows got tangled in a final-lap crash involving David Ragan, and David Reutimann, crashing head-on into a barrier in the esses. He finished 30th.

The next year, Fellows couldn't land a ride for the Sprint Cup series but ran the Nationwide Series road course races for JR Motorsports. Fellows led 4 laps at Road America and finished 3rd. He finished 5th at Watkins Glen and 5th in Montreal.

Fellows returned to the Cup series in 2013. He drove the No. 33 car for Circle Sport Racing. His best finish was at Infineon Raceway, when he finished 22nd.[2]

Other activities[edit]

Fellows at Road America in 2012 with his youngest son

GM has created Ron Fellows edition Corvette Z06 in 2007, with a signature trim package. It features unique white paint and Grand Sport hash marks on the front left fender.

He also supports many charities and programs and, like many Canadians, he has a deep passion for hockey, especially the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ron lives outside of Toronto with his wife and three children.

On June 1, 2011, it was announced that Fellows, along with partners Carlo Fidani and Allan Boughton had formed Canadian Motorsport Ventures Ltd., which had just completed the purchase of Mosport International Raceway, north of Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.[3]

Images[edit]

Motorsports career results[edit]

NASCAR[edit]

(key) (Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

Sprint Cup Series[edit]

Nationwide Series[edit]

Craftsman Truck Series[edit]

24 Hours of Le Mans results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
2000 United States Corvette Racing United States Chris Kneifel
United Kingdom Justin Bell
Chevrolet Corvette C5-R GTS 326 11th 4th
2001 United States Corvette Racing United States Scott Pruett
United States Johnny O'Connell
Chevrolet Corvette C5-R GTS 278 8th 1st
2002 United States Corvette Racing United States Johnny O'Connell
United Kingdom Oliver Gavin
Chevrolet Corvette C5-R GTS 335 11th 1st
2003 United States Corvette Racing United States Johnny O'Connell
France Franck Fréon
Chevrolet Corvette C5-R GTS 326 12th 3rd
2004 United States Corvette Racing Italy Max Papis
United States Johnny O'Connell
Chevrolet Corvette C5-R GTS 334 8th 2nd
2005 United States Corvette Racing Italy Max Papis
United States Johnny O'Connell
Chevrolet Corvette C6.R GT1 347 6th 2nd
2006 United States Corvette Racing United States Johnny O'Connell
Italy Max Papis
Chevrolet Corvette C6.R GT1 327 12th 7th
2007 United States Corvette Racing United States Johnny O'Connell
Denmark Jan Magnussen
Chevrolet Corvette C6.R GT1 342 6th 2nd
2008 United States Corvette Racing United States Johnny O'Connell
Denmark Jan Magnussen
Chevrolet Corvette C6.R GT1 344 14th 2nd

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]