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Nov 15, 2010 / events


Toronto, Canada -- Compass360 Racing and Team Principal Karl Thomson received the Wayne Kelly award at the Canadian Automobile Sports Club's annual gala on Saturday night. The award is presented to drivers and teams who bring honour and prestige to Canadian motorsports through their racing activities in other countries.

"I'm tremendously honoured to receive this on behalf of Compass360 Racing," remarked Thomson. "Honestly, I knew that this was an important award, but if I'd known who some of the previous recipients were, I think I'd have choked up part-way through my speech."

The award, first presented in 1973, was commissioned by the Canadian Armed Forces in memory of Corporal Wayne Kelly, a talented driver who tragically lost his life in an incident at Mosport. Past recipients of the award have included Bill Brack, Price Cobb, David Empringham, Ron Fellows, Scott Maxwell and Gilles Villeneuve.

Here is Thomson's acceptance speech:

"It's a real honour to receive this award this evening. Although I'm the one that has the privilege of standing here, I can assure you that the success of the Compass360 Racing team is thanks to the talents, dedication and hard work of our crew and drivers.

It shouldn't surprise you that a lot of them got their start in regional racing here in Ontario. For example, my partner in the racing business, Ray Lee, was crew chief for Michael Thornley back in 2003. Together, they won CASC's Touring-class championship. Most of our staff worked on, or raced cars in Ontario regional racing. Some still do. Many of you know Steven Scala, who ably helmed the CASC office for many years. He's been a part of our team for the past few seasons and is a pretty good shoe in his own right, although he seems inexplicably drawn to those open-wheelers.

Our Grand-Am squad did very well this year, winning the Continental Tire Championship for the second year in a row. We also came home third, meaning we've taken two of the top steps on the podium in this NASCAR-owned series two years in succession. This result was mirrored by our Durabond-backed Canadian Touring Car team, with Anthony Rapone winning the championship, and yours truly taking third spot. Anthony and his brother Andre both had their starts in Solo Sprints, which is proof that regional racing in Ontario is a great place to develop ones race-craft and driver skills.

As for me, my first season with CASC wasn't too long ago, in 2003. I'd done some Porsche Club events, and was excited to try some door-to-door competition. That turned out pretty well, as I managed to win the GT Sprints Championship, and was Rookie of the Year in Touring class. Running five races every weekend certainly helped to accelerate my learning!

Moving to the pro ranks in 2004 has meant I'm not able to take part in regional racing too often (which is a shame), but I really appreciate how much my time in CASC series paved the way for the amazing successes our team and I have had, both in Canada and south of the border.

So... many thanks to the guys at our shop: Ray, Steve, Ivan, Hondatech, Roger... and to Turtle and all of the Durabond guys who made 2010 such an exceptional year. Thanks to my lovely wife, Mary, who continues to do her part making this racing business as glamorous as everyone thinks it is.

And perhaps most importantly, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of the volunteers, and especially the marshals, who make it possible for us racers to take part in this sport that we're all so passionate about. Without you, we'd all be spending a lot more time on the Playstation!

Thank you very much indeed."