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Exclusive Autosport enters Pro Mazda with Red Deer’s Parker Thompson

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SASKATOON, SK (February 2, 2018) – The impressive pairing of Exclusive Autosport and Parker Thompson has delivered much success over the past three years, locking wins in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, the F1600 Super Series, the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship in Ontario and the Formula Tour 1600 series in Quebec.  Thompson drove to major home country wins for Exclusive Autosport in both Montreal and Toronto in 2017, and this year, he will aim to extend this streak into the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. Exclusive Autosport has signed the 19-year-old Canadian to lead their rookie charge into the series, which is the second rung of the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires.  Exclusive Autosport debuted in the USF2000 series in 2017 and promptly won three races enroute to third in the Drivers’ Championship.  With teams in F1600 and USF2000, Pro Mazda is the logical progression in their expansion and development and Thompson represents the first of two driver announcements for this level of their program.

“We are thrilled to welcome Parker back to the Exclusive Autosport program for 2018,” commented Michael Duncalfe, Team Principal. “I couldn’t think of a better driver to make our debut in Pro Mazda Championship with. He is an incredibly well rounded athlete and a fan favourite. I have said it before, Parker’s work ethic on and off the track is second to none.”

Whether it’s training at the gym, working on his marketing campaign or continuing his development as a driver, he invests so much of himself into his racing program/career. Although we feel we have some unfinished business (coming up short in the USF2000 driver championship in 2017), we made huge strides last year and it is such a positive that we get to build on that success and momentum from 2017. With the addition of Tim Lewis (as our lead engineer on the PM program), we have added more depth to the Exclusive Autosport Pro Mazda operation. I am confident that we will see Exclusive Autosport and Parker Thompson back in the winner circle in 2018.”

Exclusive Autosport made their USF2000 debut in 2017 after many successful seasons in both Canadian and American F1600 series, and they notched their first wins last July, sweeping the street race weekend in Toronto. Thompson provided their third win of the season at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course just two weeks later enroute to third in the overall championship standings. He also led the squad to fourth in the USF2000 Team Championship, the highest finishing rookie team.  Thompson also ran with the operation’s Formula 1600 program last year, winning the F1600 Super Series on the strength of seven wins in 11 races, which included victories during the F1 Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal and at the famed Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (aka Mosport) in Bowmanville, Ontario.

Earlier in January, Duncalfe announced his hiring of veteran race engineer Tim Lewis to manage the engineering staff of the Exclusive Autosport Pro Mazda effort.  Testing has gone extremely well with Lewis and Thompson having already developed a very strong working relationship.  The team is planning to run a pair of cars in the Pro Mazda Championship and hopes to be able to announce its second driver by the end of February.

“I am extremely proud to have the opportunity to continue working with Michael Duncalfe and the Exclusive Autosport family,” Thompson enthused.

“We have all enjoyed some immense success together over the last few years, and I look forward to bringing our momentum from 2017 into the 2018 Pro Mazda Championship. It’s an honor to lead EA’s charge into the Pro Mazda category, and I can’t wait to pick up where we left off last year in USF2000. It’s not often when a driver has the opportunity to work with the same group of guys in back-to-back years, and I want to capitalize on this relationship. Getting to work with a veteran engineer like Tim Lewis and crew chief Jay Green developing this new Pro Mazda is going to be game changer. Anything but a championship this year will not be acceptable. Thank you to all of my partners, and Exclusive Autosport for making this all possible and believing in my abilities. I look forward to proving that they made a good decision in 2018.”

Thompson is pleased to have Badlands Motorsports Resort joining his group of marketing partners for 2018; a list that includes valued associates like Wheelhouse Media, Openhwy, TriQuest NDT, Todayville, Sparco, and Bell Helmets.

“When not behind the wheel, Parker is an active member our community, and a strong advocate for responsible road driving habits, crusading across Canada with his teen focused program ‘Drive to Stay Alive’,” commented Jay Zelazo, the CEO of Badlands Motorsport Resort. “Driving for the Saskatoon-based Exclusive Autosport team, Parker epitomizes the spirit of Canadian Prairies, and demonstrates many of the values held in high regard by Badlands Motorsports Resort. We are excited to continue our relationship with this up-and-coming Canadian race car driver as the development of our world-class motorsports facility and tourism resort progresses.”

With the opening round of the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires just over six weeks away, at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Florida on March 9-11, pre-season testing will continue.  In addition to their pair of Pro Mazda cars, Exclusive Autosport is also planning to run at least three cars in the USF2000 program this year, and will announce their first driver next week.

About Exclusive Autosport:

Exclusive Autosport (EA) is a professional racing team dedicated to the success of its drivers in open wheel formula car competition in North America.  EA operate teams in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires in the United States and the Formula Tour 1600 series in Canada.  Exclusive’s drivers have secured numerous race wins, podium finishes and pole positions, as well as Rookie of the Year championships, a Team USA Scholarship and nominations for Team Canada F1600. Exclusive’s drivers are on the podium in over 80% of the races they enter.  Exclusive Management Inc., the team’s parent company, has enjoyed great success in both open wheel and sports car racing and has worked with standout drivers like Thomas McGregor, Jack Mitchell Jr., Shelby Blackstock, Gregory Liefooghe, Jayson Clunie, David Levine and Trenton Estep.  EM Inc. drivers are highly sought after in the motorsports industry.

Todayville is proud to sponsor Parker Thompson Racing.

 

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Health

B.C. premier does not rule out side talks with PM at national health gathering

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Ottawa – British Columbia Premier David Eby says he’s optimistic about next week’s meetings with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other premiers about health-care funding.

Eby says getting the premiers and Trudeau together in Ottawa leads him to believe a deal to increase core transfer dollars from the federal government to provinces and territories is within reach.

The premiers want Ottawa to cover 35 per cent of health-care costs, up from the current 22 per cent.

Trudeau has said the funding will come with strings attached, including sharing health data and outcomes for a national database.

Eby and several B.C. cabinet ministers are in Ottawa today, where he said he expected to discuss health, public safety, climate change and housing issues with Trudeau and members of his cabinet.

The premier says the primary goal at next week’s talks remains making progress on an improved national health funding transfer agreement, but he did not rule out the possibility of the province engaging in separate talks with Trudeau about health care.

“We’ll be talking about core funding for provinces, but with the ability for provinces to have discussions with the federal government about key areas of provincial priority,” said Eby at a news conference in Ottawa. “I am convinced that B.C.’s priorities are not necessarily the same as Quebec’s or Nova Scotia’s or Newfoundland’s.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 1, 2023.

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Sports

Tom Brady retires at 45, insisting this time it’s ‘for good’

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tom Brady, who won a record seven Super Bowls for New England and Tampa, has announced his retirement.

Brady — the most successful quarterback in NFL history, and one of the greatest athletes in team sports — posted the announcement on social media Wednesday morning, a brief video lasting just under one minute.

“Good morning guys. I’ll get to the point right away,” Brady says as the message begins. “I’m retiring. For good.”

He briefly retired after the 2021 season but wound up coming back for one more year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He retires at age 45, the owner of numerous passing records in an unprecedented 23-year career.

A year ago when he retired, it was in the form of a long Instagram post. But about six weeks later, he decided to come back for one more run. The Buccaneers — with whom he won a Super Bowl two seasons ago — made the playoffs again this season, losing in their playoff opener. And at the time, it begged the question about whether Brady would play again.

Only a couple of weeks later, he has given the answer.

“I know the process was a pretty big deal last time, so when I woke up this morning, I figured I’d just press record and let you guys know first,” Brady says in the video. “I won’t be long-winded. You only get one super emotional retirement essay and I used mine up last year.

“I really thank you guys so much, to every single one of you for supporting me. My family, my friends, teammates, my competitors. I could go on forever. There’s too many. Thank you guys for allowing me to live my absolute dream. I wouldn’t change a thing. Love you all.”

Brady is the NFL’s career leader in yards passing (89,214) and touchdowns (649). He is the only player to win more than five Super Bowls and has been MVP of the game five times.

Brady announced his retirement one day after attending the premiere of “80 for Brady” — which comes out Friday — in Los Angeles. The movie tells the story of four lifelong friends, played by Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno and Sally Field, who went to a Super Bowl to see Brady play.

He was asked Tuesday night whether he felt a connection working with women — the four stars range in age from 76 to 91 — who don’t want to retire.

“They’re working hard and they love it. So good for them,” Brady told The Associated Press. “You know, it’s just that’s what life is about. You got to, you know, wake up every day with a purpose. And when you find something you love to do, you know, it’s hard to stop. You really enjoy it. And there’s a lot of aspects that you do enjoy. So they still bring it at this age. It’s really unbelievable to watch them on set and how much energy they have. And I certainly was inspired by them and learned a lot of lessons on this whole experience.”

Famously underrated coming into the NFL — he was picked 199th in the 2000 draft by the Patriots, behind six other quarterbacks, three kickers and a punter — Brady certainly wasn’t expected to become synonymous with greatness. He played in one game as a rookie, completing one of three passes for six yards.

The next year, it all changed.

Brady took over as the Patriots’ starter, the team beat the St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl that capped the 2001 season and he and New England coach Bill Belichick were well on their way to becoming the most successful coach-QB duo in football history.

More Super Bowl wins came after the 2003 and 2004 seasons. The Patriots returned to football’s mountaintop for a fourth time in Brady’s era a decade later to cap the 2014 season, the start of three more titles in a span of five years.

In 2020, he joined the Buccaneers and won his seventh Super Bowl. He spent his last three years with Tampa Bay, getting them to the playoffs in each of those seasons.

“I think I’ve been on the record dozens of times saying there’s no quarterback I’d rather have than Tom Brady, and I still feel that way,” Belichick said in 2021 — shortly before Tampa Bay, with Brady, came to New England and beat the Patriots in a game dubbed “The Return.” “I was very lucky to have Tom as the quarterback, to coach him, and he was as good as any coach could ever ask for.”

Brady has won three NFL MVP awards, has been a first-team All-Pro three times and was selected to the Pro Bowl 15 times.

Brady and model Gisele Bündchen finalized their divorce this past fall, during the Bucs’ season. It ended a 13-year marriage between two superstars who respectively reached the pinnacles of football and fashion.

It was announced last year that when Brady retires from playing, he would join Fox Sports as a television analyst in a 10-year, $375 million deal.

___

AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://apnews.com/hub/pro-32 and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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