The fifth race of the 2012 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series season marks the first race out west for the series as part of a three-race West coast swing that includes a stop in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. The first stop of the three is the half-mile tri-oval in Vernon, British Columbia, known as Motoplex Speedway.
Coming to Motoplex with the momentum is D.J. Kennington, who has won the previous two oval events at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park and Delaware Speedway. The two wins earned him the top spot on the Hunter Index, which was launched in 2010 to highlight the standout performances in the NASCAR touring and regional series. A panel of NASCAR experts and media debate driver’s accomplishments of a single month to see who they feel should be at the top.
“Claiming the first two oval races on the Canadian Tire Series to compliment some nice early season runs at road courses makes Kennington a real threat to run off with his second series title in three years,” Tim Quievryn of TheThirdTurn.com says in NASCAR’s press release.
Kennington, who heads to Motoplex leading by 13 points over Andrew Ranger, has finished in the runner-up position in each of the last two races at Motoplex. He has also finished inside the top five in each of his five starts. Though for 2010 series champion, he has a current streak of six straight top-five finishes and seven consecutive top 10s.
The one to beat on the half-mile is Scott Steckly as he has won the last two events in B.C. The two-time series champion has not finished worse than second in his five B.C. starts and has five top-five finishes in his last six series starts dating back to last season. He currently sits fourth in points after finishing 14th at CTMP and second at Delaware.
Other past winners on the half-mile in B.C. are J.R. Fitzpatrick, Andrew Ranger and Don Thomson Jr.
Fitzpatrick won the inaugural race in 2007 at Motoplex Speedway, before logging top 10s each year that followed; he finished eighth last season. He currently sits third in the standings after finishing third at CTMP and 14th at Delaware. Fitzpatrick will have 2008 Motoplex Speedway winner Dom Thomson Jr. atop his pit box as his crew chief.
Ranger will be making his first Motoplex start after winning the race in 2009. In the two previous starts before the win, he had one top-10 finish. Though Ranger is one to watch without a doubt as he has finished inside the top 1- in 26 of his last 27 series starts, dating back to 2008. The two-time series champion currently sits second in points.
Another driver looking for a good run at Motoplex Speedway is Jason White as this is his home track and the title sponsor of the race sponsors his No. 21 Dodge each week. White currently sits ninth in points, 12 points out of fifth.
“Our performance this season has been improving at every event,” White says. “The whole gang at DJK Racing has given me a great car every weekend and we’re competing hard each time out.”
The best finish that the 2008 Rookie of the Year winner has on his hometrack is a seventh place finish while finishing 11th last year. White will be joined on track by his brother Jim White, who will be driving the No. 24 A&W Dodge.
“It’s going to be so exciting to race against Jim,” Jason White says. “He’s a heck of a racer and I’m looking forward to battling with him head to head.”
It will mark the sixth carer start for Jim White after having a memorable top 10 finish last year at Motoplex.
“I started thinking about it a few months ago,” Jim White says. “I talked with my former Crew Chief Tyler Case who now works for Scott Steckly and it was Tyler who really made this happen and has prepped the car for this weekend.”
While the previous drivers mentioned have loads of experience, 20-year-old Ryley Siebert will be making his second series start after making his debut last season at Auto Clear Motor Speedway in Saskatoon, Sask. The Williams Lake, B.C. native calls Motoplex Speedway his home track and is a regular Late Model competitor.
“I’m certainly comfortable there and know the track very well,” he says. “But there is some pressure that comes with it. I’ll have a lot of friends and family at the race and they are going to expect me to protect my home turf.”
The second-generation driver is hoping to have a solid run, hoping to run all 300 laps, well finishing ahead of his father, Trevor Seibert.
“When I was younger, my dad was my hero,” Ryley Seibert says. “Now that I’m 20 and share the race track with him, I just want to beat him. He beat me not too long ago in his Late Model, so I need to get a little payback.”