DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 26, 2013) – There was a time not all that long ago that D.J. Kennington struggled in pressure situations. Now, he thrives on them.
Before winning the 2010 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 championship Kennington had the proverbial monkey on his back. After several near championship misses in CASCAR – the Canadian Tire Series’ predecessor in Canada – and a couple of tough-luck finishes in the series’ very early years, the St. Thomas, Ont., driver closes with the best of them these days with two titles and 19 series career victories.
“There was a time when I didn’t get it done at crunch time,” said the driver of the Castrol Edge/Mahindra Tractors Dodge. “Experience is the key to everything, though. You learn what to look out for and know what to expect.”
The championship battle in the Canadian Tire Series has never been closer. Scott Steckly (No. 22 Canadian Tire Dodge) has a slim four-point advantage on Kennington heading into the Pinty’s presents the Clarington 200.
“I love it,” says Kennington of the tight points race. “I think I have the best team in the business, so we’re ready for whatever comes our way down the stretch.”
It has been a season unlike any other in the previous six in series history. While the competition has always been tight, there was always a rabbit out front setting the pace. That’s not the case this year with adversity of some sort striking each of the teams at various points throughout the year.
“We’ve all had some bad luck this year, but everyone has battled back,” said Kennington. “The points lead has never been more than 10 or so. It’s wide open.”
Racing on the road course at CTMP is not a new experience for Kennington, but this event will be a little different from the previous six series events at the track. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will make its Canadian debut and a handful of regulars from that series will tackle both races in the companion event.
“I’m not sure how those guys will impact that race,” said the two-time Canadian Tire Series champ. “They’re obviously great drivers and they’ll be in good cars. I know they are just looking for track time, but racers want to win. We’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out.”
With 38 cars on the entry list, a full field of 34 cars is expected to start Sunday’s race in front of a live television audience on TSN2.
“It’s going to be a great show,” said Kennington. “Let’s line them up and get started.”
Race: Pinty’s presents the Clarington 200
Place: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Bowmanville, Ont.
Date: Sunday, Sept. 1
Time: 11:06 a.m. ET
TV Schedule: TSN2, Sun., Sept. 1, 11 a.m. ET (LIVE); RDS2, Fri., Sept. 27, 8 p.m. ET
Track Layout: 2.459-mile permanent road course
2012 Winner: Event Not Held
2012 Pole Sitter: Event Not Held
Event Schedule: Sat., Aug. 31 – Practice 10:40-11:45 a.m.; Final Practice 1:10-1:55 p.m.; Autograph Session 2:50 p.m.; Qualifying 4 p.m. Sun., Spet. 1 – Driver Introductions 10:45 a.m. ET
TRACK CONTACT: Ryan Chalmers at (905) 983-9141 or firstname.lastname@example.org
EVENT TWITTER HASHTAG: #PintysClarington200
The Race: This is the 10th event of the 2013 season for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 and the last of four road-course events on the schedule. This is the series’ eighth visit to the road course at CTMP. It’s first time for a second visit in a season to the iconic circuit after opening the season there in May.
The Procedure: The starting field is 34 cars, including provisionals. The first 29 cars will qualify through NASCAR road-race style (group) qualifying. The groups will be determined by practice times. The remaining five spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 51 laps covering 201.8 kilometers (125.4 miles).
The Track: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, formerly known as Mosport International Raceway, is Canada’s largest motorsports complex. The 750-acre, multi-track facility is located within the Greater Toronto Area, north of Bowmanville, Ont. CTMP features the 2.459-mile road course; a half-mile, paved oval; a 2.4-kilometer advanced driver and race driver training facility and a 1.4-kilometer kart track. The facility opened in 1961 and has hosted stock car, Formula 1 and IndyCar events over the years. The road-course track was resurfaced in 2000 and widened to 40 feet. Canadian Tire acquired the naming rights to the facility in early 2012 and new ownership has made several improvements to the facility over the last two years.
The Records: The single-lap qualifying record is held by J.R. Fitzpatrick and was set on May 18, 2013 at 106.289 mph (83.286 seconds). Andrew Ranger holds the race record at 1 hour, 26 minutes, 39 seconds for an average speed of 86.838 mph on June 17, 2007.
The History: In the previous seven NASCAR Canadian Tire Series events on the road course at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, J.R. Fitzpatrick (2008, 2010 and 2012) and Andrew Ranger (2007, 2009) have accounted for five of the seven wins. D.J. Kennington claimed his first series road-course victory in 2011 while Louis-Philippe Dumoulin scored his first career win in May. Ranger has claimed three starts from the pole while Steckly has two. Fitzpatrick won the pole position in the first visit this year. Qualifying in 2011 was rained out.
CTMP RACE NOTES
A Picture Paints A Thousand Words: Fans not able to attend the Pinty’s presents the Clarington 200 can still watch much of the action. Qualifying video from 4-5 p.m. ET on Saturday will be streamed live on the NASCAR page at http://www.tsn.ca website while the race will be telecast live on TSN2 with coverage beginning at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
Irregularity: Andrew Ranger, a two-time winner on the road course at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, will not be with his familiar Jacombs Motorsports team. Instead he will be in a DJK Racing entry. He’ll be in the same car that Alex Tagliani drove to the pole at Trois-Rivieres, Que.
Track Time For Truck Drivers: The CTMP road course is familiar turf for Canadian Tire Series competitors, but it’s uncharted territory for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series which is making its Canadian debut. James Buescher, NASCAR Next member Jeb Burton, Ty Dillon and Chad Hackenbracht are making the most of the opportunity to gain valuable track time by doing double duty this weekend. On the flipside, Canadian Tire Series regulars Martin Roy (No. 90 Batteries Expert/Gamache/Veloce Dodge) and rookie Alex Guenette (No. 39 Kawasaki/Motos Illimitées/DLGL Dodge) will make their Camping World Truck Series debuts.
Not Much Wiggle Room: Just 10 points separate the top three drivers in the championship standings. Scott Steckly leads D.J. Kennington by just four points and Jason Hathaway (No. 3 Snap-on Tools/Rockstar Energy Drink Dodge) is a close third. Kennington is the only one of the three with a road-course win at CTMP to his credit having taken the checkered flag there in 2011.
Duking It Out: Series rookie-of-the-year contenders Guenette and Ryley Seibert (No. 09 Lake Excavating/Emco Waterworks Dodge) are in a virtual dead heat for the 2013 honors. The two are tied atop the rookie standings with Seibert holding a slim two-point advantage in the drivers point standings – the tiebreaker for the competition.
LAST TIME OUT: Wilson Equipment 300 At Riverside International Speedway
Drought Snapped: It had been 59 races since Jason Hathaway had been in Victory Lane, but the Dutton, Ont., driver remained calm with D.J. Kennington and Scott Steckly, who have combined for four Canadian Tire Series titles, bearing down on him. Hathaway claimed his first series win since Sept. 2008 at Kawartha Speedway.
Not Much Resolved: The championship point standings have been tight all season long, but little was done at Riverside to remedy that. The top-three finishers – Hathaway, Kennington and Steckly – hold down the top three positions in the season standings. Steckly came into the race with a four-point advantage over Kennington and left with the same margin while Hathaway closed to within 10 points of the top spot.
Character Test: If hard luck builds character, then J.R. Fitzpatrick (No. 84 Equipment Express Chevrolet) is reaching rare air in that department. The Ayr, Ont., driver led 72 laps in the early going before suffering an engine failure while leading on Lap 166 of the 300-lap affair. Fitzpatrick has led 387 laps this season, but has not yet reached Victory Lane.
Standing Up: Despite not racing in the Canadian Tire Series very regularly, Donald Chisholm (No. 28 Keltic Ford/Nova Construction Ford) scored his third straight top-10 finish at his home track.
NEXT TIME OUT: Hudco Electric Supply 300 At Barrie Speedway
With the road course portion of the schedule complete for the season, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 wraps up the 2013 campaign with a pair of oval track races. First up is the Hudco Electric Supply 300 at Barrie (Ont.) Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 8. The cozy .333-mile track breeds a physical style of racing that often ends in hurt feelings and thrilling action. Pete Shepherd III took the checkered flag a season ago just as he has twice already this season.