Kawartha: Series round 13 preview

NASCAR Canadian Tire Series News & Notes -- Kawartha * Z-Line Designs 250 Notebook * Komatsu 300 Post-Race Notebook * Whitlock Bids Farewell Ranger To Close Out A Dominating Season On Saturday night, Roxton Pond, Quebec's, Andrew...

NASCAR Canadian Tire Series News & Notes -- Kawartha

 *  Z-Line Designs 250 Notebook

* Komatsu 300 Post-Race Notebook
* Whitlock Bids Farewell

Ranger To Close Out A Dominating Season

On Saturday night, Roxton Pond, Quebec's, Andrew Ranger only needs to start the race to capture his second NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 championship in three years.

Just a flip of the ignition switch practically is all Ranger (No. 27 Walmart/Tide Ford), who carries a nearly insurmountable 189-point lead over Ron Beauchamp Jr., needs to complete in the most dominating season, to date, in series history.

Beauchamp's window of opportunity is so small that the Hubble Telescope would find it hard to locate. On the off chance that Ranger was not able to race, Beauchamp still would need to win the Z-Line Designs 250 presented by The Dodge Dealers of Ontario and Coca-Cola at Kawartha Speedway in Fraserville, Ont., and lead the highest number of laps to garner the 190 points needed to wrestle the lead away from Ranger. Anything less and the title would fall into the hands of this talented, young Quebecer.

Ranger's stock-car career began in earnest just three years ago. He won the inaugural NASCAR Canadian Tire Series championship in 2007 on the power of his prowess on the road courses. On the oval tracks, he was able to hold his own and tread water.

This year, his season has become surprisingly symmetric. To go along with his three road-course victories, he has three oval-track triumphs which includes two of the most dominating wins in series history. In July at SunValley Speedway, he earned his first career win on an oval by lapping every car in the field but one, and in last Sunday's race at Riverside International Speedway, he beat the second-place car of Jeff Lapcevich to the finish line by a whopping 9.159 seconds.

In 12 races so far this season, he has yet to finish outside the top 10. His average finishing position is 3.6 with the low-water mark of the campaign being a ninth-place effort two weeks ago at Barrie Speedway.

No one knows what performances will come for this series down the road, but any will be hard pressed to be better than the championship season of Andrew Ranger in 2009.

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Fast Facts

The Race: Z-Line Designs 250 presented by The Dodge Dealers of Ontario and Coca-Cola
The Place: Kawartha Speedway, Fraserville, Ont.

The Date: Saturday, Sept. 26
The Time: 7 p.m. ET

TV Schedule: TSN, Oct. 17, 2 p.m. ET

Track Layout: .375-mile oval
Race Purse: $82,323 CAD

2008 Winner: Jason Hathaway
2008 Pole: Don Thomson Jr.

Schedule: Practice 1:30-2:30 p.m.; Qualifying 5 p.m.

***

Hanssen Looks To Lock Up Top Rookie Honors

The battle for NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil1 Rookie of the Year honors between Joey Hanssen (No. 40 Prime Champ Dodge) and Dexter Stacey (No. 55 WJS Motorsports Pontiac) has been a spirited one. Both drivers have had their ups and downs as they have learned and grown in the sport.

Neither driver came into the season with any stock-car experience to speak of or, for that matter, much experience at all. Hanssen turned 18 years old earlier this summer and Stacey is just 16 years of age.

Hanssen came to Canada this past winter from Holland with a strong resume on the European karting, sports car and open-wheel circuits.

Through mutual business associates, he got hooked up with DJ Kennington. After just a few discussions, DJK Racing decided to become a two-car team and added Hanssen.

Now with 12 stock-car races under his belt, he has four top-10 performances and holds down 13th place in the championship points standings.

The scenario for Hanssen, who comes into the season finale with an eight-point edge in the standings, to become the series' top rookie in 2009 is identical to Andrew Ranger's for claiming the series championship -- start the race.

Last year, Jason White edged Anthony Simone to win the first-ever NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Rookie of the Year Award.

***

Kawartha News & Notes

The Race: This event is the 13th of 13 races on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 schedule and the ninth of nine races on oval tracks this season. It is the series' third visit to the track.

The Procedure: The starting field is 26 cars, including provisionals. The first 23 cars will be determined through two-lap time trials. The remaining three spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 250 laps covering 93.75 miles.

The Track: Kawartha Speedway is part of the Kawartha Downs and Speedway complex in Fraserville, Ontario, near Peterborough, east of Toronto. The .375-mile banked asphalt oval speedway is surrounded by a harness-racing horse track, the opposite of Dover (Del.) International Speedway.

The Records: The one-lap qualifying record for the Canadian Tire Series is 17.704 seconds (76.254 mph), set by Mark Dilley on Sept. 23, 2007. The 250-lap race record is held by Scott Steckly at 1 hour, 50 minutes, 47 seconds also set on Sept. 23, 2007 for an average speed of 51.790 mph.

Last Year: In a rain-shortened event, Jason Hathaway picked up his first NASCAR Canadian Tire Series victory by holding off DJ Kennington before the caution flag waved. Don Thomson Jr. picked up the final of his series single-season record seven poles. And Scott Steckly was crowned as the 2008 series champion.

Return Engagement: For the second straight season, Donald Chisholm will make the trip to Kawartha from his home base in Antigonish, N.S. Last week, he finished a series career-best fifth in the Komatsu 300 at his home track of Riverside Int'l Speedway. Last season, he finished 10th at Kawartha.

Dodge Race: In the two series events at Kawartha, only the Chevrolets of Peter Gibbons (2nd in 2007) and Don Thomson Jr. (5th in 2008) have been able to crack the top five--all the rest have been Dodges.

Canadian Worker Of The Year: Prior to the race, Dickies will award their grand prize of a 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 to the Dickies Canadian Worker of the Year from nominations gathered all across Canada.

***

NCATS Notebook: Komatsu 300 Wrap-Up

Even At Three: To go along with his three road-course wins this season, Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Walmart/Tide Ford) picked up his third win on an oval track this year in the Komatsu 300. The 22-year-old out of Roxton Pond, Que., extended his series single-season record for wins in a season to six. He also holds the series' all-time record for victories at nine.

On A Roll: After a rough start to the 2009 season, Mark Dilley (No. 9 Dodge/Leland Industries Dodge) is closing strong. He notched his third consecutive top-five finish with his third-place effort in the Komatsu 300.

Career Day: It had been since Aug. 17, 2007 at Trois-Rivieres that Jeff Lapcevich (No. 23 Tim Hortons Chevrolet) finished inside the top five. With his second-place finish in Nova Scotia, he established a new career-best finish with his first NASCAR podium. He also led a race-high 97 laps and it was the first time in 19 series starts that he was at the front of the field.

Equal Representation: For the third time in 2009, the podium consisted of a Chevrolet (Lapcevich), a Dodge (Dilley) and a Ford (Ranger). The other two instances came in Edmonton and Trois-Rivieres.

Mobil 1 Command Performance Driver of the Race: As a reward for his NASCAR Canadian Tire Series victory at Riverside International Speedway, Ranger collects $1,500 from Mobil 1 as the Command Performance Driver of the Race for the sixth time this season.

Mopar Quick Three: This program rewards the top three finishing Dodges in the race eligible for the award. In the Komatsu 300, third-place finisher Dilley was the highest-finishing eligible Dodge and thus earned a $2,000 bonus. Ron Beauchamp Jr. (No. 60 Mopar/Mobil 1/Exide Batteries Dodge), who came home in fourth place, was the second-highest finishing eligible Dodge, which earned him a $1,000 award. Picking up $500 for finishing as the third-highest eligible Dodge was Jason Hathaway (No. 3 Snap-on Tools/Vortex Brake Pads Dodge). He finished sixth overall.

Coca-Cola Move of the Race: Improving his position the most over the course of the race was Dilley. The veteran started 11th on the grid before navigating his way to a third-place finish. As a result, he earned the $1,000 award from Coca-Cola.

MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Race: In a new program for 2009, the driver who compiles the most points in a specialized system involving qualifying, race finish and leading laps collects the $1,000 award. Lapcevich finished second in the race, but led the most laps (97).

In Case You Missed It: TSN coverage of the Komatsu 300 from Riverside International Speedway will premiere on Saturday, Sept. 26 at 2 p.m. ET. Check local listings for the most up-to-date information.

***

Whitlock Bids Farewell

In what was a bit of a surprise to most, Dave Whitlock (No. 39 Dickies/NMT Dodge) announced his retirement just prior to the start of the 2009 season.

The 42-year-old winner of three CASCAR Super Series titles cited a desire to spend more time with his wife, Corrine, and three daughters as the motivating factor in his decision along with pursuing his other business interests.

Whitlock, a long-time competitor in a variety of stock-car series in both the United States and Canada, has been with the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 from the very beginning having competed in all 37 events, to date.

In the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, he currently occupies the 10th position in the point standings--just 36 points behind teammate Mark Dilley in ninth. In just under three seasons in the series, he has a win to go along with six top-five and 20 top-10 finishes.

He began his final season with a bang. His win came in the 2009 season opener at Autodrome St. Eustache.

"It has been a pleasure and an honor to be associated with Dave and his motorsports team for the past three years," said Bill McFarlane, VP of Marketing for Dickies Canada. "Dave is still a young man with lots of race left in him, but we respect his decision and his commitment to his family and wish them the very best in the future."

In his retirement announcement, Whitlock stated, "I would like to convey a sincere thank you to all, including my crews, fans, sponsors and the businesses that have supported me throughout my career. A special thank you to my wife Corinne, my girls Chelsea, Carlene, Carissa, my mother, Janet, and my late father, Doug, who have allowed me to pursue my passion for all these years."

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Up Next: Showdown

The NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown is NASCAR's premiere short-track racing showcase. The seventh running of the event, which brings together the top racers from across North America for the "Daytona 500 of short-track racing," will be held on Jan. 29-30 at California's Toyota Speedway at Irwindale.

Both nights of exciting action will be telecast live by SPEED.

Each 2009 NASCAR Camping World Series race winner has a protected starting spot. In addition, 2009 series champions of NASCAR's regional touring series -- the NASCAR Camping World Series East, NASCAR Camping World Series West, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, and NASCAR Mexico Series -- and the 2009 national champion for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series are also eligible for protected starting spots.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Canada
Drivers Jason White , Peter Gibbons , Dave Whitlock , Mark Dilley , Ron Beauchamp Jr. , Don Thomson Jr. , Scott Steckly , Andrew Ranger , Jeff Lapcevich , Jason Hathaway , Anthony Simone , Joey Hanssen , Dexter Stacey