Antigonish: Series round 12 preview

NASCAR Canadian Tire Series News & Notes -- Riverside * Komatsu 300 Notebook * TES 300 Post-Race Notebook * Ranger Closing In On Second Title Stacey Learning The Ropes In different professions, learning on the job has ...

NASCAR Canadian Tire Series News & Notes -- Riverside

*  Komatsu 300 Notebook

* TES 300 Post-Race Notebook
* Ranger Closing In On Second Title

Stacey Learning The Ropes

In different professions, learning on the job has various names--internship, residency, fellowship, on-the-job training and many others. No matter the name, the 2009 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 is little more than a glorified test session for Dexter Stacey.

At 16 years of age, Stacey (No. 55 WJS Motorsports Pontiac) is on the track to increase his base of knowledge in stock cars, tracks and how to race. Therefore, it's not about winning and losing, but rather how much can he learn while on the track.

"Sure, it would be nice to be up front and win a race, but that's not what we're here for," he said.

The philosophy is this: Race the full season, visit all the tracks, learn everything possible and stay within a budget before making purchases and plans with questions having unknown answers.

"If we do this for a year, then we'll have a better idea of what exactly we need and what fits what we do," said Stacey, racing out of Kahnawake, Que., a town located in Mohawk Indian territory along the St. Lawrence river. Next year is for keeps according to the youngster.

"We're going to buy a couple new cars this winter and put together a solid engine program to race for points next year."

Despite not having the best equipment available, Stacey has spent far more time on the track as opposed to off it this season. None of the performances have been anything to write home about, but his depth of knowledge grows by the minute.

"We've learned a lot this year," Stacey said. "And we're really looking forward to next year."

Stacey also noted that several other people have helped them along this year--his fellow NASCAR Canadian Tire Series competitors.

"Everybody has been great all year. They loan us stuff, they give us stuff. If we can't figure something out, they tell us how they do it. I really can't thank all of them enough," Stacey said.

Stacey has a goal of being a top-10 team next season, but that is a short-term goal and as lofty as that may be, his long-term goal is reaching for the stars.

"When I turn 18, I want to start moving up and get to the big leagues," he stated.

By big leagues, he means the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Youth is not wasted on this energetic young man nor is he lacking in confidence. Take a walk through the garage area at a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event; its hardly a unique combination.

***

Fast Facts

The Race: Komatsu 300
The Place: Riverside Int'l Speedway, Antigonish, N.S.

The Date: Saturday, Sept. 19
The Time: 7 p.m. ET

TV Schedule: TSN, Sept. 26, 2 p.m. ET

Track Layout: .333-mile oval
Race Purse: $88,563 CAD

2008 Winner: Don Thomson Jr.
2008 Pole: JR Fitzpatrick

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

***

Antigonish: A Favorite In NASCAR Canadian Tire Series

The words Bristol Motor Speedway create visions of paradise within the stock-car racing world. Everyone loves the high-banked turns and the speed they can generate.

Riverside International Speedway in Antigonish, N.S., was built as a scale model of the legendary track in Tennessee.

"It's just a great facility with an awesome track and great fans," said Scott Steckly. "We look forward to making this trip every year."

Mark Dilley likes it so much that he is considering using certain elements in the renovation of a track that he currently is helping to operate--Sunset Speedway in Innisfil, Ont.

"From a competitor's point of view, it's got it all," he said. "Just a lot of fun to race at."

Defending race champion Don Thomson Jr. echoed the sentiment of his colleagues.

"It's a great track in a great part of the country. They bring in a good crowd and create an atmosphere."

Andrew Ranger, who has won a pair of oval-track races this season, would love to pick up a third this Saturday. He led 61 laps in the race a season ago.

"It's a fantastic track. A lot of fun to drive. I really like racing there with all those fans who come out to watch."

Rain caused a postponement of the 2007 race from Saturday evening to Sunday afternoon. Dilley picked up an emotional win as it came just days after the death of his mother. And Thomson edged teammate JR Fitzpatrick to win last season.

***

Riverside News & Notes

The Race: This event is the 12th of 13 races on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 schedule and the eighth of nine races on oval tracks this season. It is the series' third visit to the track.

The Procedure: The starting field is 24 cars, including provisionals. The first 21 cars will be determined through two-lap time trials. The remaining three spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 300 laps covering 99.99 miles.

The Track: Riverside Speedway originally opened in 1969 and was modeled after the legendary Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. In 2005, the track was completely demolished and rebuilt including a new racing surface, concrete walls, lighting, grandstands and control tower. Like its counterpart, Riverside features high-banked turns of 14 degrees. The frontstretch is 440-feet long with a banking of six degrees while the back stretch is also 440 feet but with five-degree banking.

The Records: The one-lap qualifying record for the Canadian Tire Series is 14.883 seconds (80.548 mph), set by Peter Gibbons on Sept. 16, 2007. The 300-lap race record is held by Mark Dilley at 1 hour, 49 minutes, 16 seconds, also set on Sept. 16, 2007, for an average speed of 54.857 mph.

Last Year: Picking up the win was Don Thomson Jr. after Gibbons and Andrew Ranger got tangled up in the closing laps. Thomson was able to hold off his teammate, JR Fitzpatrick, on a green-white-checkered finish. The race had 12 lead changes involving seven different drivers.

Will He Or Won't He?: Thomson was set to unveil a brand new car in Nova Scotia with a NASCAR spec motor under the hood. Does his win last Saturday night at Barrie (Ont.) Speedway change those plans?

Big Weekend On Tap: On Friday, Sept. 18, the Highland Building Supplies Sportsman will compete in the NAPA 100. The Maritime Legends Challenge will also be on hand. The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and the Komatsu 300 will be the main order of business on Saturday.

***

NCATS Notebook: Torbram Electric 300 Wrap-Up

Turning It Around: The top two finishers in the Torbram Electric 300 presented by The Source --Don Thomson Jr. (No. 4 Home Hardware Chevrolet) and Mark Dilley (No. 9 Dodge/Leland Ind. Dodge)--had slow starts to the season, but both want to close out the season on a good note. Thomson reached Victory Lane for the first time in 11 races and Dilley has logged back-to-back finishes inside the top five.

No Sophomore Jinx: After a sometimes rough rookie season, Anthony Simone (No. 95 Crown Modular/United Lumber Chevrolet) is having a solid second season. In Barrie, he collected his first series career pole.

Dominating Dodges: Seven of the top 10 finishing cars in the race carried the Dodge logo. Thomson's Chevy, along with the Fords of Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Walmart/Tide) and Kerry Micks (No. 02 Beyond Digital Imaging), were able to infiltrate the Mopar mob.

Mobil 1 Command Performance Driver of the Race: As a reward for his NASCAR Canadian Tire Series victory at Barrie Speedway, Thomson collects $1,500 from Mobil 1 as the Command Performance Driver of the Race.

Mopar Quick Three: This program rewards the top three finishing Dodges in the race eligible for the award. In the Torbram Electric 300, second-place finisher Dilley was the highest-finishing eligible Dodge and thus earned a $2,000 bonus. Brad Graham (No. 19 Logel's Auto Parts 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 fifth overall.

Coca-Cola Move of the Race: Improving his position the most over the course of the race was Joey Hanssen (No. 40 Prime Champ Dodge) for the second time this season. The 17-year-old native of Holland started 19th on the grid before navigating his way to a season-best finish of eighth. 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. Thomson won the race and led the most laps (106).

In Case You Missed It: TSN coverage of the Torbram Electric 300 presented by The Source from Barrie Speedway will premiere on Saturday, Sept. 19 at noon ET. Check local listings for the most up-to-date information. The one-hour recap show from the NAPA Autopro 100 in Montreal will be broadcast on Friday, Sept. 18 at 2 p.m.

***

Ranger Closing In On Second Series Title

It's to the point that the scenarios that don't end with Andrew Ranger as the 2009 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 champion almost have to include him oversleeping and missing one of the final two races or opting to stay home to paint his kitchen.

Nonetheless, the math says that his 138-point lead over DJ Kennington heading into this Saturday's Komatsu 300 at Riverside Int'l Speedway in Antigonish, N.S., isn't quite enough to wrap up the 2009 title. In fact, in addition to Kennington, Ron Beauchamp Jr. and defending series champion Scott Steckly have a mathematical chance of hoisting the trophy.

The simple fact of the matter is that the options for each of those three are dwindling.

Short of Ranger physically not making it to an event, one of the three challengers would have to win both the final races of the season and lead the most laps while Ranger does not lead a lap and finish dead last.

"(Ranger) has had a great year. They have no bad luck, but that's what it takes in this series," said Steckly. "We had a pretty fortunate year last year when we won."

If Ranger closes it out, it will be his second series championship in three years having won the inaugural title in 2007 for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.

"We've been right with them at almost all of the races," said Kennington. "They've just been so strong that none of us really had too much of a chance to make up significant ground."

"We've just tried to keep it simple and take one race at a time," Ranger said.

In each of the first two season in series history, the battle for the points championship was not decided until the final event of the year at Kawartha Speedway in Fraserville, Ont.

***

Up Next: Kawartha

The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 wraps up its third season of competition and crowns the 2009 series champion following the Z-Line Designs presented by The Dodge Dealers of Ontario at Kawartha Speedway in Fraserville, Ont., on Saturday, Sept. 26.

It will be the third visit to the track for the series. In each of the first two visits the race was won by a first-time winner. In 2007, Scott Steckly picked up his first series win as Andrew Ranger won the inaugural series title. Last year, Jason Hathaway earned his initial win while Steckly was crowned as the champion..

Also, last year's event was shortened due to rain becoming the first and, to date, the only series race to have that happen.

The .375-mile oval is opposite Dover (Del.) Int'l Speedway as the horse track is on the outside of the speedway.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Canada
Drivers Peter Gibbons , Mark Dilley , Ron Beauchamp Jr. , Brad Graham , Kerry Micks , Don Thomson Jr. , Scott Steckly , Andrew Ranger , Jason Hathaway , Anthony Simone , Joey Hanssen , Dexter Stacey