A&W 300 Notebook NASCAR Home Tracks Spotlight: Barrie Speedway Dickies 200 Presented By Lucas Oil Post-Race Notes Kennington Logs Miles On And Off The Track Traveling from track to track and series to series has garnered much attention this ...
A&W 300 Notebook
NASCAR Home Tracks Spotlight: Barrie Speedway
Dickies 200 Presented By Lucas Oil Post-Race Notes
Kennington Logs Miles On And Off The Track
Traveling from track to track and series to series has garnered much attention this season thanks to the exploits of Kyle Busch, who has used helicopters and jets to work his way between tracks to compete in NASCAR's top three series.
The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio has its own version of Busch in D.J. Kennington (No. 17 Castrol/NPP Dodge). Kennington's travels from the NASCAR Nationwide Series to the Canadian Tire Series, however, come via cars and pick-up trucks.
Weekend before last, Kennington competed in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Kentucky Speedway before making the nine-hour drive north to Mosport International Raceway near Bowmanville, Ontario.
Awaiting him there was a start at the rear of the field since he was not present on Saturday to qualify his machine. Seemingly working on adrenaline only, he stormed forward and was on the cusp of the top 10 after just eight laps on the 2.459-mile road course.
After cracking the top 10 following green flag pit stops, it apparently wasn't going to get much better for the 2007 championship point standings runner-up. However, an unlikely break was coming his way. Rain began to fall on the track with just a little over 10 laps remaining and during a caution period, the St. Thomas, Ontario native ducked on to pit road and made the switch to grooved rain tires. When everything shook out, Kennington found himself running second to J.R. Fitzpatrick (No. 84 Fitzpatrick Motorsports Chevrolet) at the finish line.
It was a long and exhaustive couple of days, but he is committed to both programs and will do everything in his power to see both succeed.
"I'd like not to make a habit of this kind of travel, but it's worth it on both sides," he said. His Castrol-sponsored Canadian Tire Series car is his bread and butter but, at the same time, he cannot forgo the opportunity to compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
"I can't pass up the chance to race down there, but Castrol and I have been together for a long time and I need to do this, too," he said.
Kennington has a pair of Canadian Tire Series victories to his credit, both coming last season at Barrie (Ont.) Speedway, a bullring of a track at which survival, more than anything else, is the name of the game. Oddly enough, he credits his experiences in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for his success at Barrie.
"Down there, they race hard every second of every race. There is no letting up -- ever. There's no settling into the middle part of the race," he said. "And that is how it is getting up here. We've always raced hard, but the competition is so tight now that you have to be up on the wheel from start to finish."
Driving hard and the tight competition tends to lead to impatience, but the slightest amount of indecision is the difference in winning and not.
"Barrie demands that you be patient because it is so small, but you can't let any opportunity to make a move pass by or it's gone forever and who knows if another chance will come," he said. "The slightest hesitation is costly there. There is a fine line between aggression and patience and you have to be right on that line at Barrie. If you're not, then that could be the difference between winning and 15th place."
The Race: A&W 300
The Place: Barrie Speedway, Barrie, Ont.
The Date: Saturday, June 28
The Time: 8:05 p.m. ET
TV Schedule: 2:30 p.m. ET, July 6 (delayed)
Track Layout: .333-mile tri-oval
Race Purse: $75,692 CAD
2007 Winner: D.J. Kennington
2007 Pole: Mark Dilley
Schedule: Saturday: Practice 11:45 a.m. - 1:45 p.m., Time Trials 4:15 p.m.
Beauchamp Closing The Door On Difficult 2007 Season
There was a question hovering in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio garage area in 2007. Most treated it like an elephant sitting in the corner and let it be, but everyone wondered what was going on with Ron Beauchamp Jr. (No. 60 Mopar/Mobil 1 Dodge). Included in that group was the Beauchamp camp itself.
Last season was a monument to Murphy's Law for the team. They found their way into other people's accidents, had little things -- like differentials -- and big things -- like blown motors -- knock them out of races.
"I'm just glad it's over," said Beauchamp of the 2007 season. "So little went right for us. It was actually kind of amazing."
The last time out at Mosport International Raceway, Beauchamp had his Dodge Avenger in the lead for five laps and after the field cycled through green flag pit stops, he settled into third place with an eye toward his first Canadian Tire Series victory. However, when the rain began to fall, he was caught between surrendering valuable track position and stopping for rain tires.
"We were in third place, so we decided to stay out and hang on, but I spun and ended up in the gravel. I just wanted to stay on the track and get all that I could. The car was great, though," he said.
Despite the 17th-place finish, the performance prior to the weather is what is expected from the multi-time CASCAR Super Series winner.
The first Barrie race last season was one of the few that Beauchamp did not have major problems and finished sixth.
News & Notes
The Race: This event is the third of 13 races on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio schedule. Overall, it is the third visit to the track for the Canadian Tire Series.
The Procedure: The starting field is 24 cars, including provisionals. The first 21 cars will qualify 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: Barrie Speedway opened in 1965 and has made substantial improvements since 1999. At that time, the track was widened and lengthened from a .25-mile oval to its current unique .333-mile tri-oval configuration. The tri-oval and pit road are situated on the backstretch.
The Records: Mark Dilley holds the qualifying record for Barrie Speedway with a lap time of 13.969 seconds (85.819 mph) on June 30, 2007. The 300-lap race record is held by D.J. Kennington. He completed the race on Sept. 8, 2007 in 1 hour, 43 minutes and 59 seconds for an average speed of 57.644 mph.
Two And Counting: D.J. Kennington won both events at Barrie Speedway in 2007. He started second in the July race and came from the seventh position in the September event. In the September race, he was forced to work the throttle with a bungee cable attached to the steering wheel after the recoil spring on the pedal failed.
NASCAR Legend To Be On Hand: Bobby Allison, 1983 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and three-time Daytona 500 winner, will serve as the event's grand marshal. The legendary driver will be available for autographs Saturday afternoon as he celebrates the 25th anniversary of his 1983 title.
Dickies 200 Post-Race Notebook
Alone At The Top, For Now: With his win at Mosport, J.R. Fitzpatrick (No. 84 Fitzpatrick Motorsports Chevrolet) holds the record for most wins in the series' brief history at three, breaking a tie with three other drivers.
Gibbons Switches Gears: Having no financial alliance with General Motors, Peter Gibbons (No. 1 Canadian Tire/Mobil Super) took to the track at Mosport in a Ford as opposed to his normal Chevy. He noted that three of the four road course races in 2007 were won by Fords and decided to make the switch in 2008 for the four non-oval events. Had the rain not started to fall, the switch may have resulted in a win. Leading the race at the time the weather came, Gibbons opted not to forfeit his track position by pitting for rain tires. In the virtual no-win scenario, he was a sitting duck for the cars on grooved tires and had to settle for a ninth-place finish.
High Water Marks: Piloting a stock car for just the fourth time, Alex Tagliani (No. 7 Wal-Mart/Ubisoft Ford), a former open-wheel standout, notched his first Canadian Tire Series top five with a finish in fifth. Peter Klutt (No. 42 Legendary Motorcar Pontiac) scored a NASCAR career-best finish of eighth. And Pierre Bourque (No. 29 Whitlock Motorsports Dodge) equaled his best series finish of seventh established last season in Trois-Rivieres. Road Course Ringers: Robin Buck (No. 88 Active Green+Ross Ford) and Trevor Seibert (No. 69 Lake Excavating Ford) had podium finishes a season ago in road races. This time around, though, both had to retire early with mechanical problems.
Mobil 1 Command Performance of the Race Award: As a reward for his NASCAR Canadian Tire Series victory at Mosport, Fitzpatrick collects $1,500 from Mobil 1 for his effort. He also has wins at SunValley Speedway and Grand Prix Edmonton to his credit.
Mopar Fast Five: This program awards the top five finishing Dodges in the race. In the Dickies 200, D.J. Kennington (No. 17 Castrol/NPP Dodge) finished second and thus earned a $2,000 bonus as the top-finishing Dodge. Scott Steckly (No. 22 Tow Truck in a Box/Erb Group Dodge) finished fourth overall and was the second-highest finishing Dodge, which earned him $1,250. Picking up $1,000 for finishing as the third-highest Dodge was Bourque. Collecting $500 for placing fourth among the Dodge entrants was Doug Brown (No. 10 Haldex Dodge). Rounding out the top five Dodges was Derek Lynch (No. 77 Allied Steel Buildings/Canadian Shield Dodge), which pays him $250.
POWERade Power Move: Kennington improved his position the most over the course of the event. After starting 27th on the grid, he charged through the field en route to his runner-up finish. As a result, he earned a $1,000 award.
Tow Truck in a Box Free Pass Award: In a new program in 2008, the driver who receives a free pass during the event and has the highest finish earns $1,000. Bourque was caught a lap down early in the event, but rebounded for a top-10 finish.
NASCAR Home Tracks: Late Models Rule The Roost At Barrie
Barrie Speedway, in its second season as part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, has long been a proving ground for late model racing in Ontario.
The Classic Pro Tube Late Models are the premier division. Barrie's current .333-mile tri-oval configuration provides the heart-pounding door-to-door racing fans crave and the opportunity to race hard the competitors love.
The 2007 track and Ontario provincial champion, Dwayne Baker, held off Keith McLeod for the title. The two battled all season long, but Baker was able to claim a slim 18-point advantage at season's end.
This season has been more of the same in the late model division. The lead has gone back and forth with Baker currently out front by 21 points. Both have a pair of early season wins, but McLeod holds an edge in top-five and top-10 finishes.
They are not alone atop the standings, though. Gord Shepherd and Dave Lewis are well within striking distance of the 2008 prize and a trip to Las Vegas in November for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series banquet, at which all state and provincial champions will be honored.
Current NASCAR Canadian Tire Series standouts Mark Dilley and John Gaunt both have Barrie Speedway titles on their resume.
The track also races Thunder Car, Pure Stock and Charger classifications under the NASCAR banner.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series serves as the foundation of NASCAR -- grassroots racing across the United States and Canada. Whelen Engineering, a leading manufacturer of automotive, aviation, industrial and emergency vehicle lighting, is the series sponsor. More than 10,000 drivers compete at NASCAR-sanctioned short tracks throughout both countries.
The short-track racing program in NASCAR was founded in 1982. Since its inception, the series has been a successful starting point for the careers of many top drivers. NASCAR stars Greg Biffle, Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Kurt and Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Travis Kvapil, Bobby Labonte, Jamie McMurray and Brian Vickers all began their careers in this series.