Dodge-sponsored Avenger driver Mark Dilley takes second in Sunday's MOPAR 300 at Barrie Speedway BARRIE, ON -- Mark Dilley came within one finishing position of having a perfect night at Barrie Speedway on Sunday evening. The driver of the ...
Dodge-sponsored Avenger driver Mark Dilley takes second in Sunday's MOPAR 300 at Barrie Speedway
BARRIE, ON -- Mark Dilley came within one finishing position of having a perfect night at Barrie Speedway on Sunday evening. The driver of the #9 Dodge-sponsored NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Avenger smashed the track record during afternoon time trials for the MOPAR 300 to earn the pole position for the 300-lap chase around the 1/3-mile tri-oval.
During the race, the #9 Dodge / Mobil1 / Exide / MOPAR / Leland / Wild Wing / CRS Dodge Avenger led twice for a total of 80 laps before ultimately finishing second to fellow Dodge driver DJ Kennington, who took the checkered flag just over a second in front of Dilley.
Dilley, who hails from Barrie, Ontario, calls the high-speed Barrie bullring his hometrack. The veteran driver always seems to do well at the facility, and Sunday's MOPAR 300 on Canada Day was no exception.
"We're pretty happy with this," said Dilley, following the podium celebrations. "All in all, it's a pretty good night for us. We sat on the pole and our Dodge Avenger was definitely fast. When I got out front, I could pretty well pull away at will. But it's still tough coming back through the field after a pit stop."
Dilley had even more reason to smile after the race given that his runner-up finish lifted him into a tie for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series points lead with stock car newcomer Andrew Ranger. Both have accumulated 500 points to date.
The race was slowed by 16 caution flags, each of which triggered a subsequent restart. Under NASCAR race procedures, the top two runners are 'doubled up' on the front row, placing the leader on the inside of the front row and the second-place driver immediately to his right. While exciting for the fans, the restarts were a source of concern for Dilley and several others. "The restarts were very tough tonight. It's great for the fans to have side-by-side restarts, but they're very difficult on a track this size. You've got 550 horsepower cars and everyone has to make their gear shifts at the right time. I guess that's the NASCAR way, but it's tough on equipment."
In terms of pit strategy for the #9 Dodge-sponsored Avenger, the team made its lone stops just after the midway point of the race, coming to pit road twice during the same caution period.
"I stopped twice under one caution to change all four tires. The car was a little bit tight with the new fuel load and tires but it came back to me after we burned some fuel. The guys on the crew did a great job and just keep getting better and better every week."
Discussing his new qualifying record of 13.969 seconds around the high-banked Barrie track, Dilley said, "It was pretty neat to break the track record for Barrie Speedway. I was happy to put on a good show for all of the people from Dodge and MOPAR, as well as for all our fans at Barrie. We'll see if we can do it again [set another track record] in September." The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series returns to the track on September 8 for its second of two appearances this season.
BARRIE NOTEBOOK: It was a 'one-two' sweep for Dodge drivers in the MOPAR 300 at Barrie Speedway on Canada Day (July 1). DJ Kennington led Mark Dilley across the finish line at the end of 300 laps. Third-place went to five-time Canadian National stock car champ Don Thomson Jr. The grandstands were packed for the Barrie event, which saw 20 cars take the initial green flag. Series points leader Andrew Ranger finished fifth in his first-ever visit to the challenging short track.
LOOKING AHEAD: NASCAR heads out west for a pair Next, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series caravan heads out west to Vernon, British Columbia for a July 15 race at Sun Valley Speedway. The BC Dodge Dealers Dodge Avenger 300 is the first of two races on the western swing, which will conclude the following weekend (July 21) with an appearance at the Grand Prix of Edmonton (AB).