J.R. Fitzpatrick earns his first CASCAR Super Series checkered flag in the MOPAR Canada Day 300 at Barrie Speedway BARRIE, ON - On a several occasions during the past few seasons, you got the feeling that it was only a matter of time before J.R.
J.R. Fitzpatrick earns his first CASCAR Super Series checkered flag in the MOPAR Canada Day 300 at Barrie Speedway
BARRIE, ON - On a several occasions during the past few seasons, you got the feeling that it was only a matter of time before J.R. Fitzpatrick would win his first CASCAR Super Series race. On Sunday afternoon at Barrie Speedway, the talented youngster guided his #84 Milwaukee Tools Chevy to victory in the MOPAR Canada Day 300 presented by the Dodge Dealers of Ontario, confirming that he is a serious contender on Canada's top stock car tour.
The Ayr, ON resident lined up fourth on the grid for the third race of the season and cruised comfortably in fourth-place for most of the race before being the beneficiary of some late-race chaos that eliminated the three drivers in front of him within the final five laps of 300-lap race.
During a late-race restart, on lap 295, Fitzpatrick's teammate Don Thomson Jr. was in the lead, in front of DJ Kennington and Mark Dilley. Moments after taking the green flag, Kennington got into the back of Thomson, sending him sideways and into the wall on the backstraight of the 1/3-mile tri-oval speedway. Thomson, the five-time and current National champion was done for the day. And so, it turned out, was Kennington, who was black-flagged by CASCAR officials for causing the incident. That left Dilley in the lead, in front of J.R. Fitzpatrick and Ron Beauchamp Jr.
Moments later, Dilley's Dodge-sponsored Charger was pushed high into the second groove, opening the way for Fitzpatrick to jump into the lead with just two laps to go. From there, he maintained his position in front of Beauchamp's MOPAR Dodge Charger and came home less than one second in front of the Windsor, ON driver. Three-time Super Series National champ Dave Whitlock celebrated his 40th birthday in style by finishing third in the MOPAR Canada Day 300, in his NTN Bower / NMT Dodge Charger.
In addition to Thomson (Home Hardware Chevy), who was scored in 10th-place in the final results, several other championship front-runners had difficulty at Barrie Speedway on Sunday afternoon. Former points leader Kerry Micks (Canadian Detailing Services / Trailers by Jim Bray Ford Taurus) had transmission woes and finished 20th. Two-time National champion and 2005 championship runner-up Peter Gibbons was involved in a crash that sidelines his Canadian Tire Chevy on lap 151; leaving him in 18th-place at the end.
Following three events, J.R. Fitzpatrick leads the Super Series points by just eight points over Milverton, ON's Scott Steckly (542 to 534). NAPA / Autopro Chevy driver Doug Brown is in third with 513 markers. In Sunday's race, Brown repeated his fourth-place performance from the season opener at Barrie, in May, to equal his best-ever result in Super Series action.
After contesting the first three races of the season in Ontario, the CASCAR Super Series will head west for a two-race swing through B.C. and Alberta. On July 15 & 16, the tour will visit Sun Valley Motor Speedway in Vernon, BC. The following week (July 21-23) CASCAR will make its return to Alberta for the G.P. of Edmonton ChampCar weekend.
CASCAR ON TV: Catch the MOPAR Canada Day 300 presented by the Dodge Dealers of Ontario from Barrie Speedway on Saturday, July 15 on SPORTSNET. For information regarding initial airings and replays of Super Series races, please check your local listings or visit www.cascar.ca/schedule/tv_schedule.html.