NASCAR Canadian Tire Series News & Notes - Cayuga Motor Speedway * Coke Zero 200 presented by Sicard Holiday Campers Notebook * GP3R 100 Post-Race Notebook * Ranger Helps Kennington Carry The Banner NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Headed For...
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series News & Notes - Cayuga Motor Speedway
* Coke Zero 200 presented by Sicard Holiday Campers Notebook
* GP3R 100 Post-Race Notebook
* Ranger Helps Kennington Carry The Banner
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Headed For Stretch Run
Just four races remain in the 2008 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio season and Scott Steckly continues his stranglehold on the top position in the points standings.
Steckly (No. 22 Tow Truck in a Box/Erb Group Dodge) assumed command of the points standings by winning the season opener in May at Cayuga Motor Speedway. He further cemented his grip by winning two of the next three events and has not come close to relinquishing the lead since that hot start.
The only bobble, to date, came earlier this month at Mosport Speedway where a blown motor resulted in a finish of 21st. Steckly, out of Milverton, Ont., was well on his way to Victory Lane that day having led the first 123 laps of the 200-lap race before having to retire his car amid a cloud of smoke.
Despite Steckly's seven podium finishes in nine races this season, the drivers closest to him in the points standings are not willing to concede anything.
D.J. Kennington (No. 17 Castrol/NPP Dodge) has been right there with Steckly all season long with both having eight top-five finishes this season. Kennington has yet win a race after notching a pair of wins last season, both at Barrie Speedway.
"This is a crazy sport and anything can happen," said Kennington. "He hasn't shown any signs of letting up, but we'll be right there in case he does."
The Mosport Speedway event three weeks ago was dangerously close to being scrubbed due to weather, but Kennington made his feelings clear on the subject.
"No way! I'm going to need every race we have to catch (Steckly)," he said.
Joining Kennington in pursuit of the leader is defending champion Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Wal-Mart/Tide Ford), winner of two of the last three series events. By virtue of winning the Montreal and Trois-Rivieres events, Ranger has moved into third place in the standings, 124 points in back of Steckly and just 11 behind Kennington.
"We won the two events, but (Steckly) finished just behind, so we're not picking up as much ground as I'd like," said Ranger. "Steckly has just been so good all season, but we're not quitting."
While the other teams continue to throw caution to the wind in a shot for the big score, Steckly is left in a position that he does not particularly like -- big-picture racing.
"I know we're not supposed to look ahead and think like this, but we're trying to win this championship. We have to aware of the guys with nothing to lose," he said.
In the final lap at Trois-Rivieres, Steckly could have lost several positions as a result of J.R. Fitzpatrick's (No. 84 Fitzpatrick Motorsports Chevrolet) full-speed-ahead attempt for victory.
"He's not in the points race. He's out here to win races just like he should be, but we're not willing to take those same chances right now," Steckly said. "I know that sounds wrong, but that's just how it is."
The final four races of the season come on oval tracks. Three of those are in Ontario with the remaining long trip being to Nova Scotia's Riverside International Speedway.
The Race: Coke Zero 200 presented by Sicard Holiday Campers
The Place: Cayuga Motor Speedway, Hamilton, Ontario
The Date: Saturday, Aug. 30
The Time: 7:35 p.m. ET
TV Schedule: TSN, 11 a.m., Sept. 6 (delayed)
Track Layout: .625-mile paved oval
Race Purse: $76,557 CAD
2007 Winner: Derek Lynch
2007 Pole: Don Thomson Jr.
Schedule: Practice 2-3 p.m., Time Trials 5:15 p.m.
Lynch Looks To Make Another Late Season Push
Exactly a year ago, Derek Lynch (No. 77 Allied Steel Buildings/Canadian Shield Dodge) sat ninth in the championship points standings with four races to go in the season.
He then proceeded to click four solid performances, including a win at Cayuga Motor Speedway and three top-five finishes, to close out the season. The ultimate result was a fifth-place finish in the final standings.
With all the road-course events in the books, no one is happier than Lynch and his team. Their road-course program admittedly has had its share of problems this year and last.
"We gave away too many points on the road courses," said Lynch. "Whether it was an accident or a mechanical failure of some type, some were our fault and others weren't. That's the way it goes in racing, but we need to change that trend."
Just like last season, the final four races are on oval tracks, which suits Lynch just fine.
"We made our move last year starting with the win in the second Cayuga race and it set the tone for the rest of the season for the team," Lynch said. "Our setups and preparation were good. We felt very comfortable with what we had learned throughout the year and they are all tracks where our strengths play out well."
This year, Lynch holds the 10th position in the points standings and he wants to make another strong push as the season winds down.
News & Notes
The Race: This event is the 10th of 13 races on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio schedule. It is the series' fourth visit to the track.
The Procedure: The starting field is 24 cars, including provisionals. The first 21 cars will be determined from two-lap time trials. The remaining three spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 200 laps (125 miles).
The Track: The .625-mile oval has been home to some of Canada's top motorsports events since its opening in 1966. The track is nestled on a nearly 300-acre track situated west of Hamilton, Ontario. Cayuga has hosted some of stock-car racing biggest names, such as Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip, Bill Elliott and Bobby Allison.
The Records: The one-lap qualifying record for the Canadian Tire Series is 20.785 seconds (108.251 mph) set by D.J. Kennington on May 26, 2007. The 200-lap race record is held by Derek Lynch at 1 hour, 52 minutes, 39 seconds set Sept. 1, 2007 for an average speed of 66.578 mph.
A Season Ago: Lynch took advantage of some late-race contact between Jim Lapcevich and Peter Gibbons to collect his first NASCAR Canadian Tire Series victory. Don Thomson Jr. started on the pole but was knocked out of contention early due to an accident after just seven laps. Eventual series champion Andrew Ranger led a race-high 94 laps before finishing as runner-up to Lynch. A series record 10 drivers led the event as they swapped the lead 14 times on the night.
GP3R 100 Post-Race Notebook
Cleaning Up Unfinished Business: After a pair of narrow defeats in 2007, Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Wal-Mart/Tide Ford) picked up wins in both Quebec road-course events this year, Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. Ranger has now won on three of the four road courses on the Canadian Tire Series schedule with the two Quebec tracks and Mosport International Raceway, leaving only Edmonton's Rexall Speedway as unconquered territory.
Back In The Saddle: After suffering an engine failure at Mosport Speedway and finishing 21st, Scott Steckly (No. 22 Tow Truck in a Box/Erb Group Dodge) returned to the front of the field in Trois-Rivieres. With his second-place finish, Steckly has now finished on the podium seven times in nine races this season.
Career Day For Hathaway: With his third-place effort, Jason Hathaway (No. 3 Snap-on Tools/Super 8 Dodge) notched his NASCAR Canadian Tire Series finish. His previous career-best finish was ninth on a pair of occasions including this year at Mosport Speedway earlier this month.
Two-For-Two: Trois-Rivieres native Jean Francois Dumoulin (No. 07 Maskimo/Bellemare Pontiac) recorded his second Canadian Tire Series top 10 in as many starts. He has only competed in the two Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres events and followed up last year's finish in 10th with a seventh-place effort this year.
Mobil 1 Command Performance of the Race Award: As a reward for his NASCAR Canadian Tire Series victory at Trois-Rivieres, Ranger collects $1,500 from Mobil 1 for his effort.
Mopar Fast Five: This program awards the top five finishing Dodges in the race. In the GP3R 100, Steckly, crossing the line in second, was the highest-finishing Dodge and thus earned a $2,000 bonus. It was the seventh time this year for Steckly to earn top honors in this category. Hathaway finished third 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 D.J. Kennington (No. 17 Castrol/Haldex Dodge). Collecting $500 for placing fourth among the Dodge entrants was John Gaunt (No. 12 Centennial Chrysler Dodge). Rounding out the top five Dodges was Brad Graham (No. 19 Full Throttle Energy Drink/ Logel's Auto Parts /Challenger Motor Freight Dodge), who receives $250.
POWERade Power Move: Improving his position the most over the course of the race was Kennington. After starting 26th on the grid, he worked his way forward and finished fourth. As a result, he earned the $1,000 award. In actuality, he started 28th after having to move to the rear of his line due to a driver change. Doug Brown practiced and qualified the Castrol/Haldex Dodge while Kennington was competing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Michigan International Speedway.
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 wins the award. Kerry Micks (No. 02 Beyond Digital Imaging Ford) found himself a lap down early, but rebounded to finish ninth, his seventh top 10 of the season. This was the first time for Micks to collect the $1,000 award this season.
In Case You Missed It: TSN's coverage of the GP3R 100 will premiere on Sunday, Aug. 31 at 1 a.m. ET.
Ranger Helps Kennington Carry Canadian Tire Series Banner
D.J. Kennington is no longer the lone NASCAR Canadian Tire Series double-duty driver in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. He is joined by Andrew Ranger, who will finish out the bulk of the NASCAR Nationwide Series season in the No. 22 Dodge Charger out of the Fitz Motorsports stable.
Chances to race in NASCAR's top three series are not easy to come by and Ranger is fully aware of the stakes in this game.
"To race in (the NASCAR Nationwide Series) is a new challenge for me and a great opportunity to kick my NASCAR career in high gear. I know how much this opportunity means and I will do everything I can to earn my place here," he said.
The speed of the more powerful cars on bigger tracks than those of the Canadian Tire Series likely won't intimidate the former Champ Car standout in which top speeds were routinely greater than 200 mph.
"I think he'll do fine with the speeds and the tracks considering where he came from, but he will have to adjust to the car itself and the level of competition," said Kennington. "It's great that he got this opportunity and he won't be the last. There are a lot of great racers in Canada."
After his first foray into NASCAR Nationwide Series competition on the familiar, to him, road course of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, it was on to the high-banked turns of Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and a first opportunity on an oval track where he finished 19th.
His next outing will come at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway Sept. 5 with five dates to follow on a variety of tracks including Lowe's Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway. Like Kennington, Ranger's NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule will work around the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.