DON THOMSON, JR. WINS INNAUGURAL NASCAR CANADIAN TIRE SERIES EVENT HAGERSVILLE, Ontario (May 27, 2007) - The goal for every driver was evident Saturday night at Cayuga Speedway Park located southwest of Hamilton, Ontario and that was to win...
DON THOMSON, JR. WINS INNAUGURAL NASCAR CANADIAN TIRE SERIES EVENT
HAGERSVILLE, Ontario (May 27, 2007) - The goal for every driver was evident Saturday night at Cayuga Speedway Park located southwest of Hamilton, Ontario and that was to win the Dodge Dealers 200, the inaugural race for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio.
"I wanted to win this race," said Don Thomson, Jr., the man who picked up the historic win. "And it looked like a lot of other guys did, too."
The competition was stout all the way through the field evidenced by 16 lead changes involving eight different drivers. Thomson ended up leading the most laps with 77, which covered six different times as the race leader.
Probably the biggest question mark heading into the event was the new wider Goodyear tire mandated by NASCAR. Several teams tested with the tire at Cayuga two weeks ago, but there still seems to be a measure of unknown with these tires.
"We're getting a handle on it," said Thomson, the driver of the No. 4 Home Hardware Chevrolet. "We adjusted on it all day and, finally, after that last pit stop it felt pretty good."
Thomson, Jr. already is the answer to several Canadian stock car racing trivia questions, but perhaps none larger in scope as, who won the first NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race. "It's really big and I dedicate it to my owner John Fitzpatrick. He has been so vital to racing in Canada. No one deserves this more."
Mark Dilley tried desperately to take advantage of a green-white-checkered finish by doing everything in his power to get his No. 9 Dodge/Wild Wing Dodge around the machine of Thomson, but he couldn't make it happen crossing the finish line just 0.126 seconds behind.
"It was a tough, competitive race and it was a first race," said Dilley. "We're still learning on this new tire and considering everything, we're pretty happy with the night. I really would have loved winning this one."
Veteran driver Peter Gibbons drove his No. 1 Canadian Tire/Master Craft Chevrolet to a third-place finish. He was followed by series newcomer Andrew Ranger in the Wal-Mart/Tide Ford. Ranger finished 10th in the final point standings a season ago in the Champ Car World Series, but has made the switch over to stock car racing and got the season off to a solid start with a top-five effort. Finishing fifth in the No. 77 Canadian Shield Dodge was Derek Lynch.
John Gaunt, Jason Hathaway, Joey McColm, Kent Nuhn and Kerry Micks rounded out the top 10.
D.J. Kennington won the Bud Pole Award for the race with a qualifying time of 20.785 seconds on the 5/8-mile oval which translates out to an average speed of 108.251 mph. "I thought that the [No. 17] Castrol Dodge would be strong, but I wasn't sure we could beat [J.R. Fitzpatrick's] time." Fitzpatrick was second quick at 20.907 seconds (107.619).
"It's really an honor to win the first one and really gets us off on the right foot," said Kennington.
The good start was short lived for Kennington, who passed up an opportunity to race in the NASCAR Busch Series event at Lowe's Motor Speedway over the weekend due to his commitment to the Canadian Tire Series. After leading the first lap, Kennington's piece broke a rear trailing arm forcing him to the pits and out of contention for that coveted first win.
The Canadian Tire Series is back on the track June 16-17 to tackle the road course at Mosport International Raceway near Bowmanville, Ontario.