Kennington Eyes The Prize In 2010 Opening the 2010 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 season at Delaware (Ont.) Speedway is just fine with DJ Kennington after collecting the win in the series' inaugural visit to the half-mile ...
Kennington Eyes The Prize In 2010
Opening the 2010 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 season at Delaware (Ont.) Speedway is just fine with DJ Kennington after collecting the win in the series' inaugural visit to the half-mile track last season.
Kennington (No. 17 Castrol Edge Dodge), racing out of nearby St. Thomas, Ont., will debut a new race car with a new gold and black paint scheme breaking away from his familiar green look.
"The car looks great. It's a little weird, though. I've had a green car for as long as I can remember,: said Kennington. "I've never bought into that superstition about green race cars. Maybe we'll see if there is anything to that."
The car has performed well in pre-season testing, including a May 18 session at Delaware, leaving Kennington optimistic about the upcoming season.
"We were really fast in the Delaware test. We showed more than I would have liked, but everything felt really good," he said.
Winning last season at Delaware, his home track, was special for a couple of reasons. First, obviously, it was in front of his fans, friends and family, but, more importantly, it was his first touring series victory at the track dating back to his CASCAR days. Kennington first raced at there two days after getting his driver's license at the age of 16.
"That win was awesome," he said. "It's always great to win at home, but it was even better to finally do it. I had finished second there something like seven times."
But his attention now is firmly focused on the 2010 season and his quest for that elusive series title.
"If Andrew (Ranger) actually is not going to be able to defend, then it's going to be a free for all," Kennington said.
And it all starts in Delaware.
"That's a great place to start the year off for us. It's close to home and we did well there last year," he said. "It's really important to get off to a good start. With 13 races, you get one mulligan, maybe. Two bad showings and you are done."
Kennington holds the series record for career top-five finishes with 26 (out of 38 events in series history), five more than second-place Scott Steckly. DNFs have been his undoing. In 2010, Kennington will have to limit those and add to his series career total of four victories to end up where he wants to come the end of September.
"We want to bring a solid car every time out and win races when the opportunity comes," he said. "If we do that, then everything else will take care of itself. It has been a long off season, though. Everyone is ready for Delaware."
The Race: Delaware 200
The Place: Delaware (Ont.) Speedway
The Date: Saturday, June 5
The Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
The Distance: 200 laps / 100 miles
Race Purse: $85,875 CAD
TV Schedule: TSN, June 12, 2 p.m. ET
2009 Winner: DJ Kennington
2009 Polesitter: Mark Dilley
Practice 1:30-2:30 p.m.; Qualifying 5:15 p.m.
No Clear Cut Favorite In 2010
With two-time and defending NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 champion Andrew Ranger slated to spend the bulk of his season racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in the U.S., the position of title favorite is wide open.
After winning six of 13 races in 2009, Ranger would have clearly been the odds-on favorite heading into the season. Now, it is up to someone else to step up and make a case.
On paper, DJ Kennington is the logical choice. Two times--2007 and 2009--he finished as the runner-up to Ranger in points to go along with a third-place effort in Scott Steckly's championship season of 2008.
Not to be discounted is Steckly. He clearly knows the way having made it to Victory Lane seven times in three seasons including a pair of wins a season ago.
By the same token, the Fitzpatrick Motorsports teammates of Don Thomson Jr., a five-time CASCAR national champion, and JR Fitzpatrick, also a former CASCAR titlist, cannot be ignored.
Perhaps relative newcomer Anthony Simone will continue his rapid improvement or series veterans like Ron Beauchamp Jr., Kerry Micks, Jason Hathaway or Mark Dilley will jump at the opportunity.
At any rate, the Delaware 200 winner will have the upper hand in the seemingly long, but short, in reality, 13-race series schedule.
The Race: This event is the first of 13 races in the 2010 season and kicks off the fourth season for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1. It is the series' second visit to the track. It is the first season opener at the track. The 2007 and 2008 season got underway at Cayuga Motor Speedway while last season's first event was held at Autodrome St. Eustache.
The Procedure: The starting field is 26 cars, including provisionals. The first 23 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 (100 miles).
The Track: Delaware Speedway is a half-mile, paved stock-car track located just west of London, Ontario. For over 50 years, Delaware Speedway has been the home to some of the finest stock car racing in Canada. Its unique natural amphitheatre-like setting allows maximum enjoyment for the fans. The track has undergone extensive remodeling over the past two years under the ownership of Arlen Scherba.
The Records: The one-lap qualifying record for the Canadian Tire Series is 19.133 seconds (94.078 mph), set by Mark Dilley on June 6, 2009. The 200-lap race record is held by DJ Kennington at 2 hours, 11 minutes, 18 seconds set on the same date for an average speed of 50.495 mph. The race was extended to 221 laps to provide a green-flag finish.
Last Year: In the series' first visit to Delaware Speedway, Kennington picked up the win at his home track. The elusive victory was his first touring series triumph at Delaware, dating back to his CASCAR days. And it was not easy to come by as he held off Don Thomson Jr. and Ron Beauchamp Jr. in three attempts at a green-white-checkered finish. Beauchamp placed second while Scott Steckly finished in third place.
Also On Tap: In addition to the Canadian Tire Series event, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series will be in full swing at Delaware Speedway. On Friday night, NASCAR Late Models and the Demar Aggregate Trucks will be in action. The Delaware Super Stocks will be on the track for a 50-lap feature just prior to the main event on Saturday evening.
NCATS Notebook: Odds And Ends
Season Four: The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 is beginning its fourth season. With 38 races in the record books, the series is slated to run its 50th event later in the season at Riverside International Speedway in Antigonish, N.S. Andrew Ranger is the current leader in wins with nine with Scott Steckly just behind with seven. The two former series champions have won an amazing 42 percent of the races.
Rule Book 101: Most of the race procedures for the Canadian Tire Series remain unchanged for the 2010 season, but there are a few notable exceptions.
* Leader Chooses - While double-file restarts were a part of NASCAR's touring divisions well before they were adopted in the top three series last year, there is one feature to the big three series' restart rule that has trickled down to the touring level. The race leader, including the polesitter, now gets to choose, with one pace lap left, whether to restart on the inside or outside lane. Previously, the leader always started inside.
* Changes To Late-Race Restarts - Speaking of double-file restarts, they'll now be in effect throughout the entire race in 2010. Previously, restarts inside 10 laps to go were single-file. There was also no free pass car with a caution inside 10 laps to go previously, but in 2010 the beneficiary rule applies throughout the event.
* Five Over the Wall - This season, series teams will be allowed five pit crew members in the car servicing area during pit stops. Teams were previously limited to four over the wall. Additionally, teams will continue only changing tires or adding fuel on a single stop. In other words, on a single caution, teams can stop once to change tires and come back around to add fuel, or vice versa.
New Looks: Several teams will sport new looks in 2010. Mark Dilley now carries the colors of PartSource while Kerry Micks has added Dickies as a primary sponsor to his team. Both of these moves are direct results of the retirement of Dave Whitlock and the dissolution of Whitlock Motorsports. Jason Hathaway has added Rockstar Energy Drink to his stable of sponsors. John Gaunt has teamed with his brother, Marty, to form Gaunt Brothers Racing which will allow the No. 11 Dodge to enter every event in 2010. And Joey McColm is nearing a deal to participate in all 13 events.
Continuing On: Signing extensions over the winter were: Jason White with A&W, Jeff Lapcevich with Tim Hortons and Ron Beauchamp Jr. with Mopar.
Full Timers: A pair of drivers, Steve Mathews and Derek White, who both ran limited schedules in 2009, have announced that they will compete in all 13 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series events this season. White has entered a couple NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races this season. Joey McColm and Pete Shepherd III have a pieces of the puzzle to put together before they can officially commit to all the events.
Home Tracks Spotlight: Sheridan Looks For Just A Little More In 2010
Ron Sheridan is going to make his NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 debut on June 5 in the Delaware 200, but, for him, it may not be the biggest race of the night as the NASCAR Late Models will take to the track just prior to the main event.
After losing the track championship, a year ago, to Steve Robblee by just 16 points, Sheridan, racing out of Mt. Brydges, Ont., is on the hunt for his first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series title.
The season for the NASCAR Late Model division got underway on May 14 in which Sheridan got a jump on the other competitors. He took over the lead on Lap 26 after Robblee and Mark Watson tangled in Turn 3. He went on to lead the rest of the way en route to the win, but there is still work to do.
The season's second event resulted in a victory for Watson, his first triumph in a feature, while Sheridan placed fourth despite a late charge in his No. 52 Belfor Restoration Chevrolet.
On the third evening of action, Scott Lindsay and Jesse Kennedy took the checkers on a doubleheader night with Sheridan notching third and eighth-place finishes.
After four races, Robblee leads the point standings by 10 points over Sheridan. Kennedy and Lindsay lurk just behind in third and fourth, respectively. The four are separated by just 15 points. Watson along with a host of other competitors are well within striking distance with the meat of the schedule yet to come.
Oddly enough, the only driver in that top foursome without a win, to date, this season is Robblee.
It's sure to be a battle that will go down to the wire in Delaware Speedway's premier division in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
Up Next: Mosport Int'l Raceway
The annual visit to Mosport International Raceway is always an early-season highlight. It is the first of five NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 events held on road courses this year.
Nestled in the hills near Bowmanville, Ont., east of Toronto, Mosport International Raceway has played host to some of motorsports' largest events since it opened in 1961 including Formula 1 and the IndyCar Series.
A new event sponsor is on board this time around. The big weekend of action at the legendary 2.459-mile permanent road course is named the Vortex Brake Pads 200 with practice and qualifying slated for Saturday, June 12 and the race on Sunday.
Last season, Andrew Ranger thoroughly dominated the weekend. He established a new track record in qualifying and went on to win the race the next day by leading 31 of the race's 51 laps. It was his second win in three attempts at the track. Anthony Simone scored his first podium finish in second followed by JR Fitzpatrick in third.