Points leader Kennington looks to repeat at Mosport. LONDON, ON - The first CASCAR Super Series road course race of the season takes place this weekend at Mosport Int'l Raceway. Qualifying for the 'NAPA Auto Parts presents the Clarington 250' is...
Points leader Kennington looks to repeat at Mosport.
LONDON, ON - The first CASCAR Super Series road course race of the season takes place this weekend at Mosport Int'l Raceway. Qualifying for the 'NAPA Auto Parts presents the Clarington 250' is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, while the green flag for Sunday afternoon's 250 km feature race will fly at 2 p.m.
The first three events of the 2002 season have all been contested on ovals. The Mosport race is the first of three road races on the calendar. Heading into the weekend, Castrol Intrepid racer DJ Kennington has pretty much had it all his way this season. The defending winner of the Mosport road course event already has several significant achievements to his credit in '02. The St. Thomas, ON resident sat on the pole for the Delaware season opener, and won a week later at Peterborough. His third-place showing two weekends ago at Montreal's Autodrome St-Eustache maintained his hold on the CASCAR Super Series points race, the one-quarter of the way through the current campaign.
Chasing Kennington - in the points and on the track - will be several of the usual suspects. Drivers like Peter Gibbons, Kevin Dowler, Al Turner, Kerry Micks, Robin Buck, the Lapcevich brothers (Jim and Jeff) and Don Thomson Jr., are prime examples of competitors who have a proven ability to perform on the road courses, as well as on the ovals.
In Thomson's case, the defending CASCAR Super Series champion is heading to the legendary 2.459-mile, 10-turn track with a brand new Home Hardware Chevy. According to Thomson, he's not concerned. "I've got a brand new road course car sitting here; it's never even been tested. I don't have a problem with that at all. I prepare the cars myself. 'Knock on wood'... I take a lot of care and pride in being able to build a new car, put it on the track, and have it be good right out of the box. I would like to have tested, but our schedule didn't allow it. I know a lot of guys who have been out testing, but I've been around there a few times before. As long as we have no oil leaks or suspension problems, we should be good. Last year, we didn't test there, either. But after the first practice session, I was quickest and we ended up qualifying fourth."
Thomson also knows that there are special challenges associated with the track's layout. "Mosport is the quickest place we race at. After coming out of [turn] 5, there was a rumour last year that they had a gun on 'Gib [Peter Gibbons] and he was doing 170 mph on the long straight."
In spite of this, Thomson doesn't attack the race any differently than the other road races on the schedule. The limited track time is an accepted part of the road course events. "I don't approach the Mosport race any different than any other road course race. This coming weekend, we have one, 25-minute practice on Saturday, and then we're going qualifying. It's not a whole lot different that the Toronto Molson Indy. We used to have the Fridays to practice, but not anymore. You've got to be ready to go when you unload."
According to UFCW Taurus driver, Kerry Micks, there is one important difference between the Mosport race and the other, shorter Indy events. "This is more of an endurance race than at the Indys. You have to make sure you have a car that is going to stay together for the whole distance. You have to be more patient at Mosport than the Toronto Indy, because of the length of the race."
MOSPORT INT'L RACEWAY SCHEDULE:
SATURDAY, JUNE 15
CASCAR Practice 10:20 a.m.
CASCAR Qualifying Session #1 1:00 p.m.
CASCAR Qualifying Session #2 4:45 p.m.
SUNDAY, JUNE 16
CASCAR Driver Autograph Session 12:00 p.m.
START: 'THE NAPA AUTO PARTS PRESENTS THE CLARINGTON 250' 2:00 p.m.