Driving the no 22 Dodge sponsored by Canadian Tire stories, Scott Steckly drove a strong season in 2015 to capture his fourth NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 title over the series’ nine seasons.
The Ontarian veteran was, of course, very pleased with the way things unfolded last year. “The first two championships we went into the last two races of the season with a decent lead, so we were defending the points,” Steckly declared. “The third one we were coming from behind so we knew exactly what we had to do and that was to win the race.
“This fourth one I felt was the hardest because the lead was so small we had to race hard to beat the other contenders, but we also had to race smart because we couldn’t afford to get in a wreck or do something stupid that would cost us a bunch of points.”
Steckly is known to be very comfortable on ovals, but this season he proved to be just as strong on the road courses.
“Our team is very solid,” Steckly explained. “It’s a great group of guys. Everybody has their job and knows what to do. We’ve been together so long everybody knows how to work together.”
Despite unusual setbacks in the season’s first two events—the opening round at Canadian Motorsport Park and Autodrome Chaudiere, Quebec—Steckly’s team methodically worked its way back into the championship picture. The key element to the championship campaign was a pole and victories sweep during the annual Western Swing to Edmonton International Raceway, in Alberta, and Auto Clearing Motor Speedway, in Saskatchewan.
A new momentum
“The opening race of the year at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park we very easily could have won, the first oval race at Autodrome Chaudiere we also could have won as we led and had a mechanical failure,” Steckly said. “Right from the start of the season the performance was there, we just didn’t have the results. Once we went out west the results came, and we capitalized on it from there.”
Western wins in Alberta and Saskatchewan gave Steckly the points lead for the first time of the season. A lead he would keep until the end.
That’s not to say he wasn’t challenged. Jason Hathaway won the penultimate race of the year at CTMP to cut Steckly’s lead to nine heading into the finale at Kawartha Speedway, where he turned in a dominant winning performance as well.
That’s where the battle-tested experience comes into play. Steckly and his crew remained focused and fast. The team finished second to Hathaway on the track, but edged him by four points in the race for the title.
“The way the team performed at Kawartha was great,” Steckly said. “We’ve always done well there and we knew that unless something happened that we could run up front.
“The next-to-last race at CTMP was the tough one. We would like to have finished better in that race, but we also had to protect the points lead, so that was probably the most stressful race.”
When the dust settled at Kawartha, the flagship car for the 22 Racing organization had produced three wins and 10 top 10s in 11 outings to extend Steckly’s series record for championships to four.
“It’s a pretty good feeling to be one of the few guys that have four championships, and it’s a great honour to be mentioned along with them,” Steckly said. “I’m very privileged, proud and thankful of everyone that supports me and allows it to all happen.”
Climbing behind the wheel isn’t Steckly’s only obligation though, which makes his accomplishments that much more admirable. He’s also the owner and operator of 22 Racing, which fielded a full-time entry for Alex Tagliani as well as a third car part-time in 2015.
Despite the workload, the 43-year-old Steckly is perhaps hitting his career peak. One of three ironmen that have competed in each of the 109 all-time Canadian Tire Series events, Steckly is now tied in second place for wins (19) and in first for poles (17), all thanks to his 2015 performance.
From NASCAR.com press release