Canadian drivers ready to compete in Daytona

Kennington, Gosselin lead group of drivers slated to race over the next 10 days in the hometown of NASCAR

Canadian drivers ready to compete in Daytona
D.J. Kennington
D.J. Kennington, Gaunt Brothers Racing paint scheme
Mario Gosselin, Chevrolet
Mario Gosselin, King Autosport Chevrolet
Stewart Friesen
Stewart Friesen, Chevrolet
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Some have been here before while others are making their first attempt to compete at Daytona International Speedway. Nonetheless, Canada will be represented well with four drivers competing in four different NASCAR series.

Two-time NASCAR Pinty’s Series champion D.J. Kennington begins his quest to start his first Daytona 500 with practice and qualifying this weekend for the ‘Great American Race’ teaming up with Gaunt Brothers Racing.

Kennington is no stranger to NASCAR national series competition having made 50 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts since 2006 and also five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts. The St. Thomas Ontario native made his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start last November at Phoenix International Raceway.

"As the Daytona 500 is called 'The Great American Race,' our team will be considered the 'Great Canadian Invasion,'" joked Kennington. "I'm definitely ready to take this on. I'm excited to be running the first race with Monster Energy as the series sponsor, and I love how the program came together with Castrol, Lordco and the Gaunts."

Gosselin, who won a NASCAR Pinty’s Series championship as crew chief for driver L.P. Dumoulin in 2014, also has a lot of experience competing in NASCAR’s national series. The Sainte-Marie, Quebec native started 20 NASCAR Xfinity Series races last season and has made 84 career starts in the top three NASCAR national series.

He’s entered in the PowerShares QQQ 300 and will try to improve on his best career finish in the NASCAR Xfinity Series of 15th he scored at Daytona in this race in 2015.

After making six starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2016, Stewart Friesen will compete full-time this season for HalMar-Friesen Racing.

The Niagara On The Lake, Ontario native teamed up with Chris Larsen to form the team that will be managed by NASCAR veteran Tommy Baldwin.

Friesen’s best finish last season in a truck came at New Hampshire Motor Speedway finishing 13th.

Balcaen makes touring series debut

The final Canadian driver competing this week will be Amber Balcaen. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native will drive the No. 39 car for Martin-McClure Racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East this season.

The Jet Tools 150 at New Smyrna Speedway will be the first event of the season held Sunday, Feb. 19 about 20 miles south of Daytona International Speedway.

In 2016, the third-generation driver competed in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Motor Mile Speedway in Virginia winning a race and Rookie of the Year honors at the track.

 

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