For the second consecutive season, Canadian racer D.J. Kennington will attempt to run the Daytona 500 with Gaunt Brothers Racing.
The team announced on Monday it will field the No. 96 Toyota for Kennington, a two-time champion in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series in Canada, for the 60th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18 at Daytona International Speedway.
Last season, the dup made the field and started 28th and finished 36th after Kennington was collected in a wreck after 127 of 200 laps.
The team, owned by Canadian Marty Gaunt, does not have a charter in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will attempt to be claim one of the four “open” spots in the 40-car field.
British Columbia-based Lordco Auto Parts and Castrol (Wakefield Canada), a longtime Kennington partner, will co-sponsor the effort.
“We're honored to have Lordco and Castrol return with Gaunt Brothers Racing for the 2018 Daytona 500,” said Gaunt. "Both companies are leaders in the automotive industry, and they appreciate the value that racing brings to their programs. Their support of D.J. and his racing career further demonstrates their commitment to the sport of auto racing.
“Last year was an exciting time for all of us and we look to improve on where we left off. The 500 is such an iconic event; to have two Canadian companies, along with a Canadian driver, in the Great American Race again makes it a special event for our entire team.”
Hailing from St. Thomas, Ontario, Kennington last year became the first Canadian to compete in the Daytona 500 in 29 years. A day later, Member of Parliament Karen Vecchio officially recognized the driver and team’s feat on the floor of Canada's House of Commons.
Kennington, 40, has made 62 career starts in NASCAR’s three national series, with a best Cup Series finish of 26th coming last fall at Phoenix.
“Last year was an awesome experience for my sponsors, Lordco and Castrol, and me. We knew once it was over, we wanted to do it again,” said Kennington. “Marty and everybody at GBR is pulling out all the stops for us this year.
“I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the Lordco/Castrol Toyota Camry and seeing the difference a year makes.”