"I was joking, but I meant it," said Kennington, the 2010 series champ. "I really wanted that first championship for obvious reasons, but once you win one it really gets in your blood to get back. I finished second last year and it wasn't nearly good enough."
Out of St. Thomas, Ont., Kennington has reeled off three consecutive victories and became the first driver in series history to win three races in a row. All three came on half-file ovals – The Speedway at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ont., Delaware (Ont.) Speedway and Motoplex Speedway and Event Park in Vernon, B.C. all told, 13 of his 14 series wins have come on oval tracks.
"We made some changes to our oval car over the winter and they've all worked out, so far," he stated. "We've had some good luck, but we've created some of that luck. The whole crew has worked tirelessly and it's been paying off."
Next up on the docket is a brand new experience on the 2.256-mile temporary circuit at Edmonton City Centre Airport. The last time the series competed in Edmonton in 2010, the track was on the other side of the airport grounds which leads to some questions on how to prepare for the unknown.
"We're hoping to get the car as neutral as it can be so that we can make adjustments during practice," Kennington said. "I don't know much about the new track and I don't think anyone else does either. The biggest thing is to learn the course. Nothing will be automatic. It will be exciting, I'm sure."
After the three wins, Kennington and his No. 17 Castrol Edge/Mahindra Tractors Dodge team has opened a 23-point lead on J.R. Fitzpatrick in the championship standings with seven races remaining on the schedule.
"That's a decent margin with the new points system, but a lot of weird things can happen," he said. "Parts on race cars break all of the time and that can certainly happen to us, so we're just going to keep our heads down and continue to dig. Then, at the end, we'll see how it falls out."
In road-course competition this season Kennington has scored a runner-up finish on the Road Course at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and a fifth-place finish at Circuit ICAR in Mirabel, Que. Three road-course clashes, including Edmonton, remain on the slate of events.
"I'm not a real road-course guy, but we've done pretty well and I hope that continues. Those three points for winning a race are huge and (Fitzpatrick) already has one win on a road course, so I'm nowhere near comfortable."
RACE: Edmonton 100
PLACE: Edmonton (Alberta) City Centre Airport
DATE: Sunday, July 22
TIME: 10:30 a.m. MT
TV SCHEDULE: TSN2, Sat., July 28, 3 p.m. ET; RDS2, Wed., Aug. 22, 10 p.m. ET
TRACK LAYOUT: 2.256-mile road course
2011 WINNER: Event Not Held
2011 POLESITTER: Event Not Held
EVENT SCHEDULE: Friday, 7/20: Practice 3:45-4:45 p.m.; Saturday, 7/21 Practice 10:15-10:45 a.m., 12:15-12:45 p.m., Autograph Session 1:45 p.m., Qualifying 4:50 p.m.; Sunday, 7/22: Pre-Race Ceremonies 10:15 a.m.
EVENT TWITTER HASHTAG: #E100
The Race: This is the sixth event of the 2012 season for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 and the third of five road-course events on the schedule. This is the series' fifth visit to Edmonton.
The Procedure: The starting field is 26 cars, including provisionals. The first 21 cars will qualify through NASCAR Road Race (group) qualifying. The remaining five spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 28 laps covering 63.16 miles (101.66 kilometers).
The Track: A temporary circuit set up at the Edmonton City Centre Airport near the downtown area of Edmonton. Event promoter Octane Motorsports Events of Montreal unveiled a new track in 2011, which extended the old 14-turn, 1.96-mile track to a 2,256-mile, 13-turn configuration that utilizes different airport runways. The new circuit, which incorporates the closed East runway features a 90-degree first turn, hairpin turns in the northwestern (Turn 5) and southwestern (Turn 13) corners and two long straights. Cars run counterclockwise.
The Records: The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series has yet to compete on the new track. On the old circuit the one-lap qualifying record was 80.318 seconds (88.433 mph), set by J.R. Fitzpatrick on July 25, 2010.
The History: The Canadian Tire Series has competed in Edmonton in every year of its existence with the exception of the 2011 season. When the series last visited the Alberta city in 2010 J.R. Fitzpatrick dominated the event by winning from the pole position. He also won the 2007 race. Other race winners are Alex Tagliani (2008) and Andrew Ranger (2009). Ranger also has three starts from the pole position.
EDMONTON RACE NOTES
New Digs: The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 last visited in Edmonton in 2010, but the track location and configuration was different then. This event is the first action on the track for any of the entered drivers. The new track debuted for last season's Edmonton Indy.
Homecoming: Having not competed in Edmonton last season, this is the first opportunity for the Alberta-based drivers to race in their home province. The entry list has six such drivers with five of those being from the Edmonton area – Kelly Admirall (Edmonton), Noel Dowler (Sherwood Park), Kevin Dowler (Sherwood Park), Todd Nichol (St. Albert) and James Van Domselaar (Ft. Saskatchewan). It will be the series debut for the 17-year-old Admiraal.
Together Again: This year's Edmonton Indy is the sixth time that the Canadian Tire Series has been paired with the IZOD IndyCar Series with four of those coming in Edmonton. The other two were in Toronto.
Roadies: Five drivers in the field have won series events on road courses – Robin Buck, J.R. Fitzpatrick, D.J. Kennington, Kerry Micks and Andrew Ranger. Fitzpatrick has two Edmonton wins (2007 and 2010) to his credit while Ranger (2009) has one. Twelve of Ranger's series-best 15 wins have come on road courses.
Family Affair: Kevin and Noel Dowler along with Trevor and Ryley Seibert are father-son duos competing in the Edmonton 100.
LAST TIME OUT: VERNON
First To Three: D.J. Kennington (No. 17 Castrol Edge/Mahindra Tractors Dodge) picked up his third straight win of the 2012 season and became the first driver in series history to win three consecutive races. It was Kennington's first win at the British Columbia track.
That's The Way: Jason Hathaway (No. 3 Snap-on Tools/Rockstar/Vortex Dodge) is bouncing back from a sub-par 2011 season in which he was hampered by an injured wrist. With a runner-up finish in the A&W Cruisin' The Dub 300 he now has strung together three straight top-five performances.
No Place Like Home: British Columbia native Jason White (No. 21 A&W/Bowers & Wilkins Dodge) used his home track advantage to record a fifth-place finish – a series career best. He had finished sixth three times previously with the most recent coming on June 23 at Delaware (Ont.) Speedway.
A Favorite: If it was up to Ron Beauchamp Jr. (No. 60 Mopar/Mobil 1 Dodge) more races would be scheduled at Motoplex Speedway. Of his four series career pole wins, two have come at the half-mile tri-oval.
NEXT TIME OUT: SASKATOON
Although it is a relatively new stop for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1, Auto Clearing Motor Speedway in Saskatoon, Sask., has quickly become a favorite. The racy .333-mile oval has produced three different winners in three visits. Scott Steckly won the inaugural event in 2009 and D.J. Kennington followed in 2010. Last season, Pete Shepherd III used a last-lap pass to get around Kennington for the victory. The Velocity Prairie Thunder presented by Bayer Crop Science is the final event in the series' three-race swing through Western Canada.