DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 12, 2013) – Jason Hathaway is out of the fringe and into the mix.
Always on the edge of contention, but never quite in the thick of it would be the best way to describe Hathaway until this year. With four races remaining this season the Dutton, Ont., driver already has established a career-high in top-five finishes with five. However, according to Hathaway not that much is different for the No. 3 Snap-on Tools/Rockstar Energy Drink Dodge team.
“We haven’t made wholesale changes or anything,” said Hathaway. “The biggest difference is that I’ve been more involved this year than ever before. Circumstances have worked out for me to be more hands on. I think that has provided some stability and camaraderie with myself and the team.”
Hathaway has been with Ed Hakonson Racing since the start of the Canadian Tire Series in 2007. Hathaway, along with Ron Beauchamp Jr., D.J. Kennington and Scott Steckly, are the only four drivers to start all 83 races in series history.
Hathaway picked up a win in the 2008 season finale at Kawartha Speedway near Peterborough, Ont. Despite not reaching Victory Lane since, there is a sense around the team that a return trip is in the making.
“We could have easily won either or both of the races out west (Motoplex Speedway in Vernon, B.C., and Auto Clearing Motor Speedway in Saskatoon, Sask.) and at St. Eustache (Que.) for that matter. Not to take anything away from (Steckly), but I’m not sure that all of those races were his to win.”
Steckly rebounded from a pair of sub-par finishes to start the season to win three consecutive races to springboard into the top spot in the point standings.
“Everybody has bad luck in this sport and we’ve had ours, but we could easily be leading the points right now,” he said. “In fact, I kind of expected to, but that hasn’t worked out yet.”
The operative word in that statement might be ‘yet.’ Like his rivals Kennington and Steckly, Hathaway runs well on both road courses and ovals as evidenced by a third-place finish on Aug. 11 at Trois-Rivieres, Que., behind the likes of Andrew Ranger and Jacques Villeneuve.
Just 16 points separate the top four drivers in the point standings with Hathaway holding down the third spot – 14 points behind Steckly at the top of the heap.
Nevertheless, that’s in the rear view mirror now and a date at Antigonish, Nova Scotia’s Riverside International Speedway is dead ahead. Hathaway, who has four top 10s in six Nova Scotia starts, is no different than any driver that has ever raced there.
“I love it,” Hathaway said of the third-mile scale version of the legendary Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. “It’s just a fun track to race. The banking makes all of the difference.”
The banking is the difference for the track, but it’s the higher level of competition that’s the difference for the Hathaway camp in 2013.
Race: Wilson Equipment 300 Supporting Red Cross Disaster Relief
Place: Riverside International Speedway, Antigonish, N.S.
Date: Saturday, Aug. 17
Time: 8 p.m. AT
TV Schedule: TSN, Sun., Aug. 25, 1 p.m. ET; RDS2, Fri., Sept. 13, 7 p.m. ET
Track Layout: .333-mile high-banked oval
2012 Winner: D.J. Kennington
2012 Pole Sitter: J.R. Fitzpatrick
Event Schedule: Practice 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.; Qualifying 4 p.m.; On-Track Autograph Session 6:30 p.m.; Driver Introductions 7:30 p.m. AT
TRACK CONTACT: Paul McLean at (904) 893-2410 or firstname.lastname@example.org
EVENT TWITTER HASHTAG: #WilsonEquipment300
NASCAR IMC CONTACT: Shon Sbarra, (704) 309-5493 or email@example.com, Twitter: @ShonSbarra
The Race: This is the ninth event of the 2013 season for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 and the sixth of eight oval-track events on the schedule. This is the series’ seventh visit to the Antigonish track.
The Procedure: The starting field is 24 cars, including provisionals. The first 21 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials while the remaining three spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 300 laps covering 99.99 miles.
The Track: Riverside Speedway originally opened in 1969 and was modeled after the legendary Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. In 2005, the track was completely demolished and rebuilt including a new racing surface, concrete walls, lighting, grandstands and control tower. Like its U.S. counterpart in eastern Tennessee, Riverside features high-banked turns. Here, the turns are banked 14 degrees. The frontstretch is 440 feet long with banking of six degrees while the backstretch is also 440 feet but with five-degree banking.
The Records: The one-lap qualifying record for the Canadian Tire Series is 14.484 seconds (82.767 mph), set by Scott Steckly on Sept. 18, 2010. The 300-lap race record is held by Andrew Ranger at 1 hour, 30 minutes, 40 seconds, set on Sept. 20, 2009 for an average speed of 66.110 mph.
ANTIGONISH RACE NOTES-
Start Of A String?: Already with two Riverside International Speedway wins under his belt, D.J. Kennington could build upon his Trois-Rivieres win. Kennington won a series record five straight races en route to his second series championship a year ago.
Good Luck Charm: A trend has emerged in the last four Riverside races. Andrew Ranger claimed the win in 2009 while Kennington took the checkered flag in 2010 followed by Scott Steckly in 2011. Last season Kennington earned his second win in Nova Scotia. The common thread is that all four of those drivers went on to claim the series title.
New Date: After six seasons of September dates a couple of which were impacted by inclement weather, the Riverside date moves to August this year.
Close Quarters: Steckly brings a four-point edge over Kennington in the championship point standings, but Steckly’s gaze must look beyond that as Jason Hathaway is just 14 points away and Louis-Philippe Dumoulin lurks at just 16 tallies off the pace.
Round And Round: At Riverside, the Canadian Tire Series will race 300 laps for the win for the second of three times this season. The first 300-lap affair was at Motoplex Speedway in Vernon, B.C., in July and the last will be in September at Barrie (Ont.) Speedway.
LAST TIME OUT: JuliaWine.com 100 at Circuit de Trois-Rivieres
Road Warrior: D.J. Kennington picked up his third road-course win in his series career to go along with his 16 victories on ovals. His 19 wins top the all-time list for the Canadian Tire Series. Kennington has wins at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Edmonton City Centre Airport and, now, Circuit de Trois-Rivieres.
Quebec Numbers: Eighteen of the 30 drivers in the JuliaWine.com 100 field hailed from Quebec. Five of those – Ranger, Villeneuve, Tagliani, Roy and Labbe – finished inside the top 10.
Not A Happy Homecoming: After starting from the outside pole position championship contender Louis-Philippe Dumoulin had his sights set on challenging for a win in his hometown of Trois-Rivieres. However, contact with pole sitter Alex Tagliani effectively ended his quest on Lap 10 of the 42-lap race and he was relegated to a 14th-place finish. Older brother Jean-Francois didn’t fare any better with a finish in 17th after running inside the top 10 for much of the race.
Back To Front: After starting at the rear of the field for a driver change, Andrew Ranger set sail for the front. From his official starting position of 28th he improved his position 26 spots over the course of the race.
NEXT TIME OUT: Pinty’s presents the Clarington 200
For the first time the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 will make a second visit to the road course at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in the same season. This time, it will accompany the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series as that series make its maiden voyage to Canada. The Bowmanville, Ont., track will host the Pinty’s presents the Clarington 200 on Sunday, Sept. 1 at 11 a.m. ET just prior to the Camping World Truck Series event. The Canadian Tire Series race will be telecast live on TSN. The 2013 season opened at CTMP with Louis-Philippe Dumoulin picking up his first series victory.
From: Shon Sbarra/ NASCAR Canada