The 2012 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series racing season opened this past weekend under perfect weather conditions at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. DJ Kennington the driver of the #17 Castrol Edge Dodge was a winner here the year before and looked to make it two victories in a row.
During practice Kennington didn’t quite have the handling in the #17 Castrol Edge Dodge he wanted. “The car was a bit tight” he stated so we made a few changes hoping to improve for qualifying. The changes helped and Kennington would post the fourth quickest qualifying time and start the race on the outside of row two.
When the green flag dropped the competition heated up immediately and Kennington quickly moved the #17 Castrol Edge Dodge up one position and began a race long battle with the rest of the front runners. “It was pretty intense right from the start” said Kennington. “I was just hoping not to run too hard too early and have something left for the end of the race” he added.
The #17 Castrol Edge Dodge team had planned to stop for fuel as soon as it was possible for them to make it the rest of the distance. Following that stop a second pit stop was made for fresh tires. A fluky equipment malfunction caused a slower than usual stop, one of the wheels on the jack that slides under the car to lift it during pit stops broke and it slowed down the service. “It put us back a little bit in the field but there was nothing we could do” said Kennington.
As the race progressed Kennington used his skills to propel the #17 Castrol Edge Dodge forward and once again was back in touch with the lead group of cars. “I just tried to take my time knowing we still had a lot of racing left” said Kennington. “The as soon as I knew we were close to the front I got a little more aggressive”.
With the lead of the race in sight Kennington made an aggressive move and took the lead on lap 40. Kennington was battling his good friend J. R. Fitzpatrick at the front of the field and the two swapped the race lead several times. “J. R. and I did this same thing last year” said Kennington. “It’s a lot of fun to race somebody who races so hard but also fair” he added.
Kennington would push the #17 Castrol Edge Dodge to the limit in the closing laps but would fall just short of repeating his victory and settle for second. Still Kennington was very happy with his team’s effort. “It was a really good day and a great start to the season for us” said the driver. “I gave him all I could in the last few laps, there’s even some yellow paint on the bumper of his car but he held on. We’ll take this great run and move on to the next race in a couple weeks. I’m really happy to have this great start to the season and represent all our sponsors. Castrol is such a big part of it, but also Mahindra Tractors has upped their involvement this year and Super Clean is with us too. It’s great to have such solid support for our program”.
DJ Kennington and the #17 Castrol Edge Dodge team will be in action next on June 3rd at Circuit ICAR in Mirabel, QC.
Race fans are encouraged to keep up to date with the latest team news in several ways. Race fans should bookmark the team website www.djkracing.ca and follow them on twitter, @djkracing and fans are also suggested to join the Facebook Group DJK Racing.
Prepared by Todd Lewis & TL Sports & Entertainment