ANTIGONISH, N.S. (Sept. 15, 2012) – D.J. Kennington bounced right back to the cusp of a second NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 championship. A week after a fuel pump failure took a large chunk of his points lead, the St. Thomas, Ont., driver dominated the Wilson Equipment 300 en route to his sixth win of the season. With the season-finale looming next week at Kawartha Speedway, Kennington looks to put the finishing touches on the 2012 championship to go along with the one he captured in 2010.
“That deal last week was something that we couldn’t do anything about. Nobody did anything wrong. That’s racing,” said the driver of the No. 17 Castrol Edge/Mahindra Tractors Dodge. “There was no reason to hang our heads. It’s a great race team and we had a great car tonight.”
Kennington was tested throughout the race by J.R. Fitzpatrick as they traded the lead six times and were side-by-side for several laps. However, the Kennington machine was too strong on the long green-flag runs and was able to pull away every time before eventually winning by a margin of 3.453 seconds.
“Sometimes you have to give up something to gain something at the end,” stated Kennington. “That’s what we ended up with today. The car wasn’t as fast as we would have liked out of the gate, but it got better and better the longer we ran. At the end of the race it was awesome and I can’t ask for anything more.”
Kennington’s nearest championship challenger, J.R. Fitzpatrick, who won his third pole position of the season earlier in the day, finished second, but still surrendered ground in the point standings.
“The Equipment Express Chevrolet has been in every race, but we’re still missing the fine tuning on the pit stops. It’s frustrating not to be able to gain that little bit on (Kennington),” Fitzpatrick said. “We’re just not in the same league as the 17 (team) right now.”
Kennington heads into the finale leading Fitzpatrick by 23 and Andrew Ranger by 30.
Mark Dilley, like Kennington was looking to bounce back from mechanical woes at Barrie finished third behind the wheel of his No. 02 Leland/PartSource/BDI Ford despite being involved in a spin on Lap 202.
“All in all it was a pretty good night. The guys got the car better all night, but I called for an adjustment on that last stop and I had adjusted myself and got it all loose,” said Dilley. “Had we gotten it right there at the end we might have had something for (Kennington).”
Defending series champion Scott Steckly finished fourth followed by Ron Beauchamp Jr. in fifth.
Local competitor Donald Chisholm, Jason White, rookie Martin Roy, Noel Dowler and Isabelle Tremblay rounded out the top 10.
It is Kennington’s 17th career win, which includes a win at Riverside in 2010. He led a race-high 188 laps Saturday to Fitzpatrick’s 101. Kennington’s six wins this season equals Ranger’s single-season series record set in 2009 and his 17 victories breaks a tie atop the series’ all-time wins list with Ranger.
The Wilson Equipment 300 will air on TSN on Saturday, Sept. 22 at Noon ET, and on RDS2 on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 10 p.m.
The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 concludes the season with the Pinty’s 250 presented by Dodge at Kawartha, near Peterborough, Ont., on Saturday, Sept. 22.
NASCAR CANDADIAN TIRE SERIES presented by MOBIL 1-Wilson Equipment 300 Results
Saturday At Riverside International Speedway
Antigonish, Nova Scotia
Lap length: 0.333 miles
(Start position in parentheses)
1. (5) D.J. Kennington, St. Thomas, Ont., Dodge, 300 laps, 62.286 mph.
2. (1) J.R. Fitzpatrick, Cambridge, Ont., Chevrolet, 300.
3. (4) Mark Dilley, Barrie, Ont., Ford, 300.
4. (2) Scott Steckly, Milverton, Ont., Dodge, 300.
5. (8) Ron Beauchamp, Jr., Windsor, Ont., Dodge, 300.
6. (9) Donald Chisholm, Antigonish, N.S., Ford, 300.
7. (10) Jason White, Sun Peaks, B.C., Dodge, 300.
8. (6) Martin Roy, Napierville, Que, Dodge, 299.
9. (18) Noel Dowler, Sherwood Park, Alta., Dodge, 298.
10. (14) Isabelle Tremblay, St. Hippolyte, Que., Dodge, 298.
11. (11) L.P. Dumoulin, Trois-Rivieres, Que., Dodge, 297.
12. (7) Andrew Ranger, Roxton Pond, Que., Dodge, 295.
13. (12) Larry Jackson, Oakville, Ont., Dodge, 287.
14. (15) Ray Courtemanche Jr., Montreal, Que., Dodge, 249.
15. (16) Mike Scholz, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Chevrolet, 241, suspension.
16. (17) Hugo Vannini, Repentigny, Que., Ford, 88, accident.
17. (3) Jason Hathaway, Dutton, Ont., Dodge, 72, engine.
18. (13) Kerry Micks, Mt. Albert, Ont., Ford, 4, electrical.
19. (19) Dave Connelly, Arnprior, Ont., Dodge, 3, suspension.
20. (20) Joey McColm, Ajax, Ont., Dodge, 1, ignition.
Time of Race: 1 hour 36 minutes 14 seconds
Margin of Victory: 3.453 seconds
Fastest Qualifier: J.Fitzpatrick (82.245 mph, 14.576 seconds)
Caution Flags: 6 for 43 laps.
Lead Changes: 8 among 3 drivers.
Lap Leaders: J. Fitzpatrick 1-67; D. Kennington 68-97; J. Fitzpatrick 98; M. Roy 99-109; D. Kennington 110-190; J. Fitzpatrick 191-220; D. Kennington 221; J. Fitzpatrick 222-224; D. Kennington 225-300.
Standings: 1. D. Kennington, 470; 2. J. Fitzpatrick, 447; 3. A. Ranger, 440; 4. S. Steckly, 433; 5. R. Beauchamp,Jr., 389; 6. L. Dumoulin, 363; 7. J. Hathaway, 357; 8. J. White, 345; 9. M. Roy, 344; 10. N. Dowler, 335.
By Shon Sbarra