DAYTONA BEACH, FL – Champions want the ball in their hands at crunch time. Both D.J. Kennington and Scott Steckly have the opportunity to determine their fate in the final race of the season while Jason Hathaway needs some assistance.
The 2013 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 championship will be determined on Saturday, Sept. 21 at Kawartha Speedway in Fraserville, Ont., in the Pinty’s 250. Kennington (No. 17 Castrol Edge/Mahindra Tractors Dodge) brings a five-point lead in the standings into the race over Steckly (No. 22 Canadian Tire Dodge) which opens up several possibilities for each to claim the prize. Not to be ignored, though, is Hathaway (No. 3 Snap-on Tools/Rockstar Energy Drink Dodge), who has won two of the last three series events. However, sitting in third 22 points behind Kennington, Hathaway needs some cooperation from the drivers ahead of him to notch his first series crown.
Kennington (2010 and 2012) and Steckly (2008 and 2011) have a pair of championships under their belts and are vying to become the first three-time title winner in the series that debuted in 2007. As the leader coming in Kennington, obviously, has the most wiggle room. Kennington needs to finish 17th or better in the 26-car field to negate whatever Hathaway does, but the situation with Steckly is a little stickier.
“It’s not going to be easy for any of us,” said Kennington, the defending series and race champion. “Everyone is going to be ready and digging for all they can get. It seems like I’ve said this a hundred times, but we’ll just line them on Saturday and see what happens.”
Hathaway, who earned his first series victory at Kawartha in 2008, has to notch a top-four finish on Saturday to entertain any title hopes, but anything less than a victory makes the task taller. Even with a win, he needs Kennington to finish 19th or worse and Steckly would need to come home in 15th-place or worse. With two victories Hathaway holds a tiebreaker advantage on Kennington with one win, but is looking up at Steckly, who has three wins and two runner-up finishes to Hathaway’s one. Kennington also has a pair of second-place efforts this season.
If history holds form, though, it will come down to the pair of two-time champs. For Steckly to take everything out of Kennington’s hands, he’ll have to win the race and lead the most laps to maximize his point total to 48. Should Kennington not lead a lap, then Steckly would need only to win. Beyond that, by holding the advantage in the tiebreaker, Steckly needs to finish five positions ahead of Kennington depending on the lap-leader bonuses. Kennington can solve everything by winning the Pinty’s 250. He, however, does not have the caveat of leading the most laps by entering the race with the lead in hand. By keeping both Steckly and Hathaway behind him regardless of the any bonus points being earned also guarantees Kennington of becoming the first driver to win back-to-back titles in addition to becoming the first to win three championship rings.
It’s the closest battle for the crown in the seven-year history of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series regardless of the points structure that changed a year ago. There’s not a clear-cut ‘if-then’ scenario this time around. The trophy is in play and the possibilities are many.
“No matter how you look at it, it’s going to be interesting,” said Kennington. “If I was a fan, I sure wouldn’t miss it.”
RACE: Pinty’s 250 // PLACE: Kawartha Speedway, Fraserville, Ont.
DATE: Saturday, Sept. 21 // TIME: 5 p.m. ET
TV SCHEDULE: TSN2, Sun. Oct. 6, 5:30 p.m. ET; RDS2, Fri., Oct. 18, 9 p.m. ET
TRACK LAYOUT: .375-mile asphalt tri-oval
2012 WINNER: D.J. Kennington
2012 POLE SITTER: J.R. Fitzpatrick
EVENT SCHEDULE: Practice 11-11:30 a.m.; Final Practice 12-12:30 p.m.; Qualifying 3 p.m.; On-Track Autograph Session 3:45 p.m.; Driver Introductions 4:30 p.m.
TRACK CONTACT: Dave Middleton, 705-939-6316 or firstname.lastname@example.org
EVENT TWITTER HASHTAG: #Pintys250
NASCAR IMC CONTACT: Shon Sbarra, (704) 309-5493 or email@example.com, @ShonSbarra
If photographs or graphics are needed for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1, please contact Shon Sbarra at (704) 309-5493 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Race: This is the final event of the 2013 season for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 and the last of eight oval track events on the schedule. This is the series’ seventh visit to Kawartha Speedway.
The Procedure: The starting field is 26 cars, including provisionals. The first 23 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials while the remaining three spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 250 laps covering 93.75 miles.
The Track: Kawartha Speedway is part of the Kawartha Downs and Speedway complex in Fraserville, Ontario, near Peterborough, east of Toronto. The .375-mile banked asphalt oval speedway with progressive banking is surrounded by a harness-racing horse track, the opposite of Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
The Records: The one-lap qualifying record for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series at Kawartha is 17.704 seconds (76.254 mph), set by Mark Dilley on Sept. 23, 2007. The 250-lap race record is held by Pete Shepherd III at 1 hour, 49 minutes, 7 seconds set on Sept. 25, 2010 for an average speed of 51.550 mph.
KAWARTHA RACE NOTES
Still Up For Grabs: Not only is the series championship still up in the air, top rookie honors are, as well. Alex Guenette and Ryley Seibert have waged a back-and-forth battle throughout the season with the final determination set to be made in the Pinty’s 250. Guenette holds a three-point lead coming into the race with six drivers with rookie designation on the entry list. The tiebreaker in the rookie standings is the overall driver standings.
Common Thread: Each of the three Canadian Tire Series title contenders – D.J. Kennington, Scott Steckly and Jason Hathaway – has Kawartha Speedway wins to their credit. Steckly won the inaugural series event at the track in 2007 while Hathaway took the checkered flag in 2008. Kennington has three wins at the track with victories in 2009, 2011 and 2012.
Stay In Touch: Final practice from 12-12:30 p.m. ET and qualifying at 3 p.m. will be webcast live on TSN.ca. Click HERE to follow the action.
Overtime: The TSN2 & RDS2 telecasts of the season finale at Kawartha will be 90 minutes in duration as opposed to the normal 60-minute shows. The TSN2 premiere of the Pinty’s 250 will be on Sunday, Oct. 6 at 5:30 p.m. ET while the French-language RDS2 installment will debut on Friday, Oct. 18 at 9 p.m. ET. There will also be a season recap show that will be telecast by TSN on Saturday, Nov. 30 at 1 p.m. ET.
LAST TIME OUT: Hudco Electric Supply 300 presented by G-Oil
Not As Long A Wait: After going 59 races between his first and second NASCAR Canadian Tire Series victories Jason Hathaway collected his second series win in three races.
High-Water Marks: With a seventh-place finish in Barrie, rookie Ryley Seibert (No. 09 Lake Excavating/Emco Waterworks Dodge) established a new career-high finish as did Ray Courtemanche Jr. (No. 29 La Cité De Mirabel Inc. Dodge) with an 11th-place showing.
For The Lead: The Hudco 300 had 10 lead changes involving seven drivers which was the second-highest total of the season. There were 11 passes for the lead among six drivers on July 17 at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway in Saskatoon, Sask.
From NASCAR / IMC