"We want to win races and haven't been able to get that done this year – yet," said the pilot of the No. 22 Canadian Tire Dodge out of Milverton, Ont.
In six outings this season, Steckly has five top-five finishes which is good enough for second in the championship point standings behind D.J. Kennington. This is where the problem is. Kennington is in the midst of a four-race winning streak and has amassed a 35-point lead on Steckly, who with 11 series career wins has yet to visit Victory Lane this year.
"That (Kennington) car has something figured out this year and we haven't found it yet," said Steckly. "That's how this sport goes, though. Someone finds something and we all chase it for a while. Then, we move on to the next thing."
It will have to be a quick turnaround for Steckly, who just might be coming off the most bitter race of his career with the Velocity Prairie Thunder presented by Bayer Crop Science at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway in Saskatoon, Sask., coming up on Wednesday, July 25.
On Sunday in Edmonton, he had a dominating car and led for 29 of the 31 laps on the 2.256-mile road course before a pair of late-race cautions. While out front his lead fluctuated between 3.5 and 4.5 seconds, but on the final restart J.R. Fitzpatrick, racing for his third Edmonton win, and Steckly made contact in a tight section of the course knocking both drivers out of contention and opening the door for Kennington's series record fourth straight victory.
"It was a disappointing end to the race. We had the best car on the track," said the dejected Steckly after the race.
Winning is what makes champions and in his two previous title-winning seasons Steckly has a combined seven victories.
"We're not frustrated at all. We've had great finishes for the most part," he said. "We just want to win."
Steckly already knows how to win at the Saskatchewan track having claimed the series' inaugural event there in July 2009.
"It's a great track they have there," he stated. "You're able to pass without taking the bumper to someone which makes for a good race. We're definitely looking forward to it."
But maybe more than the racing, Steckly enjoys the fans and excitement surrounding the event.
"They have great fans," he said. The track is always packed and we always work on the car at a local Canadian Tire store which has a steady stream of people stopping by to show their support. The whole town really gets into this event."
RACE: Velocity Prairie Thunder presented by Bayer Crop Science
PLACE: Auto Clearing Motor Speedway, Saskatoon, Sask.
DATE: Wednesday, July 25
TIME: 8:15 p.m. MT
TV SCHEDULE: TSN2, Sat., Aug. 4, 6:30 p.m. ET; RDS2, Sun., Sept. 2, 6:30 p.m. ET
TRACK LAYOUT: .333-mile banked asphalt oval
2011 WINNER: Pete Shepherd III
2011 POLESITTER: D.J. Kennington
EVENT SCHEDULE: Practice 1:30-2:30 p.m.; Qualifying 5 p.m.; Autograph Session 6:45 p.m.; Pre-Race Ceremonies 7:45 p.m.
EVENT TWITTER HASHTAG: #VPT
The Race: This is the seventh event of the 2012 season for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 and the fourth of seven oval-track events on the schedule. This is the series' fourth visit to Saskatoon.
The Procedure: The starting field is 24 cars, including provisionals. The first 21 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials. The remaining three spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 250 laps covering 83.25 miles.
The Track: Auto Clearing Motor Speedway is a .333-mile oval with graduated banking. Saskatoon Stock Car Racing Association Ltd. originated from the Saskatoon Stock Car Racing Club that was formed in 1954. Racing in Saskatoon began at the 8th Street Racing Oval. In 1970, as a result of city expansion, stock-car racing moved to the current Prairieland Exhibition at Bridge City Raceway. In 1999, the City of Saskatoon expanded once again which paved the way for a new track, Auto Clearing Motor Speedway, to be built. Construction of the new track began in April 2005.
The Records: The one-lap qualifying record for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series at the track is 14.668 seconds (81.729 mph), set by D.J. Kennington on July 27, 2011. The 250-lap race record was established on Aug. 4, 2010 by Kennington at 1 hour, 17 minutes, 3 seconds for an average speed of 64.909 mph.
The History: The Canadian Tire Series became the first NASCAR-sanctioned series to compete in the Province of Saskatchewan on July 29, 2009. Scott Steckly was the winner in that inaugural event after starting from the rear of the field due to an engine failure in practice. D.J. Kennington collected the 2010 win en route to his series championship, but he came up short in 2011 to Pete Shepherd III.
SASKATOON RACE NOTES
No Repeaters: The three Canadian Tire Series races at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway have produced three different race winners with Scott Steckly (No. 22 Canadian Tire Dodge) winning the inaugural event in 2009, D.J. Kennington (No. 17 Castrol Edge/Mahindra Tractors Dodge) in 2010 and Pete Shepherd III a season ago.
Long Haul: Most NASCAR Canadian Tire Series teams located in Ontario will travel approximately 8,500 kilometers (5,300 miles) round trip for the three-race swing into Western Canada. The driving distance from New York to Los Angeles is about 3,900 kilometers (2,444 miles).
Representing: The Western Canadian provinces are well accounted for in the Velocity Prairie Thunder presented by Bayer Crop Science. Six drivers hailing from Alberta will be in the event – Kevin Dowler, Noel Dowler, James Van Domselaar, Nathan Weenk and Jarrad Whissell, Four – Ryley Seibert, Trevor Seibert, Jason White and Jim White – from British Columbia are expected to compete while two – Jason Hankewich and Dan Shirley – from Saskatchewan and Nick Jewell from Manitoba will join the fray.
Family Affair Continues: Families racing has been a theme for this season's western swing. Kevin and Noel Dowler along with Trevor and Ryley Seibert are father-son duos competing in the Velocity Prairie Thunder while Jason and Jim White are brothers competing against one another.
Party On: Several NASCAR Canadian Tire Series drivers competing in the Velocity Prairie Thunder will be on hand for a meet and greet BBQ on Tuesday, July 24 at the Delta Bessborough Gardens from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. local time. The event is sponsored by the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce, Auto Clearing Motor Speedway, The Star Phoenix, Tourism Saskatoon, and the Delta Bessborough Hotel.
LAST TIME OUT: EDMONTON
Four On The Floor: D.J. Kennington (No. 17 Castrol Edge/Mahindra Tractors Dodge) picked up his fourth straight win of the 2012 season and extended his series record for consecutive wins. It was Kennington's first Edmonton win and second career victory on a road course having earned his first in June 2011 on the Road Course at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ont.
Wait, There's More: With the win, Kennington is now in a tie with Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Dodge/GC Motorsports Dodge) atop the series' all-time victories list at 15. Of Kennington's 15 wins, 13 have come on ovals while 12 of Ranger's triumphs have come on road courses.
Sunny Day For Seiberts: The father-son duo of Trevor and Ryley Seibert put together a solid performance in Edmonton. The elder Seibert scored a third-place finish which is his best series finish since a fourth-place effort at Edmonton in 2010. As for Ryley, his 10th-place finish came in just his third series start.
Rolling Along: If not for the heroics of Kennington, Jason Hathaway (No. 3 Snap-on Tools/Rockstar/Vortex Dodge) would be the hottest driver on the circuit. With his runner-up finish in Edmonton, the Dutton, Ont., driver has a streak of four consecutive top-five finishes.
NEXT TIME OUT: TROIS-RIVIERES
The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 returns to the eastern portion of Canada after its three-race western swing for the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres (Que.). The Quebec road-course event is always a highlight on the schedule with a large and energetic crowd. The event has been owned by Andrew Ranger with three wins in five years. Last year, however, Robin Buck claimed the victory in the rain. The 100-kilometer event is set for Sunday, Aug. 5.
From Shon Sbarra / NASCAR
Anyone still wanting to attend the Velocity Prairie Thunder NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Race on July 25th, tickets will be available at the Delta Bessborough Hotel, the Castle on the River, Tuesday, July 24 from 10:30 to 1:30 PM or online at www.autoclearingmotorspeedway.ca. You can also purchase them at the gate on race day.