D.J. Kennington keeps the streak of different race winners alive in 2011 as he won the Vortex Brake Pads 200 at Mosport International Raceway on Sunday to become the fourth race winner in as many NASCAR Canadian Tire Series races this season.
Kennington, the defending series champion out of St. Thomas, Ont., passed JR Fitzpatrick in Turn 8 on Lap 50 of the 51-lap race on the 2.459-mile road course to pick up his 10th series career victory and his first in a road-course event. It was also the first time in 2011 that Kennington drove his Castrol Edge Dodge to Victory Lane after winning five races a season ago.
“It’s really awesome to get that first road-course win,” said Kennington. “We’ve had success on the ovals but these road-course races are all pretty special.”
Kennington’s car showed all the signs of a hard-fought race. The vehicle had damage all along the right side after he made contact with Jason Hathaway in Turn 5 of the 10-turn track.
“It wasn’t easy out there. That’s for sure,” Kennington added. “That’s how this series is, though. All the cars are really even and that’s why it’s so tough to win out there.”
Fitzpatrick, who finished 10th in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc., was up front all race long while leading a race-high 19 laps in the Equipment Express Chevrolet and battled Robin Buck lap after lap before Kennington’s heroics in the closing laps.
“We had a good run today and had a wicked pit stop,” said Fitzpatrick. “The car was a touch tight, but good enough to win. I could’ve shoved (Kennington) out of the way, but we’re good friends and I didn’t want to do that. I gave him a few bumps to see if he would get out of shape, but it didn’t happen.”
Buck, who won his first series career race on June 5 at Circuit ICAR in Mirabel, Que., finished third for his second top five of the season in as many starts in his Quaker State/Durabody Dodge.
“It was a great run after starting 21st and to work our way up to a podium finish,” said Buck. “It was really satisfying to do well here at Mosport where we really haven’t had a lot of luck.”
Jeff Lapcevich and Scott Steckly completed the top five. Jason White, Dexter Stacey, Isabelle Tremblay, Howie Scannell Jr., and Joey McColm rounded out the top 10.
Steckly started on the pole after Saturday’s qualifying was cancelled due to inclement weather and the cars were lined up for the start of the race per the series rule book.
Six drivers – White, Stacey, Tremblay, Steve Côté, Martin Roy and Noel Dowler – established new career-high finishes while Scannell equaled his previous series-best finish.
The race was slowed due to caution six times for 21 laps and the race lead exchanged hands seven times among five drivers.
The Vortex Brake Pads 200 will be telecast by TSN on Saturday, July 2 at 1:30 p.m. ET.
In the point standings, Steckly, on the power of his fourth consecutive top-five finish this season, holds a 38-point advantage over Fitzpatrick with Kennington and Don Thomson Jr. lurking in the third and fourth places, respectively.
The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series is back in action on Saturday, July 9 to take on the 1.750-mile temporary street course at Toronto’s Exhibition Place in the Streets of Toronto 100 as part of the Honda Indy Toronto.