Scott Steckly has made history in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series in front of a near capacity crowd at Motoplex Speedway and Event Park.
Steckly, out of Milverton, Ont., became the first driver in the five-year history of the A&W Cruisin’ The Dub 300 to win multiple times at the half-mile tri-oval located in the mountains of Western Canada after winning there a season ago. But it wasn’t easy.
Steckly held off the pack in a 10-lap sprint to the finish to claim his 10th career victory on the tour and first since he drove his Canadian Tire/MotoMaster Dodge to Victory Lane in the season opener at Mosport Speedway in May.
“The car wasn’t the best at the beginning. That’s for sure,” said Steckly. “We had adjustability built into the car and that’s what you have to have here.”
Steckly gambled and won on a tire strategy that differed from the bulk of the field. By Lap 180 of the 300-lap race, he had already replaced all four tires which was the limit for the night.
“We went into the race looking to wait until Lap 220 or so, but the way the cautions were falling, we thought we could lap a bunch of guys on a long green-flag run,” Steckly said.
Defending series champion D.J. Kennington, who led a race-high 135 laps, finished a close second in his familiar Castrol Edge Dodge, but he was hardly satisfied with the result.
“Second place is a good night, but it’s sure not what we wanted,” said the dejected driver from St. Thomas, Ont. “The car took about 10 laps or so to get going, so those short runs there at the end really hurt us. On the longer, runs, I was able to run him down a little.”
On the other end of the spectrum, Kerry Micks was upbeat about his third-place effort.
“We’re really close on this Dickies/Beyond Digital Imaging Ford. We keep making progress with it,” said the Mt. Albert, Ontario-based driver. “Third place is a good run tonight, but we’re going to have this car just right real soon.”
Ron Beauchamp Jr. and Mark Dilley completed the top five in the race which was the longest of the season at 150 miles for the Canadian competitors. For Beauchamp, it was his first top-five finish since September of last year.
Don Thomson Jr., led the next group in sixth with Pete Shepherd III seventh and JR Fitzpatrick eighth. Nathan Weenk and Jim White completed the top 10.
The race was slowed 12 times by caution with the final yellow given to the field after Sara Cornett-Ching, making her series debut, spun in Turn 3 to set up the final dash to the finish. The race lead exchanged hands eight times among three drivers.
In the point standings, Steckly increased his lead on Kennington to 97 points after bringing a 92-point advantage into the night. Fitzpatrick remains in third followed by Thomson and Micks.
The A&W Cruisin’ The Dub 300 will be telecast on TSN at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 30.
The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series is right back on the track for the Velocity Prairie Thunder on Wednesday, July 27 at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway in Saskatoon, Sask.