For those chasing Scott Steckly in the championship point standings heading west to Motoplex Speedway and Event Park is not good news. The Vernon, B.C., half-mile tri-oval is perhaps Steckly's strongest track.
In four starts there, the Milverton, Ontario, driver has a win and three second-place showings. The victory came last season as he beat out eventual NASCAR Canadian Tire Series champion D.J. Kennington.
He was about 300 yards from the win in 2007 as he and J.R. Fitzpatrick came out of Turn 4 side-by-side, but Fitzpatrick was able to get a nose in front at the line to win by a scant .029. Steckly finished second to Don Thomson Jr. in 2008 and Andrew Ranger in 2009.
Steckly, the 2008 series champion, has a 92-point advantage on Kennington in the standings and has finished inside the top five in all five races this season including a win in the season opener at Mosport Speedway in Bowmanville, Ont.
Just as it was in that championship season of 2008, Steckly has been atop the point standings from the outset. As a comparison, after five events in 2008 he had an 111-point lead before winning the title by much slimmer 24 points over Thomson.
He is looking to bring Canadian Tire its first title after Steckly picked up the sponsorship in 2009 from Peter Gibbons.
"Canadian Tire has been so good to our race team and is so deserving of a championship," Steckly said. "We're going to do everything in our power to make it happen."
There is not a specific reason for the success at Motoplex according to Steckly.
"It's a great track to race. The surface is good. The lights are good. There's little to not like," Steckly said. "I think we've earned our success there, but it's probably more circumstance than anything. I doubt we have something figured out there that no one else does."
Secrets or not, it will be a long shot for anyone to make a sizeable dent in Steckly's points lead before the series heads to Saskatoon, Sask., for a Wednesday date at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway for its second event in a five-day span.
EVENT SCHEDULE | ENTRY LIST
Long Haul: Not only is Vernon, B.C., the longest trip most of the teams make in a season, the A&W Cruisin' The Dub 300 at 150 miles is the longest race of the season. There are two other 300-lap events on the schedule - Barrie (Ont.) Speedway and Riverside International Speedway in Antigonish, N.S. - but they are both on .333-mile tracks.
Three's Company: Sarah Cornett-Ching will be making her NASCAR Canadian Tire Series debut in the A&W Cruisin' The Dub 300 and she will become the sixth female driver to compete in the series. She will be joined in the field by fellow females Shannon Harding and Isabelle Tremblay. It may be the second time that three female drivers have started a series race. Last season in Montreal, Tremblay was joined by Caitlin Johnston and Maryeve Dufault.
Just Turn Left: After competing in three road-course events, Noel Dowler, 18, will make his first series start on an oval track. He finished 22nd in his last start at the Streets of Toronto 100. Joining Dowler in making his oval-track debut is Jarrad Whissell, who has 15 series starts on road course under his belt.
Last Time Out: Streets Of Toronto 100
Tough To Beat: For the ninth time in his NASCAR Canadian Tire Series career, Andrew Ranger won on a road course. It was his second straight win in Toronto and the fifth in his last seven starts in the series.
On The Money: With a third-place effort in Toronto, Robin Buck has logged four consecutive podium finishes dating back to the Montreal event in 2010.
Dodge Ball: Dodge nabbed eight of the top-10 finishing positions in Toronto including the top three led by Ranger, Scott Steckly and Buck.
Next Time Out: Velocity Prairie Thunder
The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series closes out its two-race swing through Western Canada on Wednesday, July 27 at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway in Saskatoon, Sask. for the Velocity Prairie Thunder. It will be the third time the series has ventured to Saskatchewan for the 250-lap event. Last season, D.J. Kennington prevailed over J.R. Fitzpatrick and Don Thomson Jr. en route to his series championship.