Sunday, June 15, 2008

JR Fitzpatrick wins Dickies 200 at Mosport with a little rain dance

Starting as scheduled, Scott Steckly in his Tow Truck in a Cox/Erb Group Dodge Avenger took the field to the green flag for the Dickies 200 presented by Lucas Oil. Steckly's lead lap would be short-lived as front row starting companion Kerry Micks motored by Steckly, ceasing the top spot through the first corner on lap 2. After Micks led for half a dozen laps, Peter Gibbons overhauled the fellow Ford with his newly bodied Canadian Tire Ford Fusion. Gibbons would on to dominate much of the race, giving up the lead through only a green flag pit stop run.

The climax of the race occurred on lap 44 when rain clouds shadowed Mosport. (Admittedly, All-Canadian Racing News miscalled the weather based on weather forecasts made earlier Sunday morning). As the track surface was being moisten by precipitation, Ron Beauchamp Jr. fell victim to a wet Mosport race course and his dry weather racing slick tires. By Lap 48, weathering elements contributed to Beauchamp Jr. losing his #60 Mopar Dodge Avenger, ending by beached in the first corner gravel trap. It was then that NASCAR officials flew the yellow caution flag, allowing teams to come into the pit for rain tires with only 9 laps to go to the finish. While much as the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series field opted to make a pit stop, Peter Gibbons' team stood idle as the #1 Ford remained on a dampening 2.4 mile track.

Underestimating the advantages of wearing grooved rubber, even as the race restarted with just two laps remaining, Gibbons chances of winning were now literally washed away as DJ Kennington (who had just returned from running a Nationwide race in Kentucky the previous night) and JR Fitzpatrick would led a surefooted group of stock cars around a now hydroplaning #1 Canadian Tire/Mobil Super Ford. Dj Kennington's #17 Castrol Dodge and JR Fitzpatrick's #84 Chevrolet were duel committedly through the dicey final laps with a brave hearted JR Fitzpatrick.

His first win in the Canadian Tire Series since Edmonton nearly a year ago, Fitzpatrick's victory at Mosport was monumented to his father and team owner John Fitzpatrick. A second place final result by DJ Kennington was also consider an astonishing feat. Since DJ Kennington was racing on Kentucky requiring Kenny Forth to qualified the #17 Castrol Dodge on Saturday meaning, by NASCAR rules, Kennington needed to start the Dickies 200 presented by Lucas Oil in the back. Other drivers finishing Fitzpatrick's teammate Don Thomson Jr. in 3rd, Alex Tagliani and Andrew Ranger are 5th and 6th while pole sitter Scott Steckly ended up 4th in the day. Steckly also secures the points lead for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series heading to the Barrie Speedway in two weeks time.

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