Sunday, September 27, 2009

DJ Kennington wins 2009 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Finale at Kawartha Speedway

The 2009 season for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series wraps with 250 laps at Kawartha Speedway as fall destines the racing engines in Canada to go silent. While Andrew Ranger has already clinched the significant title as 2009 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series champion, the prestige in capturing the final trophy of the tour motivates the drivers one last time for the year. With the conclusion of the 2009 season, one driver is set to call it a career. Dave Whitlock took his final green flag following a long-stemming career of achievements including three championships in the CASCAR Super Series (the direct predecessor to the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series). Winning at St Eustache this year, Whitlock affirms that he leaves racing in his prime. Along with Canadian Tire Series regulars, two of Kevin Harvick Incorporated's development drivers participated in the event. Cale Gale and 2006 CASCAR champion JR Fitzpatrick joined the competition.

With a start planned for Saturday night (September 26), rain delayed the running of the Z-Line Designs 250 presented by The Dodge Dealers of Ontario and Coca-Cola (certainly a mouth full) to late Sunday morning. Taking the green at 11 am, the #60 Dodge of Ron Beauchamp Jr lead the field to the line. Rainy conditions of the night before and colder weather of the morning made the Kawartha Speedway surface particularly difficult to gain hold of for many drivers. This contributed to a lap 2 spin for Joey McColm which brought out the race's first caution. In a large number of one car incidents, the Z-Line Designs 250 was slowed a total 10 times by cautions as grip and the pursuit of the final race finish of 2009 caught a number of drivers.

By lap 10, Andrew Ranger's #27 Ford took the lead at Kawartha Speedway reminding competitors on the race track and fans in the grandstands why he is a two-time champion for the series. In front for 65 laps, Ron Beauchamp Jr used a well-timed restart to shoot by Ranger retaking the top position. 2008 series champion Scott Steckly would be the next driver to lead the event as he mastered lapped traffic to overperform Beauchamps' #60 in a all-Dodge battle.

During lap 140 pit stops, Steckly relinquished 1st to the encouraging rookie Steven Matthews took the lead by staying out on the track. Overcoming an earlier spin out, Matthews led for almost 20 laps with challenges coming from seasoned veteran Kerry Micks and Southern NASCAR standout Cale Gale. It was with Gale that Matthews' effort of a strong finish would end. Fighting for the coveted first place spot, Gale and Matthews collided with each other ruining their race. Barrie winner Don Thomson Jr gained the lead of Kawartha just briefly as the #02 of Kerry Micks drove pass Thomson's #4 Chevy. The #17 Dodge of DJ Kennington followed Micks and would make the race winning move past on lap 185.

Rain returned after the 200 lap mark and NASCAR decided to call the race official at lap 203 declaring DJ Kennington the winner. Adding a second 'W' this season, Kennington and the #17 Castrol/Mahindra Dodge took the season opening and closing rounds of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series season for 2009. Kerry Micks, Don Thomson Jr, Scott Steckly, and Ron Beauchamp Jr. follows the #17 car in that order in final results.

For his final scheduled race in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, Dave Whitlock comes home eighth place.

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