Sunday, June 6, 2010

DJ Kennington takes NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Opener at Delaware Speedway

Photo Credit: Matthew Murnaghan/NASCAR

Winter disappeared early in Ontario but the wait for NASCAR stock car action in this province waited until this weekend. Set-up for their 2010 season opener, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series were set loose on the 1/2 mile short oval of Delaware Speedway. As shiny, brand new NASCAR Canadian Tire Series machines assembled to for their first race, the field of drivers sported some of Canada's best established stock car drivers as well as a few future stars. Three driver, D.J Kennington, J.R. Fitzpatrick and Peter Shepherd III, return to 2010 race action in the Canadian Tire Series after venturing into the United States through the past few years. For most of the drivers, the Keystone Light 200 at Delaware Speedway represents the first time of 2010 to shake off the cobwebs through eight months of stock car racing hibernation.

D.J. Kennington scored the first NASCAR Canadian Tire Series pole position for 2010 leading a strong 23-car grid for the Saturday night 200 lap affair at the Delaware Speedway. It only took two laps for the season's first caution to fly as 3rd place #02 Kerry Micks got into the 2nd place #84 Chevrolet of J.R. Fitzpatrick. While the #84 sustained no major damage and was able to continue, NASCAR officials wisely enacted a rough driving penalty on Micks requiring the #02 BDI/Dickies Ford to make a stop and go pit stop after the lap 7 restart. This first caution of the night would be far from the only incident on the night for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series competitors. In all, 13 cautions consumed half the race distance of the Keystone Light 200.

Photo Credit: Matthew Murnaghan/NASCAR

Through the first 1/3 distance, DJ Kennington's #17 Castrol Edge Dodge had the edge on the stock car field. He led from lap 8 through to lap 75 until NASCAR Canadian Tire Series 2010 rookie Steven Mattews took the lap lead for a brief one circuit. As the #17 Dodge of Kennington required service on pit road, J.R. Fitzpatrick and Peter Shepherd exchanged the lead from lap 91 to 114. Longtime NASCAR Canadian Tire Series mainstay Jim Lapcevich in the Tim Hortons #23 Chevrolet also claimed a few laps as the leader.

As the lead was beign tossed between drivers, Mark Diley and the #9 Partsource/ Exide Batteries Dodge would pass Shepherd on lap 131. Through a 24 lap stint, another 2010 rookie Ron Sheridan followed Diley in his outing at Delaware. Mark Diley's run out front was ended shortly later a lap 144 accident involving four vehicles (Brennan Didero, Steve Matthews, Scott Steckly and Donald Chisholm). Sheridan would get his chance to lead for 3 laps before Mark Diley returned for the top spot. That too was short-lived as a Dodge Vs. Dodge battle mounted with D.J. Kennington retaking the lead just one lap later.

Photo Credit: Matthew Murnaghan/NASCAR

Into the final laps of the Keystone Light 200, a late-race caution where the #95 Chevrolet of Anthony Simone collided with the backstretch wall allowed a duel between Kennington and J.R. Fitzpatrick. The #17 Castrol Edge Dodge of Kennington maintained his 1st place proceeding to win at Delaware Speedway. Having been a 1996 CASCAR Sportsman Series at Delaware, D.J. Kennington has won his 17th race in the CASCAR/NASCAR Canadian Tire Series in his 17th year of competition. Rounding out the top five was J.R. Fitpatrick, Jeff Lapcevich, John Gaunt and Peter Shepherd.

Starting on an oval, next week the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series resumes on the 2.46 mile road course of Mosport International Raceway for the Vortex Brake Pads 200.

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