Sunday, August 1, 2010

Steckly Skates Past Kennington for Motoplex Speedway Win

Photo Credit: Matthew Murnaghan/NASCAR

Returning to a circle track, the 2010 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series arrives to the half-mile oval Motoplex Speedway in Vernon, British Columbia to shake off their cobwebs within the A&W Cruisin' The Dub 300.

Five races in the books, the overall driver's points in the series reflects a spirited bout formulating between two Canadian wheel men identified with first name initials. Heading into Motoplex Speedway, young stock car hot-shoe J.R. Fitzpatrick held an advantage on the furiously determined D.J. Kennington by a fragile margin. With two wins on road course events in 2010, Fitzpatrick and his #84 Schick Hydro Chevy struts into the A&W Cruisin' The Dub 300 with momentum of the Edmonton Indy weekend win for the series. However, with Kennington winning the last oval round at St. Eustache, the #17 Castrol Edge Dodge had the advantage turn to their side. Reinforced by the pole position with a track record time, D.J. Kennington was well-positioned to make up some ground for in pursuit of his long-eluded Canadian national stock car championship.

As the 300 scheduled laps started at Motoplex Speedway, D.J. Kennington led the field around the half mile track for all the first 178 laps of the A&W Cruisin' The Dub 300. As Kennington presided out front, the big battle on the oval saw 2nd place change hands between four drivers. Scott Steckly, J.R. Fitzpatrick, Mark Dilley and Don Thomson Jr. were all involved in this fight for runner-up. With the first caution dropping on lap 107 for debris and the second on lap 133, Jason Hathaway driving the #3 Snap-on Tools/ Rockstar Energy Dodge was given a free pass back onto the lead lap. Hathaway would become a major factor in the second part of this 300 stock car race.

As Kennington led this NASCAR Canadian Tire Series event from the flag, a lap 177 caution involving a three car wreck provided a pivotal race change. With a pit stop due, the leaders pitted with the #17 first onto pit road but leaving out third. Jason Hathaway's team sent the #3 Dodge out first with the #84 Chevrolet sandwiched between the Dodge-branded stock cars. When the green returned, Fitzpatrick snuck by Hathaway for crucial one lap (earning 5 bonus points in the process) but would not be able to hold the spot as Hathaway retook the lead for an additional 28 laps. A thrilling chance for lead in 2010, the black and gold #17 Dodge chased down Jason Hathaway. With Kennington's speed, the lead change was inevitable that the #17 car would reclaim the top spot. As foreseen, D.J. Kenningston rolled past the #3 car on lap 220.

As Kennington reassumed the lead through the final stage of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race at Motoplex Speedway, his would not be able to leave his competitor behind through this second run. Searching for a 2010 victory, Scott Steckly's Canadian Tire Dodge made some swift moves promoting ratcheting up the heat on the Castrol Edge #17 car. In a matter of 8 laps, Steckly moved from 3rd to 1st taking the lead in lap 236. Remaining defiant to through the final laps, Kennington worked over the #22 Dodge hard but Scott Steckly masterfully prevented the #17 Dodge from leading any more than lap 257. With a lap 294 spin for John Gaunt, the leader was challenged by a green-white-checkered restart to resolve the A&W Cruisin' The Dub 300. Into extra laps, Steckly held off the charge of D.J. Kennington through the final to green flag laps rewarding the Canadian Tire-sponsored driver with his first 2010 win.

Through the final distance, Jason Hathaway found an opportunity to brilliantly steal the 2nd place finish from D.J. Kennington. Finishing 3rd, Kennington would benefit from a late struggle of J.R. Fitzpatrick who was holding on to his #84 Chevy to come home 7th. In the updated points standing for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, only 7 points now separate top-charting Fitzpatrick from D.J. Kennington. Rounding out the top-five finishers at the Motoplex Speedway was Don Thomson Jr and Mark Dilley.

Guided to Saskatoon for the series' next round at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series tour has only 4 days to ready for the Velocity Prairie Thunder.

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