Kennington Sets Standard Of Excellence On Ovals
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 10, 2013) – Round and round he goes. The performance of D.J. Kennington on NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 oval tracks has been nothing short of amazing.
Since the series began in 2007 the driver of the No. 17 Castrol Edge/Mahindra Tractors Dodge out of St. Thomas, Ontario, has made 47 starts on circle tracks with a record of 16 wins, 35 top-five and 41 top-10 finishes. He also is the series’ all-time leader in wins with 18 and when he is able to string the wins together special things happen. In his championship seasons of 2010 and 2012, he racked up 12 of those wins.
The history supports Kennington’s assertion that he is an “oval track guy,” but he does have a pair of road-course wins on his résumé with a victory at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, in 2011 and one at Edmonton, Alberta last season.
Kennington’s career was defined by near championship misses in the CASCAR days and early on in the Canadian Tire Series. However, with two titles in the last three seasons, the story has changed.
The biggest noticeable difference over the past few years is the mechanical reliability of the car. His only bobble all of last season was a part failure at Barrie (Ont.) Speedway, but nothing could have been done to prevent it since the part was bad out of the box with no way to foresee the trouble. It was little nagging things that always seemed to bite Kennington at inopportune times.
“We spend a ton of time checking and re-checking everything,” said Kennington. “We’ve had pretty good luck – knock on wood. Things happen to race cars all of the time, but it won’t be because we missed something.”
Last season, Kennington was practically unbeatable on the oval tracks by winning six of the seven dates on the schedule. Only the fuel pump problem at Barrie prevented an opportunity at the sweep. His seven wins was a single-season series record eclipsing the six victories by Andrew Ranger in 2009.
The first five of those triumphs came consecutively. The streak started on the Speedway at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in June and ran through a win in late July at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway in Saskatoon, Sask. The five-race win streak tied a then NASCAR touring series record among currently sanctioned series previously accomplished by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richie Evans (NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour), nine-time NASCAR champion Mike Stefanik (Whelen Modified Tour), legendary West Coast driver Herschel McGriff (NASCAR K&N Pro Series West) and longtime NASCAR national series competitor Ricky Craven (K&N Pro Series East). Ander Vilarino of the Euro-Racecar NASCAR Touring Series in Europe established a new mark by picking up his sixth straight win on June 9 at Brands Hatch in the United Kingdom.
It’s a new year for Kennington and he knows that he is a marked man.
“Last year was last year. It was a great year, but it’s in the past,” Kennington said. “We have a standard of excellence we want to meet that measures up to the competition we expect from everyone else. We can only take care of ourselves and tend to our business. If we do that, then everything should take care of itself.”
As of late, everything has taken care of itself.
Race: EMCO 200
Place: Delaware (Ontario) Speedway
Date: Saturday, June 15
Time: 7 p.m. ET
TV Schedule: TSN, Sun., June 23, 1 p.m. ET; RDS2, Mon., July 8, 9 p.m. ET
Track Layout: Half-mile paved oval
2012 Winner: D.J. Kennington
2012 Pole Sitter: D.J. Kennington
Event Schedule: Practice 12:30-1 p.m.; Final Practice 1:30-2 p.m.; Qualifying 4:30 p.m.; Driver Autograph Session 5:40 p.m..; Opening Ceremonies 6:30 p.m.
Track Contact: John Houghton, (519) 652-5068, email@example.com
Track Twitter: @DelawareSpdway
Event Twitter Hashtag: #EMCO200
NASCAR IMC Contact: Shon Sbarra, (704) 309-5493 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @ShonSbarra
The Race: This is the second event of the 2013 season for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 and the first of eight oval-track events on the schedule. This is the series’ fifth time to Delaware Speedway.
The Procedure: The starting field is 24 cars, including provisionals. The first 21 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials. The remaining three spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 200 laps covering 100 miles.
The Track: Delaware Speedway is a half-mile, paved stock-car track located just west of London, Ontario. For over 50 years, Delaware Speedway has been the home to some of the finest stock car racing in Canada. Its unique natural amphitheater-like setting allows maximum enjoyment for the fans. The track has undergone extensive remodeling over the past few years. The track was opened in 1952 by Hugh Brodie as a quarter-mile dirt track. The track is currently operated by the DeMelo and Spivak families.
The Records: Mark Dilley holds the one-lap track record in qualifying with a time of 19.133 seconds (94.078 mph), set on June 6, 2009. The 200-lap race record was set last season by D.J. Kennington at 1 hour, 22 minutes, 15 seconds (72.948 mph).
No Place Like Home: D.J. Kennington (No. 17 Castrol Edge/Mahindra Tractors Dodge) began his racing career at Delaware Speedway and his familiarity with the track is evident. In the first four Canadian Tire Series events on the half-mile track the driver from nearby St. Thomas, Ont., has three victories and two pole wins. Last season, he won the race from the pole position.
Dodge Ball: Dodge has been perfect at Delaware in four races. Kennington and Don Thomson Jr. (2011) have combined for the wins while Kennington, Dilley (2009) and Pete Shepherd III (2011) have claimed the pole position.
Getting Started: Of the drivers expected to participate in the EMCO 200, four – Dave Connelly, Mark Dilley and Shepherd – are expected to make their 2013 season debut. Four competitors – Daniel Bois, Alex Guennette, Ryley Seibert and Trevor Seibert – will be making their Delaware debut in a Canadian Tire Series car.
Big Weekend: Friday and Saturday evenings will be full of racing at Delaware Speedway. On Friday night the FT Garage Late Models and Coca-Cola Super Stocks will be on the track with heat races and features. The Canadian Tire Series will be joined by the Delaware Trucks on Saturday. Tickets are available for purchase atwww.delawarespeedway.com.
LAST TIME OUT: Pinty’s presents the Vortex Brake Pads 200
First Timer: By winning at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park near Bowmanville, Ontario, L.P. Dumoulin became the 14th different driver to claim a victory in the just over six-year history of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.
Growing Up Dowler: It took 20-year-old Noel Dowler 13 races to collect his first Canadian Tire Series top-10 finish, but after an eight-place showing at CTMP the Alberta-born driver has top 10s in three of his last four starts.
Welcome Back: Brad Graham finished 10th in his first series start since the 2011 season finale at Kawartha Speedway in Fraserville, Ontario.
Tough Start: Championship contenders J.R. Fitzpatrick and Scott Steckly didn’t start the season the way neither had planned. Steckly had a Lap 13 accident forcing him to finish 24th and Fitzpatrick had a drive shaft problem while leading the race on Lap 8 relegating him to a 27th-place finish.
NEXT TIME OUT: Clarington 200
The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 returns to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for the Clarington 200 on Saturday, June 22, the third race of the season, but it’s a visit to the half-mile oval this time around after opening the year on the road course on May 19. D.J. Kennington claimed his first win on the CTMP speedway a year ago which kicked off a five-race winning streak and the run to his second series title.