As the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series rolls into their eighth race of the season at Trois-Rivieres in Quebec, the points battle up front is heating up.
Going into the last race in Saskatchewan, J.R. Fitzpatrick led the points by six over D.J. Kennington.
Though after Kennington’s win and Fitzpatrick’s second place finish, Kennington now holds the lead, 14 points over Fitzpatrick.
Both drivers are tough competitors and past champions of the CASCAR, which is what the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series developed out of. Both have also vowed that this battle will go down to the final race at Kawartha Speedway in Ontario.
“It’s going to go down to the end,” Kennington said on NASCAR.ca. “I’ve had the edge on the ovals and him on the road, but he’s a short-track racer and we’ve more than held our own on the road courses over the years."
“I’m not one of these ‘road-course ringer’ guys,” Fitzpatrick said on NASCAR.ca. “I cut my teeth on short-track ovals. I just have a good feel for the car on road courses and am willing to hang it out there and get the most out of it. After running a part-time schedule last year in the (Canadian Tire Series), I came back this year to win the championship. (Kennington) and I will battle to the end which is just fine by me.”
Going into Trois-Rivieres, it’d look like the advantage would go to Fitzpatrick based on his past results in Quebec and how he’s ran on the road courses this year.
In the past in Quebec, Fitzpatrick finished top-10 and started pole in his two past starts with an average finish of 5.5. Also so far this year on the Road Courses, he has finishes of first (Mosport), eighth (Toronto), and first (Edmonton) with top two starts in all three. Fitzpatrick has also made two NASCAR Nationwide Series starts this year, both on road courses and scored a top 10 in one of them (seventh at Road America).
Meanwhile, Kennington finished top 10 in two of his three starts at Trois-Rivieres and has an average finish of 6.3. So far this year on the road courses, he has finishes of sixth, third, and 15th with all three races having top five starts.
Though while the battle rages closely between them, they better not look far in their rearview mirror as Scott Steckley, Don Thomson Jr., and Kerry Micks are all within 150 points of Kennington.
Steckley, currently third, has five top-10s in seven starts this year. In the past in Quebec, he has two top-10s in three starts with an average finish of 12.3. So far this year on the road courses, he has finished fourth, 11th, and third.
Thomson Jr., currently fourth, has one top-10 in three starts at Trois-Rivieres with an average finish of 12th. So far this year on the road courses, he has finished eighth, fourth, and eighth.
Micks, currently fifth, has one win and three top-10s in his three starts at Trois-Rivieres and has finished fifth in each of the road course races this year.
With an overview of the stats and how each driver has been competitive throughout the existence of the Canadian Tire Series, it’s any driver’s race and it should be a tight one right down to the end.
While the championship battle heats up, Andrew Ranger looks to showcase his road course skills. Ranger has ran two road course races this year, which found him with a runner-up finish at Mosport and a win in Toronto. Ranger skipped the event at Edmonton, though is set to defend his Trois-Rivieres win title as he won the race last year.
Ranger is known for his road course skills as in the last nine road course events, he has six wins, two runner-up finishes and a third place finish.
The Place: Circuit de Trois-Rivieres (Que.)
The Date: Sunday, Aug. 15
The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
The Distance: 42 laps / 64.26 miles
Race Purse: $98,998 CAD
TV Schedule: TSN, Aug. 22, 4 p.m. ET
2009 Winner: Andrew Ranger
2009 Polesitter: Alex Tagliani
Schedule: Saturday, Aug. 14 - Practice 9:25-10:05 a.m.; Qualifying 3:35 p.m.
For more information on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, check out http://www.nascar.ca.