NASCAR Canadian Tire Series: D.J. Kennington Gets Title, Shepherd Gets Win No. 1

Ashley McCubbinAnalyst ISeptember 26, 2010

Kennington celebrates championship No. 1 / (C)Matthew Manor
Kennington celebrates championship No. 1 / (C)Matthew Manor

In a race full of drama right down to the last lap, it capped off a great season of racing in Canada.

While the spotlight was on the championship battle, Pete Shepherd III scored his first career win in his ninth career start, leading 124 laps. Shepherd also marked the fourth different winner in four starts at the track as he won by 1.350 seconds over Kerry Micks.

33-year old D.J Kennington of St. Thomas, Ontario, finished third to win the 2010 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series start as he had to finish sixth or better.

“When I was sixteen years I raced my first full season with Castrol sponsorship,” Kennington said after the race as according to team press release. “It took 17 years but we finally got the No. 17 Castrol Edge Dodge a championship.  I’m so happy that I could do this for them after finishing second so many times. 

"Our team also gets fantastic support from Mahindra Tractors and Hitachi Power Tools came on board with us this year and have been great.  Bryan Cathcart has been with us for a long time as well and I can’t thank them all enough.  And I have to thank my dad who works so hard to build these motors my mom and my whole family for their support.”

Kennington’s team had the car quick right off the truck, ready to win the title.

“Just like they did all season the Castrol Edge team had the car so well prepared that practice was just some fine tuning,” he said.  “And we dialed it in pretty quick.”

He then showed in qualifying that he had a quick car as he won his fifth pole of the season with a lap time of 14.983 seconds.

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“We were the only car to get a lap under fifteen seconds,” Kennington said.  “And we really set the Castrol Edge Dodge up for the race.”

For Kennington, his love of stock car racing started a young age.

"I was 5 years old when my dad first took me Go Kart racing and all I know is that I loved every minute of it," he said in the Toronto Sun. "I just caught that bug. And I haven't been able to get away from it no matter what. To this day, if it has four wheels on it I want to race it."

Right after he got his licence, he hit his local short track, ready to go after it.

"I remember that I got my driver's licence on a Thursday and on that Friday I was racing at Delaware Speedway (near London, Ont.)," he said. "I won my first heat race and I thought, 'Wow, this is going to be easy.'"

Kennington had finished runner-up twice (2007, 2009) in the past, though this is his first championship. Also, with the championship, he earns a starting spot in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, which is considered the Daytona 500 of short-track racing.  

Kennington came into the event with a 40-point lead over J.R. Fitzpatrick, who spun on the last lap after contact between himself and Micks while battling for second. This relegated Fitzpatrick to a 15th place finish, making the end of the year gap 87 points.

"I wouldn't say we did this wrong or that wrong," Fitzpatrick said. "Overall, when I look back I think this team really had a phenomenal season."

A bad finish at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and a broken clutch at Riverside Speedway are what threw Fitzpatrick off of the top.

"We just had a lot of bad luck," he said.

Both Kennington and Fitzpatrick said they would be back next season, ready to battle it out again.

"Absolutely I'll be back next season," Kennington said. "This is what I do. I absolutely love racing. And being able to make a living doing what you love is just a dream come true."

Scott Steckley finished third in points, followed by Don Thomson Jr. and Micks.

Rounding out the top-10 behind Kennington at the line on track was Mark Dilley, Thomson Jr. fifth, Steckly, Jason Hathaway, Jeff Lapcevich, Ron Sheridan and, Ron Beauchamp Jr.

The Kawartha 250 will be shown on TSN on Sunday October 10th at 1 p.m. EST.

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