“Kennington Express” Continues To Rumble

SASKATOON, Saskatchewan, Canada – The “Kennington Express” continued to rumble across Canada on Wednesday as D.J. Kennington scored his fifth straight win in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 with a victory at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway in the Velocity Prairie Thunder presented by Bayer Crop Science.

With each win, the 2010 series champion from of St. Thomas, Ontario has extended the series record for consecutive victories. Kennington’s win at Saskatoon also puts him atop the list of career series victories, with 16.

“We had a good car tonight, but not a great one,” said Kennington. “I just can’t say enough about my guys. They all just keep working and we’re in a pretty good groove right now.”

Kennington, who started fifth on the grid in his No. 17 Castrol Edge/Mahindra Tractors Dodge, led briefly just past the midway point of the race before being passed by Jason Hathaway. Kennington gained the lead back when Hathaway’s car broke on a Lap 196 restart. From there he held off numerous challenges from pole-sitter J.R. Fitzpatrick and Mark Dilley. Kennington held on for the win, despite contact with Dilley in Turn 3 on the last lap.

Pos Driver
1 D.J. Kennington
2 Mark Dilley
3 J.R. Fitzpatrick
4 Scott Steckly
5 Jim White

“J.R. Fitzpatrick and Mark Dilley are class acts. They both had the opportunity to knock me out of the way and they didn’t,” said Kennington. “Dilley probably had the car to beat there at the end, but I was lucky enough to hang on.”

Dilley nearly played the patience game perfectly having a fast car at the end of the race, but settled for his second runner-up finish of the season.

“The car was good at the end, but where I wanted to go was going to make it three-wide, but that wasn’t going to work,” Dilley said. “And the angles weren’t right. Where I was coming off the corner and the way (Kennington) was coming off, we would have met in the middle and that wasn’t going to work, either. We’ll take what we got and we’re happy with it.”

Once again, Fitzpatrick was in contention down the stretch, but came up short with a third-place finish.

“We’re just missing that little bit to compete with (Kennington). They’re working hard just like we are,” Fitzpatrick stated. “That was good, hard racing down the stretch there and a lot of fun. We just need to find a little more.”

Defending series champion Scott Steckly finished fourth, with Jim White in fifth. Rounding out the top 10 were Andrew Ranger, Louis-Philippe Dumoulin, Ron Beauchamp Jr., Nick Jewell and Martin Roy.

The 250-lap race featured five lead changes among four drivers – Kennington, Fitzpatrick, Steckly and Hathaway. The pace of the event was slowed by six cautions covering 46 laps.

Kennington became the first driver with multiple wins on the .333-mile Saskatoon track, having also won there in 2010.

In the point standings, Kennington has opened a formidable lead of 41 points over Steckly with Ranger and Fitzpatrick holding down the third and fourth positions, respectively.

The Velocity Prairie Thunder presented by Bayer Crop Science will be telecast by TSN2 on Saturday, Aug. 4 at 6:30 p.m. ET and RDS2 on Sunday, Sept. 2 at 6:30 p.m. ET.

The event was the seventh of 12 races on this year’s schedule and the third in a three-race swing by the series through Western Canada that featured races at Motoplex Speedway and Event Park in Vernon, British Columbia and Edmonton (Alberta) City Centre Airport.

The next event for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 will be the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres (Quebec) on Aug. 3-5.