DJ Kennington of St. Thomas, Ont. is a bridesmaid no longer at the A&W Crusin’ the Dub 300.
After posting back-to-back runner-up finishes behind defending champion Scott Steckly of Milverton, Ont., Kennington finally took the checkered flag at the NASCAR Canadian Tire series event Saturday at MotoPlex Speedway and Event Park.
The Dub 300 thoroughly entertained the estimated 6,000 race fans, with more leader changes than the Arab Spring to go along with seven restarts.
Kennington, who was near the front most of the night, slipped down the leaderboard when he snuck into the pits to change tires after Jarrad Whissel raised a caution for spinning out in his No. 44 SMS Equipment/Komatsu Ford on Lap 190. Kennington methodically worked his way through the pack, overtaking fifth place by Lap 217, and third by 226.
Jason Hathaway of Appin, Ont., who claimed second in his No. 3 Snap-on Tools/Rockstar Dodge, gave him a three-lap battle before relinquishing second place, and Kennington, piloting his No. 17 Castrol Edge/Mahindra Tractors Dodge, overtook Steckly on Lap 249 and cruised to the win.
“It’s tough to pass here… and this track’s hard on tires,” said Kennington, of the banked, half-mile tri-oval.
“The guys made a good call to get our left sides when we did. We figured it would be a long green run there at the end and we had to have tires or we weren’t going to be able to do anything.”
The win was Kennington’s third consecutive this season, giving him 227 points for a 23-point lead over Cambridge, Ont.’s JR Fitzpatrick (204) in the series standings. Roxton Pond, Que.’s Andrew Ranger is third with 200.
Steckly (No. 22 Canadian Tire/Motomaster Dodge), Fitzpatrick (No. 84 Equipment Express Chevrolet) and Sun Peaks’ Jason White (No. 21 A&W/Bower Wilkins Dodge), picking up his career-best finish, rounded out the top five.
White was understandably thrilled with the result.
“I needed this run here really bad,” said White, whose brother, Jim, finished an impressive seventh. “I’ve had some bad luck (on this track). I’m just on cloud nine, that’s for sure.
“I got a great team; DJ Kennington Racing has put an awesome car underneath me and it’s just allowing me to be able to drive, and tonight was the drive of my life.
“I tried to be patient and save my tires. The caution flags fell, when they did, to our advantage and bunched us back up again. In this series, the frontrunners go hard and they put you down a lap early.”
White finished the race, which lasted just over two hours, without his hood. His crew had to remove it after he bumped into Trevor Siebert’s No. 69 Lake Excavating Dodge (Williams Lake).
“It doesn’t matter what it looks like; as long as you finish in the top five, that’s what counts,” smiled White, who credited Penticton’s Sarah Cornett-Ching for working as his spotter.
The A&W Cruisin’ The Dub 300 will be telecast by TSN on Sunday, 2 p.m. PT.
The next race on the Canadian Tire series is the Edmonton 100 on Sunday.