DJ Kennington won a drag race to the finish line with Don Thomson Jr. to win the Wild Wing 300 presented by DriveWise in a photo finish Saturday night at Barrie Speedway.
Kennington, out of St. Thomas, Ont., led the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 event for much of the final 100 laps but a late-race caution allowed Thomson to mount a challenge. Thomson, who was looking for his second straight win at Barrie, took second with five to go and briefly took the lead on the final lap after nudging Kennington up the track in Turns 1 and 2. Kennington and Thomson were side-by-side into the final two turns on the cozy .333-mile track when Kennington repaid the favor setting up the sprint to the finish line where the margin of victory was .015 seconds.
“I knew it was coming, so I was getting prepared for it,” said Kennington of the contact from Thomson. “I was able to stay with him and make a move of my own.”
Track position is tantamount to success at Barrie and Kennington felt his team played out its strategy perfectly.
“The Castrol Edge Dodge was great tonight and my guys made all the right calls in the pits,” he said. “We wanted to spend the first part of the race getting as much track position as we could get to have a chance at the win.”
Thomson, who hails from Hamilton, Ont., settled for the runner-up position, but still was pleased with the outcome. He never has finished outside the top three in six series starts in Barrie and has top-10 finishes in nine of his last 10 starts.
“I took my shot. It was the only thing I could do. I didn’t have time to pass him fair and square on the outside, so I moved him a little,” Thomson said. “But I couldn’t get far enough away from him and he got me back in (Turn) 4. The Home Hardware Chevy struggled a bit early on, so I’m pretty happy with a (second-place finish).”
The best view of the last-lap excitement was that of Brampton, Ontario’s Pete Shepherd III, who finished third for his best series finish in just eight starts.
“This was a fantastic night for us,” he said. “We’re making great progress as a team. The National Exhaust/Gates Dodge crew made this one possible. They were awesome tonight. All I had to do was stay out of trouble.”
Scott Steckly, who led a race-high 179 laps, and points leader JR Fitzpatrick finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Ron Beauchamp Jr., who won his first pole position of the season earlier in the day, finished sixth. Anthony Simone, Jeff Lapcevich, John Gaunt and Jason Hathaway rounded out the top 10.
It was Kennington's fourth win of the season -- all on ovals -- and the eighth of his career. The victory also allowed Kennington to close to within 21 points of Fitzpatrick with two races remaining.
“It was a good points night for us and with two to go it’s all going to come down to that last race at Kawartha,” said Kennington.
The race was slowed due to caution 8 times for a total of 79 laps and the lead changed hands three times among three drivers.
For the special contingency awards, Kennington garnered the Autolite Spark Plugs Time To Change Your Position award, after bouncing back from a poor performance on Aug. 29 in Montreal, and the top position in the Dodge/Mopar Fast Five competition as the highest finishing Dodge in the race. Thomson earned the Mobil 1 Command Performance Driver of the Race and the Coca-Cola Move of the Race award by improving his finishing position the most from where he started the race. He also collected the Vtech Free Pass award for being the highest finisher of the cars that received a free pass in the event. Steckly notched the Mahle Clevite Engine Builder of the Race award.
The Wild Wing 300 presented by DriveWise will be telecast on TSN on Saturday, Sept 18 at noon ET.
The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 is back in action next week as it makes its way to the Canadian Maritimes on Saturday, Sept. 18 for the Komatsu 300 presented by Wilson Equipment at Riverside International Speedway in Antigonish, N.S.
NASCAR CANADIAN TIRE SERIES presented by MOBIL 1-Wild Wing 300 presented by DriveWise Unofficial Results
At Barrie Speedway
Lap length: 0.333 miles
(Start position in parentheses)
1. (5) DJ Kennington, St. Thomas, Ont., Dodge, 300 laps, 59.860 mph, $9,550.
2. (10) Don Thomson, Jr., Hamilton, Ont., Chevrolet, 300, $8,550
3. (8) Pete Shepherd, III, Brampton, Ont., Dodge, 300, $6,050.
4. (2) Scott Steckly, Milverton, Ont., Dodge, 300, $5,850.
5. (3) JR Fitzpatrick, Cambridge, Ont., Chevrolet, 300, $2,850.
6. (1) Ron Beauchamp, Jr., Windsor, Ont., Dodge, 300, $3,400.
7. (6) Anthony Simone, Holland Landing, Ont., Chevrolet, 300, $2,550.
8. (12) Jeff Lapcevich, Grimsby, Ont., Chevrolet, 300, $2,450.
9. (9) John Gaunt, Barrie, Ont., Dodge, 300, $2,350.
10. (13) Jason Hathaway, Appin, Ont., Dodge, 299, $2,750.
11. (15) Joey McColm, Ajax, Ont., Dodge, 299, $2,050.
12. (7) Mark Dilley, Barrie, Ont., Dodge, 298, $1,850.
13. (16) Jason White, Sun Peaks, B.C., Chevrolet, 297, $1,750.
14. (4) Kerry Micks, Mt. Albert, Ont., Ford, 296, $1,700.
15. (14) Dexter Stacey, Kahnawake, Que., Dodge, 291, $1,650.
16. (11) Shawn McGlynn, Kitchener, Ont., Dodge, 285, $1,550.
17. (17) Kent Nuhn, Williamsford, Ont., Dodge, 77, rear end, $1,500.
18. (18) Kenny Forth, Lynden, Ont., Dodge, 15, rear end, $1,450.
Time of Race: 1 hour 40 minutes 8 seconds
Margin of Victory: .015 seconds
Fastest Qualifier: R.Beauchamp, Jr. (83.430 mph, 14.369 seconds)
Caution Flags: 8 for 79 laps.
Lead Changes: 3 among 3 drivers.
Lap Leaders: S. Steckly 1-138; R. Beauchamp,Jr. 139-162; S. Steckly 163-203; D. Kennington 204-300.
Standings: 1. J. Fitzpatrick, 1778; 2. D. Kennington, 1757; 3. S. Steckly, 1692; 4. D. Thomson,Jr., 1676; 5. K. Micks, 1652; 6. J. Hathaway, 1520; 7. R. Beauchamp,Jr., 1437; 8. M. Dilley, 1394; 9. A. Simone, 1328; 10. D. Stacey, 1280.