Thomson too much for challenger in NASCAR series race

VERNON, B.C. – Former Hamilton resident Don Thomson Jr., (No. 4 Home Hardware Chevrolet) passed points leader Scott Steckly (No. 22 IRL International/Tow Truck in a Box Dodge) with just eight laps remaining to take the A&W Cruisin’ The Dub 300 at SunValley Speedway in front of a capacity crowd.

Steckly was in position to collect his third straight NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio win before Thomson, now living in Ayr, Ont., made the pass for his first win of the 2008 season and his third overall in the series.

Thomson became just the second driver in the series to win a race from the pole position. Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Wal-Mart/Tide Ford) pulled off the feat in 2007 at Mosport International Raceway. It was Thomson’s fourth pole of the season. The win was worth $8,600 for Thomson.

“We have been qualifying great all year, but it wasn’t turning into good results for one reason or another,” said Thomson. “Poles are nice, but we really wanted to get the win.”

Steckly was seemingly headed for another win, but his Dodge was a handful as the race was reaching its conclusion.

“It was just too loose to hold him off,” said Steckly. “I had to be careful going into the turns and wait to get on the gas. I was trying to make the car as wide as possible, but (Thomson) is too good for that.”

Finishing with a Canadian Tire Series career-best finish in third was John Gaunt (No. 12 Centennial Chrysler Dodge).

Rounding out the top five were Mark Dilley (No. 9 Dodge/Leland Industries Dodge) and D.J. Kennington (No. 17 Castrol/Haldex Dodge).

The early going was highlighted by a spirited battle between Thomson and Kerry Micks (No. 02 Beyond Digital Imaging Ford). On lap 82, Thomson got into the back of Micks in Turn 3 causing Micks to slide into the outside retaining wall. Under the ensuing caution Micks made contact with Thomson’s Chevy on the front stretch. Micks’ Ford, however, had to be retired before NASCAR officials could assess a penalty.

Overall in the race there were 16 lead changes involving nine drivers and the race was slowed for caution nine times for 77 laps.

The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio continues its swing through western Canada next Saturday (July 26) in Edmonton, Alberta for the Edmonton Canadian Tire Series 100 as part of the big Rexall Edmonton Indy weekend. A year ago, more than 60,000 fans were on hand to witness J.R. Fitzpatrick’s victory.

Top 10 Driver Points: Scott Steckly 900, Don Thomson, Jr. 789, D.J. Kennington 772, Andrew Ranger 715, Peter Gibbons 705, Derek Lynch 704, Kerry Micks 700, J.R. Fitzpatrick 694, Brad Graham 671, Mark Dilley 653