Late surge gives Thomson NASCAR CT event

ANTIGONISH, N.S. – Former Hamilton resident Don Thomson Jr., won the Atlantic Dodge Dealers 300 at Riverside International Speedway on Saturday (Sept. 20) to keep his championship hopes alive. He now trails Scott Steckly by 67 points heading into next week’s final race of the NASCAR Canadian Tire season.

Thomson (No. 4 Home Hardware Chevrolet) assumed the lead with two laps to go after Peter Gibbons (No. 1 Canadian Tire/Mobil Super Chevrolet) was penalized by NASCAR officials for getting into the back of race leader Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Wal-Mart/Tide Ford). Thomson closed out the race by beating teammate JR Fitzpatrick (No. 84 Fitzpatrick Motorsports Chevrolet) to the line by .202 seconds.

“It was a tough race tonight. I had some contact with John Gaunt (No. 12 Centennial Chrysler Dodge) out there and I apologize for that,” said Thomson. “I got dumped a couple of races ago after leading a bunch of laps, so I guess tonight was our turn to come out on top. The car was really pretty good all day.”

Ron Beauchamp Jr. (No. 60 Mopar/Mobil 1 Dodge) came in third followed by Mark Dilley (No. 9 Dodge/Leland Industries Dodge) and Dave Whitlock (Dickies/NMT Dodge) in fourth and fifth, respectively. Ranger, Brad Graham, Doug Brown, Gibbons and Peter Shepherd III rounded out the top 10.

The race had 11 lead changes among six drivers and was slowed by caution eight times for 65 laps.

Steckly’s (No. 22 Tow Truck in a Box/Erb Group Dodge) unofficial 67-point lead provides a decent cushion over Thomson heading into next week’s season finale, the Dodge Dealers of Ontario Ram 250 at Kawartha Speedway.

The 2008 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series season comes to a close next Saturday at Kawartha Speedway with the Dodge Dealers of Ontario Ram 250. Grimsby’s Jeff Lapcevich finished 20th after starting in the sixth spot.