St. Eustache, Que. – Just days after Dave Whitlock announced his retirement effective at the end of the season, he took control of the Tufoil 250 at Autodrome St. Eustache late in the race and survived a green-white-checkered finish to earn his first career NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race.
Whitlock (No. 39 Dickies/NMT Dodge), out of Wyoming, Ont., wrestled the lead from Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Wal-Mart/Tide Ford) on Lap 242 and then held off charges from Kerry Micks (No. 02 Beyond Digital Imaging Ford) and Ron Beauchamp Jr. (No. 60 Mopar/Mobil 1 Dodge).
“It was a lot of fun out there tonight,” said Whitlock. “We haven’t been very good the last couple of years, but we want to go out with a bang.”
Micks finished second, just .244 seconds behind Whitlock. Beauchamp opened the season with a third-place finish after closing out last season on a high note.
Scott Steckly (No. 22 Canadian Tire/Tow Truck in a Box Dodge) opened his title defense with a fourth-place effort. Mark Dilley (No. 9 Dodge/Leland Industries Dodge) shuffled back and forth throughout the race and finished fifth.
Ranger, Jason White, Jason Hathaway, Hamilton native Don Thomson Jr, and Miguel Duhamel rounded out the top 10. Jeff Lapcevich of Grimsby, started eighth and finished 19th. Steckly dominated the early going and led the first 44 laps before being overtaken by Ranger, who was strong all evening long.
Micks and Ranger staged a vigorous battle for the lead as the race neared the 100-lap mark. Micks was able to take control as Mark Dilley worked past Ranger. Micks opened up a lead of nearly a second on Dilley after the field settled down for some green-flag racing.
Ranger and Kennington both pulled away the rest of the field for nearly 100 laps. Kennington, however, was content to follow Ranger for one of the longer green-flag runs of the evening. Thomson moved past Kennington on Lap 182 and set his sights on Ranger, who had moved out to a lead of over one second. However, when Joey Hanssen spun in Turn 4 on Lap 191, the caution flag waved and Ranger’s lead evaporated.
A lap 199 restart, set off a three-car battle between Ranger, Thomson and Kennington, but Ranger was able to retain the lead. Kennington quickly dropped out of that skirmish and the race with engine problems leaving Thomson to chase down Ranger.
The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series is back on the track on June 6 for it’s first-ever visit to Delaware (Ont.) Speedway for a 200-lap event.
Tufoil 250 Results
At Autodrome St. Eustache
St. Eustache, Que.
Lap length: 0.4 miles
(Start position in parentheses)
1. (11) Dave Whitlock, Petrolia, Ont., Dodge, 259 laps, 48.512 mph, $11,100.
2. (7) Kerry Micks, Mt. Albert, Ont., Ford, 259, $5,200.
3. (6) Ron Beauchamp, Jr., Windsor, Ont., Dodge, 259, $5,600.
4. (1) Scott Steckly, Milverton, Ont., Dodge, 259, $4,500.
5. (5) Mark Dilley, Barrie, Ont., Dodge, 259, $3,000.
6. (3) Andrew Ranger, Roxton Pond, Que., Ford, 259, $2,600.
7. (15) Jason White, Sun Peaks, B.C., Chevrolet, 258, $2,500.
8. (14) Jason Hathaway, Appin, Ont., Dodge, 258, $2,400.
9. (4) Don Thomson, Jr., Ayr, Ont., Chevrolet, 258, $2,300.
10. (12) Miguel Duhamel, LaSalle, Que., Ford, 254, $2,250.
11. (18) Derek White, Kahnawake, Que., Chevrolet, 248, $2,000.
12. (9) Kent Nuhn, Williamsford, Ont., Chevrolet, 243, $1,800.
13. (10) Anthony Simone, Holland Landing, Ont., Chevrolet, 216, $1,700.
14. (16) Andre Coursol, St. Jerome, Que., Chevrolet, 213, $1,650.
15. (17) Joey Hanssen, Venray, Holland, Dodge, 210, $1,600.
16. (2) DJ Kennington, St. Thomas, Ont., Dodge, 203, engine, $1,500.
17. (13) Brad Graham, Glencoe, Ont., Dodge, 120, brakes, $1,450.
18. (19) Dexter Stacey, Chateauquay, Que., Pontiac, 69, $1,400.
19. (8) Jeff Lapcevich, Grimsby, Ont., Chevrolet, 35, accident, $1,350.
Time of Race: 2 hours 8 minutes 8 seconds
Margin of Victory: .244 seconds
Fastest Qualifier: S. Steckly (83.454 mph, 17.255 seconds)
Caution Flags: 11 for 79 laps.
Lead Changes: 15 among 7 drivers.
Lap Leaders: S. Steckly 1-44; A. Ranger 45-86; K. Micks 87-113; D. Whitlock 114; R. Beauchamp,Jr. 115-118; S. Steckly 119; R. Beauchamp,Jr. 120-130; D. Thomson,Jr. 131; R. Beauchamp,Jr. 132-134; J. White 135-138; A. Ranger 139-234; K. Micks 235; A. Ranger 236-241; D. Whitlock 242-256; R. Beauchamp,Jr. 257; D. Whitlock 258-259.
Standings: 1. D. Whitlock, 185; 2. K. Micks, 175; 3. R. Beauchamp,Jr., 170; 4. S. Steckly, 165; 5. A. Ranger, 160; 6. M. Dilley, 155; 7. J. White, 151; 8. D. Thomson,Jr., 143; 9. J. Hathaway, 142; 10. M. Duhamel, 134.