Thomson, Lapcevich can’t overtake Canadian NASCAR champ

nascarcanadaScott Steckly, defending NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 champion, isn’t quite ready to surrender his crown as evidenced by his win at the Tide 250 at Autodrome St. Eustache on Sunday (July 12).

Steckly, out of Milverton, Ont., led 43 of the final 44 laps, but still had to withstand a challenge from DJ Kennington on a restart with six laps to go. Steckly was able to hold on and beat Kennington to the line by .319 seconds.

It was Steckly’s first win of the season and first carrying the Canadian Tire colors, his new primary sponsor this season. Overall, he extended his own series career win record to six. His last win came at Barrie Speedway last Sept. 6.

Steckly, who was forced to serve a drive-through penalty after jumping an early restart, was able to overcome the error and make his way back to the front.

“The restart thing was my fault and that just made it harder,” said Steckly. “It is great to get back to Victory Lane. I wish it wouldn’t have taken four races, but we’ll take it.”

John Gaunt finished third for this second career podium finish. He was followed by local favorite Andrew Ranger and Dave Whitlock, winner of the Tufoil 250 in St. Eustache on May 23, in fourth and fifth, respectively. Kerry Micks, Brad Graham, Jason Hathaway, Andre Coursol and Joey Hanssen rounded out the top 10.

Ranger, in a brand new race car sporting a NASCAR spec engine under the hood, controlled the early portion of the race, but was hounded by Kennington and Micks for much of the way. Former Formula One champion and Indy 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve made his series debut much to the delight of the crowd, but the joy was quickly doused after an accident on the first lap. Starting the race on the inside lane left him with no where to go as cars stacked up in front. The crew tried to make repairs but to no avail. He finished 22nd.

The race was slowed due to caution 12 times for a total of 64 laps.

Earlier in the day, Kennington set a track record in qualifying, besting the record of Hamilton’s Don Thomson Jr. set on July 5, 2008. Kennington recorded a time of 17.210 seconds compared to Thomson’s 17.219 seconds on the .4-mile flat oval. Thomson finished 17th after having the No. 2 start position followed by Grimsby’s Jeff Lapcevich and his Chevrolet.

Unofficially in the point standings, Ranger assumes the lead from Ron Beauchamp Jr. Kennington is second, 17 points behind Ranger. Beauchamp slipped to third in the standings after finishing 12th.

The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 begins its three-race swing to western Canada next Saturday at SunValley Speedway in Vernon, B.C. for the A&W Cruisin’ The Dub 300.

Tide 250 Unofficial Results

(Start position in parentheses)

1. (6) Scott Steckly, Milverton, Ont., Dodge, 250 laps, 52.121 mph, $11,500.
2. (1) DJ Kennington, St. Thomas, Ont., Dodge, 250, $7,000.
3. (3) John Gaunt, Barrie, Ont., Dodge, 250, $5,500.
4. (4) Andrew Ranger, Roxton Pond, Que., Ford, 250, $4,300.
5. (12) Dave Whitlock, Petrolia, Ont., Dodge, 250, $3,500.
6. (5) Kerry Micks, Mt. Albert, Ont., Ford, 250, $2,600.
7. (15) Brad Graham, Glencoe, Ont., Dodge, 250, $2,500.
8. (16) Jason Hathaway, Appin, Ont., Dodge, 250, $2,400.
9. (19) Andre Coursol, St. Jerome, Que., Chevrolet, 250, $2,300.
10. (21) Joey Hanssen, Venray, Holland, Dodge, 250, $3,250.
11. (13) Jonathan Bouvrette, St. Therese, Que., Ford, 250, $2,000.
12. (11) Ron Beauchamp, Jr., Windsor, Ont., Dodge, 249, $1,800.
13. (14) Kent Nuhn, Williamsford, Ont., Chevrolet, 238, $1,700.
14. (17) Jason White, Sun Peaks, B.C., Chevrolet, 234, $1,650.
15. (9) Anthony Simone, Holland Landing, Ont., Chevrolet, 206, $1,600.
16. (18) Derek White, Kahnawake, Que., Chevrolet, 194, suspension, $1,500.
17. (2) Don Thomson, Jr., Hamilton, Chevrolet, 194, $1,450.
18. (8) Jeff Lapcevich, Grimsby, Chevrolet, 166, accident, $1,400.
19. (22) Hugo Vannini, Repentigny, Que., Ford, 136, accident, $1,350.
20. (7) Mark Dilley, Barrie, Ont., Dodge, 112, engine, $1,300.
21. (20) Dexter Stacey, Kahnawake, Que., Pontiac, 29, differential, $1,250.
22. (10) Jacques Villeneuve, Montreal, Ford, 0, accident, $1,225.

Standings: 1. A. Ranger, 657; 2. D. Kennington, 640; 3. R. Beauchamp,Jr., 632; 4. S. Steckly, 628; 5. K. Micks, 605; 6. D. Whitlock, 597; 7. A. Simone, 577; 8. J. Hathaway, 534; 9. M. Dilley, 512; 10. K. Nuhn, 508.