Thomson comes in third as NASCAR north series opens

Bowmanville, Ont. – Hamilton’s Don Thomson Jr., raced to a third place finish at the Dickies 200 at Mosport Speedway on Saturday (May 28), as the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series kicked off its 2011 season.

Thomson and his Dodge started ninth in the field of 19 cars. Jeff Lapcevich of Grimsby, also driving a Dodge, crossed the finish line in eighth place after starting in the No.12 position.

Scott Steckly rebounded from problems during a pit stop to win the season opener with an average speed of 66.740 mph.

The 2008 series champion from Milverton, Ont., had dominated much of the 200-lap event on the half-mile banked oval and led a race-high 112 laps, but lost the lead during a pit stop when an air gun jammed as a crew member was changing the right rear tire on his No. 22 Canadian Tire Dodge.

Steckly’s fast pace earlier in the race, which left only five cars on the lead lap by just past the midway point, served to minimize his setback. He restarted fifth and quickly began his charge to the front. He caught Pete Shepherd III by Lap 153 and moved by for the lead a few laps later. Steckly held on through two restarts in the last 10 laps to take the win, the ninth of his career.

Shepherd edged Thomson for second; with fourth going to Brad Graham and defending series champion DJ Kennington fifth. Jason Hathaway, JR Fitzpatrick, Lapcevich, Ron Beauchamp Jr., and series rookie Steven Mathews completed the top 10.

Fitzpatrick had led the initial laps, after winning his seventh career series pole in qualifying. Mathews charged out front and set the pace, but Kennington later slipped by as they battled through lapped traffic. Steckly, who had started second on the grid, chased down Kennington and moved by for the lead on Lap 58. He maintained the lead until everyone made their pit stops during a caution on Lap 124. After the pit stop issue, he charged his way back to the front and retook the top spot on Lap 157.

The Dickies 200 will be televised on TSN on Saturday, June 4, at 1 p.m.

The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series will be back in action next weekend when the circuit makes its inaugural visit to Circuit ICAR, the modern motorsports facility north of Montreal. Indianapolis 500 polesitter Alex Tagliani is entered in the event.

NASCAR CANADIAN TIRE SERIES-Dickies 200 Unofficial Results

At Mosport Speedway
Bowmanville, Ontario

Lap length: 0.5 miles

(Start position in parentheses)

1. (2) Scott Steckly, Milverton, Ont., Dodge, 201 laps, 66.740 mph.
2. (5) Pete Shepherd, III, Brampton, Ont., Dodge, 201.
3. (9) Don Thomson, Jr., Hamilton, Ont., Dodge, 201.
4. (14) Brad Graham, Glencoe, Ont., Dodge, 201.
5. (4) DJ Kennington, St. Thomas, Ont., Dodge, 201.
6. (6) Jason Hathaway, Appin, Ont., Dodge, 201.
7. (1) JR Fitzpatrick, Cambridge, Ont., Chevrolet, 201.
8. (12) Jeff Lapcevich, Grimsby, Ont., Dodge, 200.
9. (10) Ron Beauchamp, Jr., Windsor, Ont., Dodge, 200.
10. (3) Steven Mathews, New Liskeard, Ont., Ford, 200.
11. (15) Pete Vanderwyst, St. Thomas, Ont., Dodge, 199.
12. (17) Derek White, Kahnawake, Que., Chevrolet, 197.
13. (7) Kerry Micks, Mt. Albert, Ont., Ford, 194.
14. (19) Isabelle Tremblay, St. Hippolyte, Que., Ford, 193.
15. (11) Jason White, Sun Peaks, B.C., Dodge, 172.
16. (13) Dexter Stacey, Kahnawake, Que., Dodge, 119, accident.
17. (16) Dave Connelly, Arnprior, Ont., Dodge, 90, engine.
18. (8) Mark Dilley, Barrie, Ont., Dodge, 42, radiator.
19. (18) Hugo Vannini, Repentigny, Que., Ford, 36, brakes.

Race Statistics

Time of Race: 1 hour 30 minutes 21 seconds
Margin of Victory: .865 seconds
Fastest Qualifier: J. Fitzpatrick (83.187 mph, 21.638 seconds)
Caution Flags: 5 for 32 laps.
Lead Changes: 7 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders: J. Fitzpatrick 1-10; S. Mathews 11-46; D. Kennington 47-57; S. Steckly 58-124; D. Kennington 125; K. Micks 126-132; P. Shepherd,III 133-156; S. Steckly 157-201.

Standings: 1. S. Steckly, 190; 2. P. Shepherd,III, 175; 3. D. Thomson,Jr., 165; 4. B. Graham, 160; 5. D. Kennington, 160; 6. J. Fitzpatrick, 151; 7. J. Hathaway, 150; 8. J. Lapcevich, 142; 9. S. Mathews, 139; 10. R. Beauchamp,Jr., 138.