Thomson races to third at Prairie Thunder

Pete Shepherd III celebrates his win at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway on Wednesday. (Photo: Perry Nelson/NASCAR)

SASKATOON, Sask. (July 27) – Pete Shepherd III made a last-lap pass of DJ Kennington to win the Velocity Prairie Thunder NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway on Wednesday. Hamilton’s Don Thomson came home in third place and moved to third in the driver’s season’s standings.

Shepherd seized the opportunity when JR Fitzpatrick spun out of second place late in the race. Shepherd challenged Kennington on the restart and was able to get by him coming to the checkered flag to score his second career series win in his first visit to the Saskatoon track. The 24-year-old Brampton competitor became the sixth different driver to visit Victory Lane this season.

Following Thomson, who held the lead once, was Kerry Micks in fourth, with Mark Dilley taking fifth. Rounding out the top 10 were Jason Hathaway, Ron Beauchamp Jr., Dan Shirley, JR Fitzpatrick and James Van Domselaar.

Thomson has 1,062 points. Leader Scott Steckly has 1,153 points and in second place is Kennington with 1,133.

Kennington, who had set a track record in winning the Keystone Light Pole Award in qualifying earlier in the day, paced the field for nearly 100 laps early and went on to lead the most laps. Shepherd, who started alongside Kennington on the front row, was never far away, however.

Kennington gave up the top spot on Lap 100 as the leaders made pit stops during the fourth caution. Following another round of pit stops during a subsequent caution period, Kennington came out of the pits in third behind Fitzpatrick and Jason Hathaway. He quickly moved to second and got by Fitzpatrick for the lead on Lap 227.

Meanwhile, Shepherd was also making his way to the front. He was up to fourth by Lap 202 and third by Lap 231. When Fitzpatrick spun on Lap 240, while running second, it opened the door for Shepherd to make his move. He edged Kennington by .045 seconds. The win gives Shepherd a top five finish in five of his last seven starts.

The race was slowed due to caution six times for 52 laps and the lead changed hands nine times among six drivers.

Scott Steckly finished 20th and saw his lead in the point standings over Kennington drop from 97 to just 20 after his team had to make repairs after sustaining some damage early in the race.

The Velocity Prairie Thunder from Auto Clearing Speedway will be telecast by TSN on Saturday, Aug. 6 at 1 p.m. ET.

The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series is next in action on Sunday, Aug. 7 at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres (Que.) for the GP3R 100.