TROIS-RIVIERES – D.J. Kennington claims he isn’t a road racer, but he keeps proving himself wrong.
The St. Thomas, Ont., native won the JuliaWine.com 100 in NASCAR Canadian Tire action on Sunday (Aug. 11) at the 44th Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres after holding off road-course specialists Andrew Ranger and Jacques Villeneuve in a harried green-white-checkered finish in front of a crowd exceeding 30,000.
Grimsby’s Jeff Lapcevich, who started in the No. 13 spot, finished ninth in his Dodge. Howie Scannell Jr., of Milton, and his Dodge had suspension problems and finished 25th after starting No. 15.
After starting eighth, Kennington passed former Formula One and IZOD IndyCar Series champion Villeneuve on Lap 38 before the fifth caution flag of the day flew on Lap 40 to set up the exciting finish. On the final restart, Ranger, who had gotten around Villeneuve just after Kennington made his pass, tried in every turn of the 11-turn, 1.53-mile street circuit to rattle Kennington, but was forced to settle for the runner-up position.
With three series road-course wins to his credit Kennington has shown the ability to win anywhere at any time.
Ranger, a four-time Trois-Rivieres winner, started from the rear of the field due to missing Saturday’s qualifying session after competing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.
Villeneuve, who led a race-high 29 laps, finished third for his best finish in three career Canadian Tire Series starts. He finished fourth in this event in 2009.
It was the first win of the season for Kennington, who set a single-season series record with seven victories a year ago and the 19th career win for the driver of the No. 17 Castrol Edge/Mahindra Tractors Dodge which tops the series’ all-time list.
Jason Hathaway finished fourth followed by IndyCar Series regular Alex Tagliani in fifth. Tagliani set a track record in Saturday’s qualifying session for his fourth series career pole win. He led the first eight laps of the race before getting tangled up with Louis-Philippe Dumoulin in a battle for the lead.
Martin Roy, Alex Labbe, Scott Steckly, Lapcevich and Trevor Seibert completed the top ten.
The race was slowed due to caution five times for 16 laps. The five cautions equaled the series high at the track that was established in the 2007 race.
In the championship standings, Steckly saw his lead shrink to just four points over Kennington. Hathaway holds down the third spot, just 14 points behind the leader while Dumoulin dropped from second to fourth, but is still within striking distance at 16 tallies back with just four races remaining.
The JuliaWine.com 100 will be telecast on TSN on Sunday, Aug. 18 at 4:30 p.m. ET.
The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series is in action on Saturday (Aug. 17) at Riverside International Speedway in Antigonish, N.S., in the Wilson Equipment 300 supporting Red Cross Disaster Relief.
Time of Race: 1 hour 13 minutes 42 seconds
Margin of Victory: .455 seconds
Fastest Qualifier: A. Tagliani (82.111 mph, 67.08 seconds)
Caution Flags: 5 for 18 laps.
Lead Changes: 2 among 3 drivers.
Lap Leaders: A. Tagliani 1-8; J. Villeneuve 9-37; D. Kennington 38-46.