D.J. Kennington took advantage of some misfortune by J.R. Fitzpatrick and went to Victory Lane for the second time in as many weeks as he won the EMCO 200 presented by Niagara Plumbing Supply and McKeough Supply in NASCAR Canadian Tire Series action on Saturday at Delaware Speedway.
Kennington, out of St. Thomas, Ont., led a race-high 99 laps after starting the race from the pole position in his No. 17 Castrol Edge/Mahindra Tractors Dodge. It was his second win of the 2012 season after winning at the Speedway at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on June 16, 13th of his series career, and his third victory in four starts at his home track.
"To hear the cheer from the crowd makes all this hard work worthwhile," said the 2010 Canadian Tire Series champion. "I just hate it for J.R. because that kid is on his game and that whole team is doing well. I know we would have put on a great show for the fans. We can race hard and race clean."
Fitzpatrick was leading the race on Lap 158 when the red flag was given to the field after the frontstretch lights suddenly went out for approximately 20 minutes. During the break his car started leaking fluid and he ultimately had to give up the lead on pit road to get service on his car.
"We don't like getting the lead like that but we had a good car all night long," added Kennington.
Defending series champion Scott Steckly overcame some early problems to finish second while Jason Hathaway came home in third. Two-time series champion Andrew Ranger finished fourth followed by Pete Shepherd III in the fifth position.
Kennington started from the pole and led the first 55 laps of the race before pitting during the first caution of the night for debris when Steckly suffered some cosmetic damage on his Dodge.
Steckly, who picked up the podium finish after the incident on Lap 53, was not real happy despite the strong finish.
"We worked on the car all night and we have been experimenting with some stuff and maybe we shouldn't be," Steckly said. "But we worked on the car all night and the guys on the crew did a great job. We are going to get a win for them real soon."
For Hathaway, the third-place showing was just what his team needed.
"Right from the season opener we have been running well and this gives us a lot of momentum before we head out West here in a couple of weeks," Hathaway. "We need just a little more luck and I think we can move up and challenge for a win here pretty soon."
Jason White rebounded from a poor qualifying effort and spin early in the race to tie his career-best finish in sixth. Mark Dilley also rebounded from some trouble caused by a flat tire to come home seventh.
Joey McColm, Noel Dowler and Louis-Philippe Dumoulin completed the top 10 while Fitzpatrick was relegated to a 14th-place finish.
The race was slowed due to caution four times for 34 laps and the race lead changed hands four times among three drivers.
In the championship point standings, Kennington took over the top spot from Fitzpatrick, who fell to third. Ranger occupies second place – 13 points in back of the leader. Steckly and Dumoulin remain at fourth and fifth while Hathaway used his second consecutive top-five finish to move up to sixth in the standings.
The EMCO 200 presented by Niagara Plumbing Supply and McKeough Supply will premiere on TSN on Sunday, July 8 at 3pm et/Noon pt and on RDS2 on Wednesday, July 25 at 10pm et/7pm pt.
The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series embarks on its three-race swing though Western Canada on Saturday, July 14 for the A&W Cruisin' The Dub 300 at Motoplex Speedway and Event Park in Vernon, B.C.