DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 23, 2012) – Reeling off top-five finishes is good, but for Scott Steckly it's not enough.
The two-time and defending NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 champion doesn't show up to finish second, third or fourth. He shows up looking to win and wants to win. Sure, in points racing qualify finishes are crucial, but that's just not what drives this competitor.
“We want to win races and haven't been able to get that done this year – yet,” said the pilot of the No. 22 Canadian Tire Dodge out of Milverton, Ont.
In six outings this season, Steckly has five top-five finishes which is good enough for second in the championship point standings behind D.J. Kennington. This is where the problem is. Kennington is in the midst of a four-race winning streak and has amassed a 35-point lead on Steckly, who with 11 series career wins has yet to visit Victory Lane this year.
“That (Kennington) car has something figured out this year and we haven't found it yet,” said Steckly. “That's how this sport goes, though. Someone finds something and we all chase it for a while. Then, we move on to the next thing.”
It will have to be a quick turnaround for Steckly, who just might be coming off the most bitter race of his career with the Velocity Prairie Thunder presented by Bayer Crop Science at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway in Saskatoon, Sask., coming up on Wednesday, July 25.
On Sunday in Edmonton, he had a dominating car and led for 29 of the 31 laps on the 2.256-mile road course before a pair of late-race cautions. While out front his lead fluctuated between 3.5 and 4.5 seconds, but on the final restart J.R. Fitzpatrick, racing for his third Edmonton win, and Steckly made contact in a tight section of the course knocking both drivers out of contention and opening the door for Kennington's series record fourth straight victory.
“It was a disappointing end to the race. We had the best car on the track,” said the dejected Steckly after the race.
Winning is what makes champions and in his two previous title-winning seasons Steckly has a combined seven victories.
“We're not frustrated at all. We've had great finishes for the most part,” he said. “We just want to win.”
Steckly already knows how to win at the Saskatchewan track having claimed the series' inaugural event there in July 2009.
“It's a great track they have there,” he stated. “You're able to pass without taking the bumper to someone which makes for a good race. We're definitely looking forward to it.”
But maybe more than the racing, Steckly enjoys the fans and excitement surrounding the event.
“They have great fans,” he said. The track is always packed and we always work on the car at a local Canadian Tire store which has a steady stream of people stopping by to show their support. The whole town really gets into this event.”