DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A part-time schedule is not ideal, but Pete Shepherd III has gotten practically every ounce of success out of it.
In the two NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 starts this season, the Brampton, Ont., driver has a perfect record with June wins at Delaware (Ont.) Speedway and the half-mile oval at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park near Bowmanville, Ont. Add in the final few races of last season and the 27-year-old has three victories in his last four efforts. Despite the limited opportunities, Shepherd is not surprised at the success.
"I'm not surprised at all," he said. "We work hard on the car and behind the scenes a lot goes on for us to stay in step with the teams that race more often."
Five total series wins in just 22 starts is more than staying in step. The results beg the 'what if' question, but Shepherd doesn't spend a lot of time dwelling on that.
"I can only do what I can do," he said. "We try to make the most of what's available and we've done pretty well with that recently."
However, it doesn't mean that he doesn't get frustrated at times especially when watching television.
"It doesn't matter if I'm watching a Canadian Tire Series race or a (NASCAR) Sprint Cup Series race, it eats at me that I can't get out there more."
Shepherd had some opportunities in the U.S. in his younger years, but the time wasn't right he laments in retrospect.
"I was just too young. Today, there are some young guys doing some great things, but that wasn't really the case when I was down there," he said. "I've matured so much and learned so much as a driver. So, yes, it bugs me."
The undefeated driver comes into the Hudco Electric Supply 300 presented by G-Oil at Barrie (Ont.) Speedway as the defending champion and for as physical as the racing is on the .333-mile tri-oval Shepherd likes the fact that early trouble doesn't necessarily spell doom.
"It's tough racing there, that's for sure, but you're never out of it there," he said. "I think last year we were down a couple laps early on. As long as you stay with it and protect your equipment as best you can, then you always have a chance there."
Having not raced since mid-June, the driver of the National Exhaust/Diamond Material Handling Dodge is ready to get back on the track.
"I can't wait," he said. "The crowd at Barrie is always great and the racing is never dull. I wish the race was tomorrow."
Race: Hudco Electric Supply 300 presented by G-Oil
Place: Barrie (Ont.) Speedway
Date: Saturday, Sept. 8
Time: 7 p.m. ET
TV Schedule: TSN2, Sat. Sept. 24, 2 p.m. ET; RDS2, Fri., Oct. 4, 8 p.m. ET
Track Layout: .333-mile asphalt tri-oval
2012 Winner: Pete Shepherd III
2012 Pole Sitter: Steve Mathews
Event Schedule: Practice 1-1:30 p.m.; Final Practice 2-2:30 p.m.; Qualifying 4:45 p.m.; On-Track Autograph Session 5:30 p.m.; Driver Introductions 6:30 p.m.
TRACK CONTACT: Diane Cunningham at 705-487-0279 or firstname.lastname@example.org
EVENT TWITTER HASHTAG: #Hudco300
NASCAR IMC CONTACT: John Tejeda, (386) 500-3015 or email@example.com, @OnTheGoJT
If photographs or graphics are needed for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1, please contact Shon Sbarra at (704) 309-5493 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Race: This is the 11th event of 12 in the 2013 season for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 and the seventh of eight oval track events on the schedule. This is the series' ninth visit to the Barrie track.
The Procedure: The starting field is 24 cars, including provisionals. The first 21 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials while the remaining three spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 300 laps covering 99.99 miles.
The Track: Barrie Speedway opened in 1965 and has had substantial improvements made since 1999. At that time, the track was widened and lengthened from a .25-mile oval to its current unique .333-mile tri-oval configuration. The tri-oval and pit road are situated on the backstretch.
The Records: The one-lap qualifying record for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series at Barrie is 13.903 seconds (86.226 mph) set by Don Thomson Jr. on June 28, 2008. The 300-lap race record is held by D.J. Kennington at 1 hour, 40 minutes, 8 seconds established on Sept. 11, 2010 for an average speed of 59.860 mph.
The History: Barrie Speedway has hosted more NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 events than any other track. Kennington leads all drivers with three wins including both visits in 2007 – the series' inaugural season. Last year, Pete Shepherd III won a typically exciting race that was delayed a day due to rain.
BARRIE RACE NOTES
Dodge Dominant: Dodge has won seven of the eight previous Barrie Speedway events with D.J. Kennington (No. 17 Castrol Edge/Mahindra Tractors Dodge) and Scott Steckly (No. 22 Canadian Tire/Sylvania Dodge) accounting for five of those. The only non-Dodge winner was the Chevrolet of Don Thomson Jr. in Sept. 2009.
Little Separation: Barrie Speedway is close quarters competition from start to finish. Kennington holds the series mark for both largest and smallest margin of victory. He outdistanced Dave Whitlock by 1.453 seconds in Sept. 2007 and Thomson by a scant .015 seconds in the 2010 event.
Long And Short Of It: The 300-lap Hudco Electric Supply-sponsored event in Barrie is one of three races scheduled for that number of laps. The Canadian Tire Series went 300 laps in July at Motoplex Speedway in Vernon, B.C., and on Aug. 17 at Riverside International Speedway in Antigonish, N.S. Barrie and Riverside are .333-mile tracks while Motoplex is a half-mile circuit.
Home Tracks Update: Gord Shepherd leads the Wahta Springs Limited Late Model division by 34 points over Ron Quesnelle. In the Canestoga Property Management Thunder Cars Darryl St. Onge leads Rick Walt by just three points and Dave Doucette, in third, sits only five points back. Mike Gettliffe and Doug Butler are in a dead heat in the St. Onge Recreation Pure Stock division.
LAST TIME OUT: Pinty's presents the Clarington 200
New Leader: With a fourth-place finish at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park D.J. Kennington took over the lead in the championship point standings by three over Scott Steckly. L.P. Dumoulin moved into the third spot – 21 points behind the leader – with the victory.
Elite Group: Dumoulin joins J.R. Fitzpatrick and Andrew Ranger as multi-time winners on the road course at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The three drivers account for seven of the eight series wins at the track with Kennington claiming the remaining victory.
High-Water Marks: Martin Roy established a new career-best finish with a runner-up finish on the road course at CTMP. His previous high was fifth on four occasions. Marc-Antoine Camirand (6th) and Gary Klutt (7th) also established new career marks.
Long Field: Thirty-six cars started the Pinty's presents the Clarington 200. It was the largest field for a series race since 37 cars started at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Aug. 2011.
NEXT TIME OUT: Pinty's 250 at Kawartha Speedway
As it has for the past six seasons, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 wraps up its season and crowns a new champion at Kawartha Speedway near Peterborough, Ont. The racy .375-mile oval will play host to the Pinty's 250. A season ago, D.J. Kennington left nothing to doubt by winning the race to clinch his second series championship in three seasons.