Steckly takes NASCAR Canadian Tire Series title with win
9/22/2013 7:53:16 PM
FRASERVILLE, Ont. – Scott Steckly has been battling back all season. He won the Pinty's 250 at Kawartha Speedway in a green-white-checkered finish on Sunday to come from behind to win the 2013 championship in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 by just two points.
The Milverton, Ontario driver had to win the race and lead the most laps to earn the maximum 48 points to overcome a five-point deficit coming into the event in order to become the first three-time series champion. Steckly led a race-high 113 laps en route to the victory.
"It's just great," said Steckly. "I really can't put into words what this means to everyone involved in 22 Racing. My crew works hard to give me good cars and my thanks goes out to them. (Thanks) to the fans. We get great support we get from the fans week in and week out. To do this is just amazing."
After beginning the 2013 campaign with a pair of finishes outside the top 20, Steckly mounted a charge that included three straight wins in July. He entered the final race, which was delayed a day by rain, trailing defending champion D.J. Kennington in the championship standings.
Steckly, whose previous titles came in 2008 and 2011, demonstrated the strength of his No. 22 Canadian Tire Dodge early in the day on Sunday, topping the practice charts and winning his 12th career series pole.
He led the early portion of the race, making a point of staying ahead of Kennington. After pitting twice during the second caution, Steckly and Kennington restarted 12th and 13th, respectively. The pair steadily worked their way to the front as Jason Hathaway, who entered the event with a mathematical shot at the title, pulled away with a big lead.
All three title contenders stopped for right side tires during a caution on Lap 150 and from there set sail to the finish. Jeff Lapcevich led initially, but soon gave way to Pete Shepherd III.
The trio of title contenders battled among themselves as they closed in and moved by Lapcevich for second. Hathaway, who slipped by Kennington, challenged Shepherd for the lead following a restart - but saw his hopes dashed with a spin in Turn 4.
Steckly took advantage on the restart and raced Shepherd side-by-side for the lead - eventually getting the top spot for good after contact coming out of Turn 4. Steckly went on to win by a margin of .580 seconds over Shepherd.
"The lapped cars make it difficult sometimes and we just stayed as patient as we could," said Steckly. "The caution there at the end is pretty much a given in this race and we were able to hold everybody off."
Shepherd, who was looking for his third win in four starts this year, came up just short in that bid.
"Scott just outdrove me there at the end," said the driver of the No. 7 National Exhaust Dodge. "I didn't make it easy for him to pass me, but he was able to get around me. If I could have gotten to the outside of him in Turn 1, I would have bound him down pretty good, but I respect the championship battle he was in and he earned every inch of it today."
Lapcevich was able to hang on for a finish in third which gave him his third top-five finish of the season.
"Overall, the Tim Hortons Dodge was really good today," said Lapcevich. "I had some trouble getting going on restarts, but all of the pit stops were good. We came in, I think, three times and we picked up positions each time. I'm satisfied with what we did today."
Kennington ended up in fourth while Martin Roy came home fifth. Finishing sixth through 10th were Noel Dowler, Donald Chisholm, Mark Dilley, Ron Beauchamp Jr. and Ryley Seibert.
The Pinty's 250 will premiere on TSN2 on Sunday, Oct. 6 at 5:30pm et/2:30pm pt and on the French-language RDS2 at 9 p.m. ET on Friday, Oct. 18. Both shows are special 90-minute programs.