During the dog days of summer the days arent the only thing getting shorter, the battle for the 2010 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Championship is down to just 5 events, 4 of which will take place on ovals begining with this weekends Dickies 200 from the half mile Mosport Speedway in Bowmanville, Ontario. If you were to ask what DJ Kennington what he thinks about the 4 of the final 5 events being on ovals he would probably be very okay with that. Kennington has been superb on the oval tracks this year winning three of the four thus far, the only oval he didnt win this year (Motoplex) he led nearly 200 of 300 laps from the pole and finished 2nd to Scott Steckly. Meanwhile points leader JR Fitzpatrick has been the better of the two drivers on the road courses thus far. Fitzpatrick has picked up wins at Mosport and Edmonton along with a 3rd place run last weekend at Trois-Rivieres. Fitzpatrick was in contention for the win in Toronto before sliding off with less than 2 laps to go and finished 8th.
However this oval race in the past three years has favoured the veterans of the series a bit more. Don Thompson Jr won the inagural event in 2007 while Kerry Micks won a rain delayed race in 2008. Andrew Ranger won last years event but wont be competing this year.
While most people have narrowed down the 2010 Championship to the two horse race of Kennington vs Fitzpatrick there are some other drivers not too far behind that could still have a shot at it should the top 2 slip up in the final 5 events. 2008 Series champion Scott Steckly sits 3rd in points just 94 behind the leader Fitzpatrick. 2008 Mosport winner Kerry Micks after a 2nd place run at Trois-Rivieres is 4th in points 128 behind while Don Thompson Jr is 5th, 193 back of the lead.
Thompson may be one of the most decorated drivers in Canadian stock car racing history but one before he retires there is one thing he still wants out of his racing career. ?Definitely, I want to win one of those (NASCAR) championship rings,? he said.
Thompson won back to back CASCAR East Series Championships in 1999 and 2000 before winning an amazing 5 straight Super Series (National) championships from 2001 to 2005. While some drivers race conservative to win titles Thompson (who turns 48 on August 24th) would rather do so by winning races. ?If you run up front and win races, then the points and championships take care of themselves,? he stated. Thompson was always known for winning races and backed that up by winning the first ever Canadian Tire Series race in May 2007 at Cayuga. However as of late Thompson hasnt been winning races. Thompson has gone winless thus far in 2010 and only took home one victory in 2009 taking the checkers at Barrie Speedway in September.
Dispite the winless season Thompson still has a chance at the 2010 title but to get there he will have to get by teammate JR Fitzpatrick (2006 CASCAR Champion) to do it. But as badly as Thompson wants his NASCAR Championship ring, he wants to make sure he does it cleanly. In a scenario where its the final race of the year and there are 10 laps to go and Thompson must pass his teammate to win the championship?... ?I will race him hard and do every-thing I can to pass him clean, but I will not move him,? Thomson said. ?I have too much respect for the Fitzpatrick family to do that.?
Thompson has got some work to do however before he finds himself in that scenario and will have to get the season on track this weekend at Mosport if he wants it to happen this year. But if there is any driver in the Canadian Tire Series garage who knows how to win championships its Don Thompson Jr.
My Top 5 Picks
1. #4 Don Thompson Jr
2. #17 DJ Kennington
3. #02 Kerry Micks
4. #3 Jason Hathaway
5. #22 Scott Steckly
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