The final race of the 2012 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 season is set to take place at Kawartha Speedway in Fraserville, Ontario. The focus is on the championship and whether Kennington can become a two-time series champion.
Fitzpatrick sits closest in points to Kennington, sitting 23 points behind. Therefore, Kennington has to finish 19th or better if Fitzpatrick was to win the race and lead the most laps as Kennington would then win the tie breaker.
A finish of 20th or worse is possible as proven at Barrie Speedway on September 8th when Kennington had fuel pump problems. However, that marks his only finish outside of the top five all season long.
“The Barrie thing was nobody’s fault,” Kennington says. “We couldn’t see that coming, but it’s crunch time now and we’ll see to everything we can.”
[media-credit id=4 align=”alignleft” width=”266″][/media-credit]The St. Thomas, Ontario driver brings momentum to Kawartha following his sixth victory of the season last weekend at Riverside International Speedway. The sixth victory of the season ties the single-season mark that Ranger established in 2009. Kennington has a chance to take sole possession of the record and his chances look good, following two victories at Kawartha in the past, including last year.
“It’s been a phenomenal year. I’ve got the best race team out there and they’ve worked tirelessly to make this a possibility,” Kennington says. “We’ve got one race to go, though, and nothing is clinched yet.”
Along with the victories at Kawartha last season and in 2009, he also finsihed second in 2008 and third in 2010 for a total of four top five finishes at Kawartha in five outings. He has also led a series-best 252 laps at the .375 mile speedway.
On the flip side, Fitzpatrick has yet to score a victory at Kawartha despite leading 87 laps there. He came home with a third place finish last year.
While the focus is on the championship picture, Martin Roy has already clinched the 2012 Rookie of the Year title after being the top-fnishing[media-credit id=4 align=”alignright” width=”266″][/media-credit] rookie in four different races this season. His best finish of the season came at Edmonto City Centre Airport in July, where he finished fifth. He currently sits ninth in the series points standings with one top-five finish and five top 10s this season.
Roy made the adjustment to oval racing after success in the dirt modified ranks. He had fellow Quebec native Mario Gosselin in his corner as his crew chief. Gosselin has experience in NASCAR’s top three divisions, including 46 career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts.
“From the very start of the season the communication with (Gosselin) has been very good,” Roy says. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without his knowledge of the sport.”
While the focus will be on those three, there is also a race to settle that could very well see one of the other competitors take the victory. Jason Hathaway, Pete Shepherd III and Scott Steckly each have won at Kawartha Speedway in the past.
Steckly won the series’ inaugural visit to Kawartha in 2007 and has four top 10 finishes in five Kawartha starts, including a second to Kennington last year.
Hathaway won the rain-shortened 2008 race at Kawartha and has three top 10 finishes in five starts. Last season didn’t work out well as he finished 21st.
Shepherd III won the 2010 event at Kawartha and has led 151 laps in three series starts. The series part-timer will be looking for his second victory of the season after winning at Barrie Speedway earlier this month.
Steve Mathews will be looking for his first career victory after finishing seventh last year, after leading over 40 laps and getting spun under caution. He also won his first career pole last year. Mathews has momentum following a fourth in his last series start at Barrie earlier this month.