Former Series Champion Steckly Hungry For Road Win
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 13, 2013) – It has been right there, but Scott Steckly has not been able to grasp the brass ring on a road course.
A great deal of pride can be taken in the numbers considering the competition. In 27 career NASCAR Canadian Tire Series road course starts, the Milverton, Ontario driver has recorded 17 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes which includes five second-place efforts. While proud of his road-racing résumé, it just adds to Steckly’s hunger.
“We’ve done pretty well overall which is good for points,” said Steckly. “We’re all out here to win races, though.”
Winning is an experience the No. 22 Canadian Tire/Johnsonville Dodge team has. With 11 career wins Steckly has the third-highest total in series history behind D.J. Kennington (18) and Andrew Ranger (16). The three drivers have combined to claim all six series titles. Ranger and J.R. Fitzpatrick have left the pickings slim on road courses by combining to win 20 of the 27 events since the series’ inception in 2007.
Despite finishing fourth in the final point standings last season, it was not a typical Steckly campaign. It was his first winless season since before the NASCAR era in Canada and, yes, there was one that got away. Last July in Edmonton, Alberta, Steckly was blowing everyone away with leads of over 10 seconds on the 2.256-mile road course. However, a pair of late-race cautions tightened the field. On the second restart Steckly and Fitzpatrick got tangled up racing for the lead opening the door for Kennington to slide through the gap and on to victory.
“We had that one,” said Steckly after the race. “Winning a road course race is a goal of ours and it should have been accomplished today.”
Over the years Steckly has been solid at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, the site of this year’s season opener. In six starts, Steckly has four top fives with a career-best finish of third coming last season which was one of his two starts from the pole position on the 2.459-mile road course. His qualifying run last May established a new track record for the series.
“We’ve been decent there,” he said. “If there is a track that I’d like to get our first road win at; it’s Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. It would be a great fit with Canadian Tire on our car.”
That wouldn’t be the only potential benefit for Steckly, who began his championship-winning campaigns in 2008 and 2011 with victories in the season opener.
Race: Pinty’s presents the Vortex 200
Place: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Bowmanville, Ont.
Date: Sunday, May 19
Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
TV Schedule: TSN/TSN2, Sun., May 19, Time (TBA); RDS2, Fri., June 4, 9 p.m. ET
Track Layout: 2.459-mile road course
2012 Winner: J.R. Fitzpatrick
2012 Pole Sitter: Scott Steckly
Event Schedule: Sat., May 18: Practice 11:30 a.m.-Noon; Final Practice 12:45 – 1:15 p.m.; Qualifying 4 p.m.; Sun., May 19: Driver Autograph Session 11:15 a.m.; Opening Ceremonies 1 p.m.
Track Contact: Ryan Chalmers, (905) 983-9141, email@example.com
Track Twitter: @CTMPOfficial
Event Twitter Hashtag: #PintysVortex200
NASCAR IMC Contact: Shon Sbarra, (704) 309-5493 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @ShonSbarra
The Race: This is the opening event of the 2013 season for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and the first of four road-course events on the schedule. This is the series’ seventh time to visit the track.
The Procedure: The starting field is 32 cars, including provisionals. The first 27 cars will qualify through NASCAR road-race style (group) qualifying. The groups will be determined by practice times. The remaining five spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 51 laps covering 200 kilometers (125.4 miles).
The Track: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, formerly known as Mosport International Raceway, is Canada’s largest motorsports complex. The 750-acre, multi-track facility is located within the Greater Toronto Area, north of Bowmanville, Ont. CTMP features the 2.459-mile road course; a half-mile, paved oval; a 2.4-kilometer advanced driver and race driver training facility and a 1.4-kilometer kart track. The facility opened in 1961 and has hosted stock car, Formula 1 and IndyCar events over the years. The road-course track was resurfaced in 2000 and widened to 40 feet. Canadian Tire acquired the naming rights to the facility in early 2012 and new ownership has made several improvements to the facility over the last two years.
The Records: The single-lap qualifying record is held by Scott Steckly and was set on May 19, 2012 at 105.484 mph (83.922 seconds). Andrew Ranger also holds the race record at 1 hour, 26 minutes, 39 seconds for an average speed of 86.838 mph on June 17, 2007.
The History: In the previous six NASCAR Canadian Tire Series events on the road course at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, J.R. Fitzpatrick (2008, 2010 and 2012) and Andrew Ranger (2007, 2009) have accounted for five of the six wins. D.J. Kennington claimed his first series road-course victory in 2011. Ranger has claimed three starts from the pole while Steckly has two. Qualifying in 2011 was rained out.
For Openers: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park hosts the season opener for the second straight season and is the fifth different track to host the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series opener. Only the former Cayuga Motor Speedway in 2007 and 2008 has played home to as many kickoff events. CTMP actually has hosted thee openers, but the 2011 season began down the hill on the half-mile oval.
Friendly Confines: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park has been good to J.R. Fitzpatrick with three victories in six starts. He also has a pair of runner-up finishes and a third-place effort.
Four On The Floor: Four drivers – Ron Beauchamp Jr., Jason Hathaway, D.J. Kennington and Scott Steckly – on the preliminary entry list for the Pinty’s presents the Vortex 200 have participated in all 75 races in NASCAR Canadian Tire Series history. The four have combined for 30 race victories with Kennington taking the checkered flag a series-best 18 times while Steckly has 11 wins and Hathaway has one.
New Number: Jeff Lapcevich will not be in his familiar No. 23 Tim Hortons Dodge this year as he makes the switch to No. 76 in homage to his father, Joe, who passed away earlier this year.
First Timers: At this time three drivers – Daniel Bois, Alex Guennette and Ryan Klutt – will be making their Canadian Tire Series debut this weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Klutt’s brother, Gary, scored an 11th-place finish in his 2010 series debut. Both are the sons of Peter Klutt, a veteran series road course competitor.
Lots Of Action: Castrol presents the Victoria Day SpeedFest has something for all race fans. The Canadian Tire Series brings the roar of stock-car racing while there are sports cars of all sorts on the schedule. Also competing over the weekend is the Canadian Touring Car Championship, Canadian Supercar Series, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin and the Trans-Am Series. Tickets for the action-packed weekend are still available at www.canadiantiremotorsportpark.com.
NEXT TIME OUT: Delaware
The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series makes its annual visit to Delaware (Ontario) Speedway on Saturday, June 15 for the first of eight dates this season on an oval track. D.J. Kennington has been virtually invincible on his home track with three wins in four tries. His triumph at Delaware last season helped extend his series record-setting five race win streak that led him to his second series championship.