J. Jason Witten C Patch Jersey .R. Fitzpatrick
ended a 20-race winless streak to pick up his first win since July 25, 2010 –
and it wasnt easy as he held off D.J. Kennington in the final turn at Canadian
Tire Motorsports Park to win the Vortex Brake Pads 200 in the season-opener for
the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Sunday in front of an ethusiastic crowd. For
Fitzpatrick, out of Cambridge, Ont., it was his seventh career win in the series
and his third at the Bowmanville 2.459-mile road course. On the day, he led a
race-high 39 laps behind the wheel of his No. 84 Equipment Express Chevrolet.
Despite leading all those laps, he was consistently being hounded by Kennington,
Scott Steckly and Andrew Ranger. “I made some contact with Steckly and Im sorry
about that, but I was going for the win just like he was,” said the 24-year-old.
“I was expecting a lot of things, but I was pretty sure (Kennington) would race
me clean after the way we raced here last year when he beat me.” In his mind,
Fitzpatrick was game planning around where Steckly, who started the race from
the pole and had the fastest car on the track all weekend, was on the track.
After I changed tires I was kind of saving my stuff because I knew that 22 car
would be coming and coming fast,” Fitzpatrick said. “It was really insane in
those last few laps. Were happy to get the win today and ride this momentum.”
Even though Kennington finished as the runner-up he was happy with the results.
“Ill take a top-three finish on a road course anytime,” said the driver of the
No. 17 Castrol Edge/Mahindra Tractors Dodge. “That was really a great race. Who
wouldnt like that one? It was hard-fought battle all day long.”Steckly, on the
other hand, was not as pleased with his finish as he began his quest for a third
series title in his No. 22 Canadian Tire Dodge. “We should be happy with a
third-place finish, but its really not what we were looking for after having the
fastest car all weekend,” said the defending series champion. “It was good, hard
racing. We just cant seem to get a win on a road course.” Two-time winner at
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Andrew Ranger finished fourth followed by fellow
Quebecer Louis-Philippe Dumoulin in fifth. Jason Hathaway, Kerry Micks, Jeff
Lapcevich, Robin Buck and Peter Klutt completed the top 10. The race lead
changed hands nine times among six drivers including four times between
Fitzpatrick and Kennington in the final 10 laps. The field was slowed due to
caution just three times for 11 laps. The Vortex Brake Pads 200 will air on TSN
on Sunday, May 27 at 4:30 p.m. ET and Wednesday, June 13 at 10 p.m. ET on RDS2.
The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series with two road-course events to open the season
will be back on the track on June 2-3 for the Lucas Oil Grand Prix at Circuit
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