DJ Kennington

September 27, 2010 16:33 ET

Lucky 17 for #17! DJ Kennington Wins NCATS Series Championship

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 27, 2010) -

Editors Note: There is a photo associated with this press release.

It couldn't be more fitting! After 17 seasons with the same sponsor, Castrol, the #17 car has taken DJ Kennington to the top of the heap in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series – Canada's top motorsport series with races right across the country.

Castrol Edge driver DJ Kennington began the 2010 NASCAR Canadian Tire series more focused than ever on the goal of a championship. The team arrived at Kawartha Speedway for the final event of the season with a forty point lead in the standings on Saturday knowing that a finish of sixth or better in the race would accomplish their mission. 

Like the twelve previous events the #17 Castrol Edge Dodge showed up at the track ready to race. Kennington won last year's race at Kawartha Speedway and knew they'd be on top of their game. "Just like they did all season the Castrol Edge team had the car so well prepared that practice was just some fine tuning," said the driver. "And we dialed it in pretty quick" he added.

Kennington made another statement to the competition when he claimed his fifth pole position starting spot of the year, qualifying with a lap time of 17.983 seconds for an average speed of 75.071mph. "We were the only car to get a lap under 18 seconds" said Kennington. "And we really set the Castrol Edge Dodge up for the race".

When the green flag waved to begin the 250 lap feature event Kennington would lead 78 of the first 79 racing laps. "The Castrol Edge Dodge was running great," said Kennington. "I was able to keep a nice gap back to second place and just drove my race early on" he stated.

The evening was not without drama for the Castrol Edge team however. Following the team's flawlessly executed pit stopfor fuel and left side tires during a caution period, Kennington felt something amiss when the race restarted. "The car just wasn't handling well," said the driver. "I was just hanging on trying to figure out what was happening," he added.

During the next caution period the team made another scheduled stop for right side tires, after which a puncture in the right rear was detected and the information relayed to Kennington. "We caught a big break that we got the caution and were able to make the pit stop and I didn't have to run too long with that tire going down," said DJ.

With a better handling race car Kennington moved the Castrol Edge Dodge back toward the front of the field while being cautious and noting that he was now in position to clinch the overall point's title. "We always want to win the race," explained the driver "but you're always points racing, especially at this stage of the season. I knew where the #84 car (closest rival for the championship JR Fitzpatrick) was and what we had to do to take the championship". 

Kennington kept the Castrol Edge Dodge in the top five for much of the closing stages and could see the #84 just ahead knowing if he just maintained position he would be the champion. With Kennington running fourth on the final lap, the #84 was bumped aside and out of second place allowing DJ to slide up into third place finish to claim the title.

After the race it was an emotional and extremely grateful Kennington who tried to thank everyone that had a helping hand in his first NASCAR title. "When I was sixteen years old I raced my first full season with Castrol sponsorship. It took seventeen years but we finally got the #17 Castrol Edge Dodge a championship. I'm so happy that I could do this for them after finishing second so many times. 

DJ also made a special tribute to his father, I have to thank my dad who works so hard to build these motors my mom and my whole family for their support". "It's just awesome," he said, adding that he couldn't give his father, Doug, whose birthday followed the race on Sunday, a better present.

Kennington's win was the culmination to his best season - 5 first place finishes this season, 9 top 5 overall out of 13 races - but the team has put in 17 seasons of effort to get this far. "We worked so hard for this all these years. I can't be happier for our team and my sponsor, Castrol."

On hand for the huge win, Dave Fifield and Marsha McLaughlin of Wakefield Canada, the exclusive distributor of Castrol in Canada, joined in with their own enthusiasm. "Our company has believed in DJ since he was 16 and it's thrilling to see him and the entire team reach their goal," said Fifield.

"I think introducing Castrol EDGE was the little bump the #17 car needed this season," McLaughlin commented. "After all EDGE is the Best Castrol Ever – DJ tells me he could feel the difference and he certainly showed it. "

Kennington will be honoured on December 11th at the NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards Gala to be held at the newly opened NASCAR Hall of Fame where he will receive his Championship Ring. 

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