Scott Steckly started off the 2011 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series season in style last night, by dominating the competition at the Dickies 200 on Mosport’s paved oval. A jammed air gun during a stop for tires dropped Steckly back to 5th place just past the mid point in the race, but by lap 153 of the 200 lapper, the Motomaster Dodge caught Pete Shepherd III and then took over the lead for good.
Further back in the field, there was a touch more drama that eliminated some of the top potential challengers.
The first to experience troubles was Jason White who left the field just a handful of laps into the race with a cloud of smoke trailing his Dodge Challenger. Now driving a car prepared by Kawartha Speedway Group and top NASCAR crew chief Derek Lynch, this is White’s put up or shut up season and things weren’t looking favorable right then. Lynch solved a mystery oil leak coming from a fuel pressure gauge hose and the A & W hot rod was back out on track. Through the rest of the race, White easily matched the pace of the top finishers, serving notice that he will be a contender in the coming events.
Next up, NCTS veteran Mark Dilley was sidelined when a giant chunk of asphalt was kicked up from the track and punctured the radiator of his Rheems and Partsource sponsored Dodge Challenger.
Always a threat to win, Kerry Micks is a hard charger who is also guaranteed to be in the middle of the on track action. The ever photogenic Dickies, Digital Imaging Ford Fusion came under heavy attack during the late stages of the race. The number 19 Dodge of Brad Graham made heavy contact with the back end of Micks’ #02, prompting a conversation about how Micks might be teaching Graham a lesson on the next restart. That was not to be, as the Ford got turned around in the post restart battle only to be clobbered by Steve Mathews who wasn’t able to get around the spinning Micks. The resulting impact pushed a front wheel back into the fire wall, ending Mick’s race just a few laps from the finish.
Mention must be made of young Dexter Stacey in the bright yellow WJS Motorsports Dodge. Last season, Stacey became a fan and photographer favorite thanks to his exuberant driving style which often led to on track excitement. He also strikes a chord with family minded fans, as his entire clan is at every race cheering him on and Mom is never too far away to lend a shoulder when things go awry. Stacey was displaying a much more mature driving style last night which included enough speed to match the leaders. That is, he was until Steve Mathews spun and collected the feathered Dodge. The resulting impact broke a tie rod, which punctured the radiator and ended his race. If it wasn’t for bad luck, this kid would have none at all!
All in all, it was an exciting start to the season. While Steckly may have pretty much run away with the race, there are a bunch of drivers who have shown that their pace has improved during the off season and there will be some great battles to come. Oh yes, there is the small matter of some retraining that Micks may well dish out at the next event!
1 2 22 Scott Steckly Canadian Tire Dodge 201 190 10 Running
2 5 7 Pete Shepherd, III National Exhaust/HY-Tech Dodge 201 175 5 Running
3 9 8 Don Thomson, Jr. Farmers Feed Families Dodge 201 165 Running
4 14 19 Brad Graham Holmar Plumbing Dodge 201 160 Running
5 4 17 DJ Kennington Castrol Edge Dodge 201 160 5 Running
6 6 3 Jason Hathaway Snap-on Tools/Vortex Brake Pads Dodge 201 150 Running
7 1 84 JR Fitzpatrick Equipment Express Chevrolet 201 151 5 Running
8 12 23 Jeff Lapcevich Tim Hortons Dodge 200 142 Running
9 10 60 Ron Beauchamp, Jr. Mopar/Mobil 1 Dodge 200 138 Running
10 3 15 Steven Mathews * Bill Mathews Motors Ford 200 139 5 Running
11 15 5 Pete Vanderwyst * EMCO Dodge 199 130 Running
12 17 99 Derek White Mohawk Market Chevrolet 197 127 Running
13 7 2 Kerry Micks Dickies/Beyond Digital Imaging Ford 194 129 5 Running
14 19 7 Isabelle Tremblay * Groupe Beton Brunet/ADF Diesel Ford 193 121 Running
15 11 21 Jason White A&W Dodge 172 118 Running
16 13 55 Dexter Stacey WJS Motorsports Dodge 119 115 Accident
17 16 82 Dave Connelly * Schneider’s Dodge 90 112 Engine
18 8 9 Mark Dilley Rheem/PartSource Dodge 42 109 Radiator
19 18 97 Hugo Vannini * Vannini Motorsports Ford 36 106 Brakes