Last week, D.J. Kennington picked up his fifth consecutive NASCAR Canadian Tire Series victory at Saskatoon. The victory tied the NASCAR touring series record in the modern era among currently sanctioned series as he joins former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competitor and current ESPN analyst Ricky Craven in 1991 (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East), legendary West Coast driver Herschel McGriff in 1972 (NASCAR K&N Pro Series West), NASCAR Hall of Fame member Richie Evans in 1985 (NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour) and nine-time NASCAR champion Mike Stefanik (NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour) as winners of five straight races at the NASCAR touring series level.
The victory also put Kennington at the top of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series all-time win leaders list with 16 victories.
“It’s really been an amazing run,” Kennington says. “We’ve worked hard for it, but we’ve had some luck, too. You have to for a streak this long.”
This weekend, if Kennington is able to pick up his sixth win at Circuit de Trois-Rivieres in Quebec, he will become the only driver in NASCAR touring series modern era to win six straight races.
“We have stepped up our road-course program over the years, but I’m an oval guy,” Kennington adds. “The ability level of road racing in this series is really high with Ranger, (Robin) Buck, (J.R.) Fitzpatrick, (Kerry) Micks and the list goes on and on. The guys in front of me giftwrapped that Edmonton race. That’s the luck I was talking about. You can bet we’ll show up in (Trois-Riveres), though.”
Kennington has been good on the 1.530-mile temporary street course before as he scored a ninth last year for his fourth straight top-10 finish at the track. The 2010 series champion has yet to finish the race in victory lane as his best finish is a third in 2009, followed by a fourth in 2010. With his current streak of nine straight top five finishes and 10 consecutive top 10s, Kennington will look to continue that consistancy to keep the points lead. He currently leads by 41 points.
While Kennington has yet to find victory lane at Circuit de Trois-Rivieres, Ranger has found victory lane on three separate occasions. He won three straight races from 2008 to 2010, before finishing runner-up to Robin Buck last year. He is arguably the best driver in the Canadian Tire Series at Trois-Riveries as his worst finish is a second in five starts, while leading a series-best 48 laps. Ranger has been consistant during his time in the Canadian Tire Series as he has finished inside the top 10 in 28 of his last 30 series starts dating back to 2008. The two-time series champion sits third in points, 46 points behind Kennington.
Two other drivers have found victory lane at Circuit de Trois-Rivieres, those being Robin Buck and Kerry Micks.
Buck won last year’s event for his second career series victory while finishing outside the top 20 in his three other starts at the Circuit de Trois-Rivieres. Buck is known for only racing the road courses, scoring six top 10s in his last eight series starts.
Micks, meanwhile, won the series’ inaugural visit to Circuit de Trois-Rivieres in 2007. He finished 21st last year for his only finish outside the top 10 in five starts as he was the runner-up in 2010 while finishing ninth in 2008 and sixth in 2009. He has a top 10 in six of his seven last starts dating back to Montreal last year. Micks is splitting driving duties of the No. 02 PartSource/BDI/Leland Ford with Mark Dilley, hoping to win the owner’s championship. They currently sits fifth.
The one closest though to catching Kennington in the driver’s championship standings is last year’s champion Scott Steckly. He finished third last year at Circuit de Trois-Rivieres while his best finish is a second that came in 2008. The two-time series champion has top-10 finishes in four of his last five starts on the 1.53-mile Quebec track. He has eight top five finishes in his last nine series starts as he currently sits 41 points behind Kennington.