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Steckly Victorious in NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Season Opener at Mosport Speedway

Scott Steckly won the season-opening Dickies 200 at Mosport Speedway. Photo by Ramesh BayneyScott Steckly rebounded from problems during a pit stop to win the Dickies 200 at Mosport Speedway on Saturday night, as the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series kicked off its 2011 season.

The 2008 series champion from Milverton, Ont., had dominated much of the 200-lap event on the half-mile oval, but lost the lead during a pit stop when an air gun jammed as a crew member was changing the right rear tire on his No. 22 Canadian Tire Dodge.

“I got a little frustrated watching everyone go by while I was just sitting there,” he said. “These things happen and we don’t get terribly upset by it.

Steckly's fast pace earlier in the race, which left only five cars on the lead lap by just past the midway point, served to minimize his setback. He restarted fifth and quickly began his charge to the front. He caught Pete Shepherd III by Lap 153 and moved by for the lead a few laps later. Steckly, who led a race-high 112 laps, held on through two restarts in the last 10 laps to take the win, the ninth of his career.

“This is a great way to start the year. We’ve got a brand new car and hopefully we can continue this momentum early in the season,” said Steckly.

The day, however, did not get off to a winning start for Steckly. He struggled through much of the early afternoon practice session before his crew was able to diagnose the problem.

“We had no brakes,” he stated. “Once the guys figured out exactly what was wrong, they did a fantastic job in getting it fixed. In fact, they did a fantastic job in putting this new car together.”

Shepherd, who won the 2010 season finale at Kawartha Speedway, edged Don Thomson Jr., for second.

“The National Exhaust/Hy-Tech Drilling Dodge was good today, but we just didn’t have anything for (Steckly),” said Shepherd. “Unfortunately as a part-time competitor in this series we’re behind the curve a little but we’re getting it figured out. I love racing in the Canadian Tire Series. We’re continually looking to do more.”

Thomson, like Steckly, was in a brand new car, but to a different level. Over the offseason he moved from Fitzpatrick Motorsports to Ed Hakonson Racing and with that came a switch from Chevrolet to Dodge. But Mosport Speedway historically has been favorable to the veteran, as he had won two of the four series’ races at the track coming into the night.

“Considering all of the changes, this was a good night for the Farmers Feed Families Dodge,” Thomson said. “This car was put together in about three weeks once we got the chassis. Everyone at EHR has done a tremendous job.

“Our thing tonight was brakes. The track was pretty slick and it took a lot of brakes. I tried to conserve them for the end,” he said. “(Steckly) was out of our league tonight, but we almost got second. I got underneath (Shepherd) on the last lap, but there was no need to get too crazy in the first race of the year.”

Brad Graham logged the fourth position while defending series champion DJ Kennington fifth. Jason Hathaway, JR Fitzpatrick, Jeff Lapcevich, Ron Beauchamp Jr., and series rookie Steven Mathews completed the top 10.

Fitzpatrick had led the initial laps, after winning his seventh career Keystone Light Pole in qualifying. Mathews charged out front and set the pace, but Kennington later slipped by as they battled through lapped traffic. Steckly, who had started second on the grid, chased down Kennington and moved by for the lead on Lap 58. He maintained the lead until everyone made their pit stops during a caution on Lap 124. After the pit stop issue, he charged his way back to the front and retook the top spot on Lap 157.

The race was slowed for caution five times for a total of 32 laps and the lead changed hands seven times among six drivers.

The Dickies 200 will be televised on TSN on Saturday, June 4, at 1 p.m. ET

The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series will be back in action next weekend when the circuit makes its inaugural visit to Circuit ICAR, the modern motorsports facility north of Montreal for the first of five road-course engagements this season. Indianapolis 500 polesitter Alex Tagliani is entered in the event as is fellow Quebecer Andrew Ranger, who is not only a two-time Canadian Tire Series champion but also has won eight of the series’ last 11 events on road courses. 

NASCAR CANADIAN TIRE SERIES- Dickies 200 Unofficial Results

Mosport Speedway
Bowmanville, Ontario
Lap length: 0.5 miles

(Start position in parentheses)

1. (2) Scott Steckly, Milverton, Ont., Dodge, 201 laps, 66.740 mph.
2. (5) Pete Shepherd, III, Brampton, Ont., Dodge, 201.
3. (9) Don Thomson, Jr., Hamilton, Ont., Dodge, 201.
4. (14) Brad Graham, Glencoe, Ont., Dodge, 201.
5. (4) DJ Kennington, St. Thomas, Ont., Dodge, 201.
6. (6) Jason Hathaway, Appin, Ont., Dodge, 201.
7. (1) JR Fitzpatrick, Cambridge, Ont., Chevrolet, 201.
8. (12) Jeff Lapcevich, Grimsby, Ont., Dodge, 200.
9. (10) Ron Beauchamp, Jr., Windsor, Ont., Dodge, 200.
10. (3) Steven Mathews, New Liskeard, Ont., Ford, 200.
11. (15) Pete Vanderwyst, St. Thomas, Ont., Dodge, 199.
12. (17) Derek White, Kahnawake, Que., Chevrolet, 197.
13. (7) Kerry Micks, Mt. Albert, Ont., Ford, 194.
14. (19) Isabelle Tremblay, St. Hippolyte, Que., Ford, 193.
15. (11) Jason White, Sun Peaks, B.C., Dodge, 172.
16. (13) Dexter Stacey, Kahnawake, Que., Dodge, 119, accident.
17. (16) Dave Connelly, Arnprior, Ont., Dodge, 90, engine.
18. (8) Mark Dilley, Barrie, Ont., Dodge, 42, radiator.
19. (18) Hugo Vannini, Repentigny, Que., Ford, 36, brakes.

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