Kennington enjoys life in the fast lane

JIM CRESSMAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:52 PM ET

D.J. Kennington is getting plenty of seat time in his new vocation - snowplow driver for Southwold Township.

But despite the mounds of white stuff out there, the 2010 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series champion will be back in the seat where he's most comfortable - a late-model race car for the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, Jan. 28-29 in Irwindale, Calif.

"They tell me I'm the fastest on the road," Kennington said Monday of his work for the township "So far it's been good. There's been lots of snow and lots of work, that's for sure. But I can't wait to get to California. That is going to be so much fun."

Kennington was a head-table guest at the 55th annual Rogers Sports Celebrity Dinner.

During the afternoon gathering with kids from the Thames Valley Children's Centre, the St. Thomas driver met harness driver Doug McNair of Guelph.

A joke was made that while McNair powers one horsepower, Kennington has to rein in 500 HP and that will be on display with the Bill McAnally Racing-owned car he'll drive in the Toyota event, which brings together the top short-track drivers in North America.

"They say I've got a good piece so the rest is up to me," Kennington said.

He's already revved about returning to defend his NCATS championship, which began with a bang at Delaware Speedway last May when he won the series opener. It opens this year on May 28 at Mosport Speedway and will be at Delaware on June 11.

"I always like coming home," Kennington said of Delaware, where he competed in his first race a day after he turned 16 and got his driver's licence.

McNair had to wait until he was 18 to get his harness licence, but he too was on the track the next day.

Kennington will be part of an exciting summer at Delaware - which is celebrating its 60th season. Delaware and Merrittville Speedway, a one-third mile clay track in Thorold, are the oldest stock car tracks in Canada.

The second annual Delaware Summer Showdown is July 13 with NASCAR Sprint Cup star Kyle Busch returning to defend his 2010 victory. Although the remainder of the celebrity driver lineup has yet to be confirmed, there's word that because Busch enjoyed his time so much last year, he'll be bringing brother Kurt.

"We're building a brand-new piece for that and we're definitely trying to win that one," Kennington said after finishing second to Busch last year. "Delaware has really done a lot for racing and the more big things we can get at Delaware, the better it's going to be for all of us."

Opening day at the half-mile oval is April 30 with the enduros. Opening night for the late models, super stocks and trucks is May 6.

The 2010 late model champion, Ron Sheridan of Mt. Brydges, won't be competing in the Friday night NASCAR Whelen Home Tracks weekly program as he's now the track's race director. Jeff Wilcox left last November.

The Great Canadian Race 200, a NASCAR late-model invitation, is now May 21, on the Victoria Day weekend, moved from its traditional Labour Day weekend date to make way for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, Sept. 4.

Kennington will drive a Delaware-owned car for that race.

"That is going to be one heck of a show," he said of the U.S.-based tour which is a developmental program for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide series.

Kennington also weighed in on the fact that for drag racing fans, the IHRA Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals makes its annual appearance at Grand Bend Motorplex, July 15-17.

The Nitro Harley class is returning to the IHRA fulltime for 2011. It was last part of the touring show in 2002. These nitro-powered motorcycles travel in excess of 200 miles per hour.

Kennington said as much as he respects those drivers, "I'm going to stick to something with four wheels. I would like to try a nitro funny car, or something like that, but they can have their motorcycles. That's just insane."

E-mail jim.cressman@sunmedia.ca


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