Kennington dreams of racing full-time

JIM CRESSMAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:39 PM ET

This could be the big break D.J. Kennington has needed.

The St. Thomas driver turned heads last month when he finished a strong second in the NASCAR All-Star Showdown at Irwindale, Calif.

The 2010 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series champion impressed team owner Bill McAnally of Bill McAnally Racing so much in the Showdown, that he’s again teamed with Kennington for Thursday’s opening race in the NASCAR K & N Pro Series West at Phoenix International Raceway.

It kicks off NASCAR week at Phoenix, with the Camping World Truck Series race following on Friday, the Nationwide Series race Saturday and the Subway Fresh Fit 500 Sprint Cup race on Sunday.

The 33-year-old Kennington is no stranger to Phoenix International, having run a few Nationwide events there in the past.

“I’m pretty comfortable getting around there,” he said Monday. “Plus we’ll have the exact same great car that Bill McAnally Racing had for me at Irwindale, so I think we’ll have an excellent opportunity to do well. This is a great opportunity and if we could possibly put in another good run ... I’ve been trying so long and I’ve always dreamed of racing full-time and going after some big bucks.

“I’d love to race full-time in the Nationwide Series and maybe someday in the Cup Series, but there really are a lot of experienced guys down there right now who don’t have a ride.”

McAnally Racing is headquartered just outside Sacramento, Calif., and with all the big shots of NASCAR on hand, it will be further exposure for Kennington, who’s been looking for an opportunity to make it full-time in NASCAR.

He’s competed in more than 30 Nationwide races from 2006 through 2010, but has never had a full-time ride. His career best finish in that series was an 11th in the 2010 Montreal road-course event. His best oval finish in the Nationwide was 17th in 2009 at Daytona.

Kennington has been partnered with Dwight Kennedy of Northern Provincial Pipeine in Edson, Alta., for his Nationwide racing, but there has never been the money to allow them to go full-time.

Kennington participated in one NASCAR truck race last year, finishing 17th at Martinsville, Va.

He’ll be back this season to defend his Canadian Tire Series championship, with that series stopping at Delaware Speedway on June 11. Kennington made his debut in a late model at Delaware the day after he turned 16.

“I’m really happy with what we’re doing in Canada right now and NASCAR (which bought CASCAR in 2006) has made racing in this country big-time,” he said.

Thursday’s K & N Pro Series West 3 Amigos Organic Blanco 100 can be seen online at hometracks.nascar.com.

jim.cressman@sunmedia.ca


Photos