BOWMANVILLE - D.J. Kennington overcame a record six cautions to win the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Vortex Brake Pads 200 on Sunday at Mosport International Raceway in the No. 17 Castrol Edge Dodge.
The defending NCTS champion battled door to door with J.R. Fitzpatrick in the No. 84 Fitzpatrick Racing Chevrolet through the final two laps of the 51-lap event.
Road race specialist Robin Buck finished third in the No. 66 Quaker State/Durabody Dodge.
Fitzpatrick, fresh off of a 10th-place finish Saturday in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race in Elkhart Lake, Wis., managed to get to Mosport with minutes to spare before the race start and took off after Buck, who had moved up from his 22nd position to take the lead by the time the first caution hit on Lap 13.
For Kennington — who started fourth — it was his first NASCAR road course win, although he notched win at Mosport in the old CASCAR series 10 years ago.
And he was full of praise for Fitzpatrick.
“J.R. raced me clean,” Kennington said. “He is among the best road-course racers in Canada and to beat him in such a close battle is something special.”
Kennington said that he finally caught the No. 84 Chevrolet when Fitzpatrick spun his tires on Turn 5 on Mosport’s four-km circuit.
“I was watching J.R. and Robin (Buck) bang on each other for a few laps and I thought: ‘Those are the guys that always win these races’ so I decided to get up and start banging with them,” he said.
With Fitzpatrick and Buck waging their own fight Kennington moved by them to take the lead with only two laps to go.
“J.R. gave me just one bump just to let me know he was there,” Kennington said. “But when we came to the final two turns when he probably could have wrecked me, he didn’t.”
That was in stark contrast to what was going on between Fitzpatrick and Buck.
The 23-year-old Fitzpatrick was furious that Buck — who runs only the NCTS road courses — was trying to wreck him late in the race.
“He was running crazy,” Fitzpatrick said of Buck. “At one point he just slammed right into me.”
Buck said he was just going for the win.
Jeff Lapcevich was fourth in the No. 23 Tim Horton’s Dodge with series championship points leader Scott Steckly rounding out the top five in the No. 22 Canadian Tire Dodge.
The lone woman in the race — Quebec rookie Isabelle Tremblay — was impressive in her Mosport debut, finishing eighth in the No. 07 Groupe Breton Brunet/ADF Diesel Ford.
Kerry Micks started with high hopes for his No. 02 Digital Imaging/Dickies Ford but suffered mechanical woes on Lap 12.
He got back on track and drove to a 13th-place finish on the lead lap.
And five-time national champion Don Thomson Jr. lost the engine of his No. 8 Farmers Fee Families Dodge at about the same time, ending his hopes of a road course win in his quest of a first NASCAR title.