Shepherd III wins final major event at Mosport

Pete Shepperd III celebrates his win at the Clarington 200 at Mosport Speedway yesterday. (John...

Pete Shepperd III celebrates his win at the Clarington 200 at Mosport Speedway yesterday. (John Walker/photo)

DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:11 PM ET

BOWMANVILLE, ONT. - Going to the Mosport Speedway Saturday was like going to the funeral of a dear old friend who had insisted he wanted his final tribute to be that he went out with a bang.

Well the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Clarington 200 was that and more as Pete Shepherd III took the win in the final major event at the half-mile oval before it shuts down for good July 27th.

What a show it was as two of Canada’s best young stock car drivers — Shepherd in the No. 7 National Exhaust/Diamond Material Dodge and J.R. Fitzpatrick in the No. 84 Equipment Express Chevrolet battled for the final 50 laps of the 200-lap event.

On the final lap the No. 22 Dodge of Scott Steckley in the No. 22 Canadian Tire Dodge got by Fitzpatrick for second.

It was almost a mirror image of the result a week ago at Delaware Speedway.

In the first half of the race it was a three-way fight among Shepherd, Fitzpatrick and veteran Kerry Micks in the No. 02 Ford.

For a short track race there was relatively few wrecks — only five cautions — and for the most part drivers behaved.

“It was a great fight with J.R. the whole race,” Shepherd said.

What makes Shepherd’s win even more special is that he is essentially running a part time schedule, lacking full sponsorship for the 12-race NCATS season.

It was another bitter loss for Fitzpatrick, who has yet to win on an oval in an otherwise very good career.

It was Fitzpatrick, ironically, who was most upset that the half mile Mosport oval was ending its 25-year run.

“It’s a real piss off for most of us actually just because I feel that (track owners) didn’t really put an effort into trying to make this place better,” Fitzpatrick said. “This place is unique, it’s special. it’s fast.

“It’s silly that they are just going to bulldoze it like a little science fair project.”

Micks, who won the first Late Model race held at Mosport, was also saddened to see the place moth balled.

“When this place open back in 1989 I won the first late model race here,” Micks said. “I don’t like seeing a race track close. I know the owners are really focusing on the road course but it’s still sad to see any race track close.”

Two-time champion D.J. Kennington faded in the final laps to finish 10 but he hangs on to the series points lead.

Next up for the Canadian Tire Series is July 7 at Montreal’s ICAR Circuit.

FINISH LINES

Tragedy struck the 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car endurance race Saturday just 10 minutes after the event started. Danish driver Allan Simonsen, 34, was killed when his No. 95 Aston Martin crashed at the Tertre Rouge corner when the car left the track and crashed into a barrier. It was the first fatality at the famed race since Austrian Jo Gartner was killed in 1986.

 


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