A WEEKEND TO FORGET
PHOENIX, AZ – Canada’s DJ Kennington would like to erase all memories of his recent trip to Arizona. “I cannot remember a worse weekend in my twenty years of racing,” sighs the St. Thomas, Ontario driver, “very frustrating. Very, very frustrating.” Kennington was pulling double duty at Phoenix International Raceway the second weekend of November (7th-9th). The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series veteran would be making only his second start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and his sixth start in the NASCAR K & N Series (fourth start in Phoenix). “The truck deal was last minute,” explains Kennington, “I got a call from Rick Ware Racing. He heard I was racing the K & N car in Phoenix and asked if I’d be interested in running his truck.”
Northern Provincial Pipelines Ltd. quickly jumped on board as an associate sponsor on the Pocket Finder #1 Chevrolet truck for the Phoenix weekend. “The truck was fast. It was running real good. The K & N car was another story. We thought we had the problems figured out.” Overheating and electrical issues plagued the NPP/Jaynart/Clark Construction #81 Dodge during the two practice sessions and qualifying. “We came here to race and not be a pylon.”
Kennington qualified 20th for the Friday night NASCAR Truck race. “I think we had a top 10 truck for this race. It felt that good.” Unfortunately for Kennington his night ended early as he slammed the turn three wall on the very first lap of the Lucas Oil 150. “I just screwed up plain and simple,” admits Kennington, “I didn’t get touched. I didn’t have a tire go down. I just screwed up. There is not much more that I can say.” Kennington would be credited with a 36th place finish in the Friday night truck race.
Saturday nights Casino Arizona 50 race did look promising for Kennington. “We qualified poorly (30th) which means we had to start at the back of the pack.” Like the truck race the night before, the NASCAR K & N Series saw some bent metal on the very first lap. “It wasn’t me this time,” laughs Kennington, “but the crash did happen right in front of me. I managed to get on the brakes and was able to drive around the carnage.” NASCAR officials were forced to red flag the race to clean up the oil and debris that was spread out down the front straight. The cleanup took 25 minutes. “I was hoping this [missing the crash] was a sign that I would have a better finish than the truck race.” Once the race went back to green Kennington would gain several spots. “I think we made it as high as 24th then the car started sputtering again.” Kennington would pit several times under green flag conditions and then parked the car after completing just 17 of 50 laps. Kennington would be scored with a 26th place finish.
“We finished 7th here [Phoenix] back in March. It would have been fantastic to grab another top 10 but it wasn’t meant to be.” Despite the dreadful weekend in Phoenix, Kennington remains positive. “We have really been on a roll the last few years. Grabbing the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Championship last year. Finishing second in points this year. We will have to dust ourselves off [after this weekend] and add it to our list of things we don’t want to repeat…… ever!” Kennington and team wrap up their 2013 race season at Homestead Miami Speedway in Florida. “We are going to race the truck again. This is our chance to make amends for Phoenix.”