AVONDALE, AZ – There was no fanfare when an exhausted DJ Kennington climbed out of his Northern Provincial Pipelines/Clark Construction #13 Dodge Saturday afternoon at Phoenix International Raceway. Maybe there should have been. While many drivers would have simply parked their ill handling race car, the two-time NASCAR Canadian Pinty’s Series champion soldiered on for a 36th place finish at the Axalta Faster Tougher Brighter 200. This was Kennington’s first appearance in the NASCAR Xfinity Series since November 2011. Kennington qualified 33rd for the 40 car starting line-up.
The St. Thomas, Ontario driver gained a few spots early in the race but then had to dramatically adjust his driving style before the race was even half over. “It was around lap 50 when we started getting a pretty good vibration in the car. At first I thought it was a loose wheel. We drove around for about a dozen laps but eventually had to pit. The vibration was just too much.” Kennington pitted under green flag conditions which put him down several laps. “Pretty tough going down laps like this. With a lack of yellow flags I knew it was going to be impossible to get them back.” Only three yellow flags would fly in this race which was won by NASCAR champion Kyle Busch. “When we got back on the track the vibration was still there. I could have called it a day but stayed on the track. It made for a long afternoon but we finished the race. Hats off to my crew.” The cause of the vibration is still undetermined. Kennington heads home not knowing when the next call will come for another chance to race in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. “Probably Phoenix again in November. Who knows maybe there will be a few more opportunities between now and then.” Kennington’s focus will be changing from south of the border to north of the border. The 2016 season of the NASCAR Canadian Pinty’s Series is just two months away.