A Canadian driver will be trying to make it into the Daytona 500 next month. If he qualifies, it will be just the second time for a Canadian in The Great American Race in 30 years.
St. Thomas, Ontario's D.J. Kennington will be behind the wheel of the number 96 Toyota Camry for the 60th running of the 500. The car is fielded by a Canadian team, Gaunt Brothers Racing, sponsored by BC-based Lordco Auto Parts as well as Castrol.
There have been a few notable Canadian drivers in NASCAR's top series. Ron Fellows was a road course regular for nearly 20 years, and Trevor Boys made 102 starts between 1982 and 1993. A Canadian has even won a race, with PEI's Earl Ross winning at Martinsville in 1974. But it has been a long time since a Canadian found success in NASCAR's Monster Energy series.
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When Kennington made the 500 last year, it was the first time for a Canadian in NASCAR's biggest race in 29 years. MP Karen Vecchio recognized the accomplishment the next day in the House of Commons.
“Last year was an awesome experience for my sponsors, Lordco and Castrol, and me. We knew once it was over, we wanted to do it again,” said Kennington. “Marty and everybody at GBR is pulling out all the stops for us this year. I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the Lordco/Castrol Toyota Camry and seeing the difference a year makes.”
Kennington has won the Canadian NASCAR Pinty's Series championship twice, and has competed in the NASCAR Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series. He started four Monster Energy series races last year with a best finish of 26th.
Kennington will get two chances to qualify for Daytona. The regular timed qualifying session and the Can-Am Duel qualifying races.