Saturday, June 5, 2010

2010 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Season Opens Saturday

Even though summer doesn't officially arrive for another few weeks, the unofficial start of summer comes this Saturday when the 2010 season for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series gets underway at Delaware Speedway.

The NCATS is Canada's top national touring racing series with 13 events in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia. This is the fourth season under the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series banner.

Here are five questions that fans are looking forward to having answered during the next three months.

1. Can DJ go all the way?
DJ Kennington has finished second or third in the first three seasons of NCATS competition and is a good bet to claim his first championship this year. Kennington, who made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut in Martinsville in March, won a pair of races last year and his nine top-five finishes were tied with 2008 champ Scott Steckly for the most on the circuit.

2. Who will take over for Andrew Ranger as NCATS most dominant driver?
After winning the championship in two of the first three seasons of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, Andrew Ranger has moved south to compete full time in the K&N Pro Series. Will another driver step up and dominate the season like Ranger did last year with six wins? Kennington is a good bet while JR Fitzpatrick is also back in the series full time this year and the former CASCAR Canadian Tire Series champ has all the tools to take home another title.

3. Will Pete Shepherd get his career back on track in the NCATS?
The talented Brampton, ON native was tabbed by Jack Roush as a potential part of his Camping World Truck Series team but that didn't pan out and Shepherd is hoping to run a full season in the NCATS. Shepherd was the CASCAR Super Series rookie of the year in 2004 and could be a title contender if he gets the sponsorship he needs to run the full schedule.

4. Does Don Thomson Jr. have another championship in him?
Five years ago Don Thomson Jr. was coming off an tremendous streak of five straight CASCAR Super Series championships and was quickly becoming Canadian stock car racing's biggest star. But he took a step back to help his team focus on Fitzpatrick and Thomson tutored his protégé into a starring role in Canadian's top series. Thomson won at Barrie Speedway last season and fans are anxious to see if the career lap leader can add a NCATS championship trophy to his impressive collection.

5. Who will be a road warrior?
With five of the 13 events on the schedule this year being run on road courses, NCATS drivers are going to have to be just as comfortable turning right as they are left if they want to win the championship. Ranger won three of the four road course events last year while Fitzpatrick took the checkered flag in Montreal. Kennington and Steckly are usually contenders on the street circuits as well while sophomore Anthony Simone recorded runner-up finishes last year at Trois-Rivieres and the Mosport road course.

You can follow the action from the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series here.

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