MAPLE RIDGE, BC – On Sunday February 26, 2017 Canadian racer DJ Kennington will line up for the ‘Great American Race’ at the Daytona 500 in Florida. The Daytona 500 is regarded as the most important and prestigious race on the NASCAR calendar, carrying by far the largest purse. This past week Kennington broke through two qualifying rounds to gain access to this event. It’s been since 1988 that a Canadian has gripped hands on the steering wheel amongst North America’s finest to complete in the Super Bowl of stock car racing. If there’s something for Canada to be proud of right now, it’s the effort and determination that Kennington has brought to the race.
Kennington is from St. Thomas, Ontario is a two-time NASCAR Pinty’s Series champion and 19-time Pinty’s Series race winner. He has made 56 career starts in the NASCAR’s three national divisions, including his Cup Series debut last fall at the Phoenix International Speedway. Since the age of four he’s watched the Daytona 500 and has never missed one. This is his 24th year of racing.
Gaunt Brothers Racing has put together a 2018 Toyota Camry for Kennington to take on the world’s biggest stock car race. “It’s a dream come true to have the opportunity to race in the Daytona 500. Years of hard work and a lot of people helping along the way has made this possible.” Says Kennington. “So far my experience with Gaunt Brothers Racing has been nothing but amazing, a great group of people and a professional race team has given me the support to get this far.”
“There was one time that looked like (Kennington) was going to lose the draft. Robby [Benton, Kennington’s spotter] talked him through splitting the wake to get back through there. D.J. came on and said, ‘Wow, I’m learning a lot. I’m going to school.’ Then he came back through and caught the tail end of the draft. He’s been watching tapes, Robby’s been talking to him about what we need to see. D.J. did everything he needed to do to make the 500.” says Marty Gaunt, team owner of Gaunt Brothers Racing.
British Columbia based auto parts distributor Lordco Parts Ltd. and Castrol (Wakefield Canada) have teamed up to sponsor Kennington’s race to the finish. “How exciting it is to have a car in the race, especially one that sports a Canadian maple leaf on the side”, says Lordco CEO Doug Coates. “Lordco’s late owner Ed Coates would be no doubt proud of this moment. To see the Lordco brand race along the best of the best with Kennington behind the wheel, it just doesn’t get any better than that.” It’s known to all Lordco staff and those tied into the company that this was Ed’s favorite racing event and had attended it since 1988 before his passing in 2014.
There will be a lot more noise from America’s neighbour this Sunday as Canadians cheer Kennington in the Daytona 500.