Team press release
July 28, 2011: Less than a week after earning a podium finish in Vernon, BC, Kerry Micks coaxed the No. 02 Dickies / Beyond Digital Imaging Ford Fusion home to a fourth-place finish in Wednesday night’s Velocity Prairie Thunder at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway.
While the two strong NASCAR Canadian Tire Series ‘western swing’ finishes were welcomed by the Mt. Albert, Ontario racer, the Wednesday result in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan was somewhat bittersweet given that Micks led a good portion of the race, but fell to fourth when a rear-end gear started to go with 25 laps to go in the 250-lap race.
“We had a very fast car and led a lot of the race,” said Micks, who was able to stretch out considerable leads, at times, during his 46-lap stint at the front (laps 119-164). “The team worked very hard and got it to where we could really drive the car. It was the first time we’ve had a good, soft-setup in this car; it’s almost been two years we’ve been fighting it. So now, we’re finally getting it down pat and we’re really proud of the team for getting the car to where I can drive it.”
But Micks’ hopes for a victory in front of the capacity mid-week crowd were dashed when trouble developed. “We had a rear-end start to go about 25 laps from the end – a gear was seizing up – and I went from near the front, back to fourth. At least I finished the race, though. I made it to the end, luckily, because I only would have made it a few more laps before it gave out altogether. The car was really, really good. But that’s part of racing and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
So while the final outcome wasn’t what the No. 2 Dickies / Beyond Digital Imaging Ford driver was hoping for, the rest of the event was very positive. “We didn’t really have any incidents during the race. Our pit stops were good and smooth, too.”
Prior to the start of the race, Micks was sixth-fastest during practice for the season’s seventh race (of 12) and posted a qualifying lap of 14.752 seconds (81.264 mph) at the 1/3-mile oval, which was good enough to place him fifth on the 21-car starting grid.
The Velocity Prairie Thunder was won by Pete Shepherd, the sixth different winner in seven races so far in 2011. Reigning series champion DJ Kennington started on the pole and looked set to win the race for the second year in a row before Shepherd passed him on the final lap. Don Thomson Jr. claimed the final podium spot in Saskatoon. Points leader Scott Steckly was involved in an early crash and finished 20th, thereby closing the points chase considerably with five races remaining.
The series’ unofficial point standings have Steckly leading the way with 1153 points, followed by Kennington (1133), Thomson Jr. (1062), J.R. Fitzpatrick (1038) and Micks (999).
Discussing the points battle, Micks continued, “We’re getting up there. J.R. [Fitzpatrick] had some problems, too, so we closed up on him. I think we’re fighting to get a top-three points finish by the end of the season. If we can do that, we’ll be very happy.”
The Velocity Prairie Thunder from Auto Clearing Speedway will be telecast by TSN on Saturday, August 6, at 1 p.m. ET. The series’ next race takes place Sunday, August 7 at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières, in Trois-Rivières, Quebec. It’s the first of two consecutive NASCAR Canadian Tire Series road course races, the second taking place during the NASCAR Nationwide Series weekend at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
“We’re looking forward to Three Rivers and Montreal,” continued Micks, who has enjoyed success at both venues in the past. “Our cars – including the road course car – have been getting better and better and I think we’re going to do really well in Quebec.”
Race fans are reminded to go to Dickies.ca before the race and pick the winners in the Dickies Race to Win Challenge for a chance to win some great prizes.
For more information on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series please visit www.nascarlocalracing.com.
Kerry Micks is supported by the following sponsors: Williamson-Dickie Canada Co., Beyond Digital Imaging, Prostate Cancer Canada, Steadymate, Seguin Marina, Thor Motors, NGK Spark Plugs, Samester, Castrol and Cathcart Trucking.
Photo by Perry Nelson.