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Looking Back: Series History Begins at Jukasa

The inaugural race of the NASCAR Pinty’s Series would set the stage for the future of stock-car racing in Canada.

A mainstay from the former CASCAR days drove to Victory Lane, while a 20-year-old Quebec driver landed a top five that set the stage for a championship run.

The race, under the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio banner, was the first for the new era after the conclusion of CASCAR in 2006. The new series opened at a historic venue: Cayuga Speedway in Ontario.

There were 16 lead changes between eight different drivers. The series opener still holds the record of most cautions in a Pinty’s race with 18 yellow flags over 200 laps, giving fans all the action from start to finish.

After a late-race caution between Scott Steckly and Ron Beauchamp Jr., it all boiled down to a green-white-checkered finish.

On the final lap, it appeared as though Mark Dilley was about to make an aggressive move for the lead. His No. 9 car had been strong all day but he had fought his way back up through the field after receiving a penalty for bumping Kerry Micks to take the top spot.

Dilley gave one final attempt to take the lead, but it was Don Thomson Jr. who took the checkered flag, 0.126 seconds over Dilley.

RACING-REFERENCE: 2007 Dodge Dealers 200 Race Results

"It’s a good car, and you know it’s funny how life works," said Thomson in Victory Lane. "I gotta thank the Lord for everything and I really gotta thank him for taking care of my man John (Fitzpatrick). This one is for you buddy, you’re the man that got me here."

John Fitzpatrick, team owner of the No. 4 car of Thomson and the No. 84 car of J.R. Fitzpatrick, was unable to attend the race after surviving a serious motorcycle accident during the off-season.

Thomson would eventually lose his points lead after the second race of the season and went on to finish fourth with a pair of wins.

Andrew Ranger, then 2o years old, from Roxton Pond, Quebec, finished fourth in his second career stock car race. He would see his first victory just one race later at Mosport International Raceway – now named Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

He would carry this momentum throughout the rest of the season, claiming two pole awards, seven top fives, and 10 top 10s. He was crowned the maiden champion of the series, by 103 points over D.J. Kennington. This was Ranger’s first of three championship titles, as he followed up in 2009 and 2019.

In 2009, Cayuga closed its doors after hosting three series’ races. As of 2014, the track was in complete disrepair, fading into history. However, things would change in December 2016, as it was announced that the track was under renovations, set to reopen late August of 2017 and under a new name: Jukasa Motor Speedway.

A turn of events would also see the NASCAR Pinty’s Series return to the track, as the 2017 season finale changed locations from Kawartha Speedway to Jukasa. Now it’s a mainstay and must-see track on the schedule, hosting two events including the championship finale – the Pinty’s Fall Brawl.

RACING-REFERENCE: 2007 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Points Standings

D.J. Kennington who found himself in the pole position for the inaugural race took the green flag and led lap No.1. However, coming into Turn 1 on the second lap the No. 17 Castrol Dodge lost handling, and Kennington was later forced to retire from the race after running a total of just 45 laps.

Despite two wins that season, Kennington never caught up to points leader, Ranger, and finished second in the standings. However, he would see redemption in 2010, winning his first of two championship titles. Kennington would finally see victory at Jukasa in September 2017, breaking an almost five-year winless streak.

Dilley’s battle for a checkered flag continued for the rest of the season. After three runner-up finishes and some bad luck, Dilley broke through and claimed his first series win at Riverside International Speedway that September. He would finish the season eighth in the standings. Dilley stepped away from full-time racing after the 2011 season, racing only a selection of events in the following years. In 2019, he would make a return to full-time driving the No. 64 Ford for Micks Motorsports.

RACING-REFERENCE: Don Thomson Jr. | Mark Dilley

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