After 13 seasons of racing in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, Jason Hathaway is finally a NASCAR titleholder.
The Pinty’s FanCave Challenge wrapped up with a doubleheader at Ontario’s Jukasa Motor Speedway, and a tight title battle was settled between Hathaway and Kevin Lacroix.
For the Motomaster 125, a familiar name was one the front row: defending Jukasa winner Brett Taylor.
As soon as the green flag dropped, Taylor fell to the back through the field, though, leaving Lacroix to take his place.
Hathaway, Donald Theetge and DJ Kennington all took turns leading but it was the No. 3 Kubota/Choko/Kugel Bearings/Total Chevrolet that took home the checkered flag over runner-up Lacroix
"It was a tough little battle," said Hathaway. "My car was a real good long run car and that’s the way we set it up. We’re not in for a couple of fast laps, we’re in for the long haul, all the way to the checkered flag."
– NASCAR Pinty’s Series (@NASCARPintys) September 12, 2020
The Pinty’s 125 proved to be a more difficult battle for both title contenders.
Kennington and Lacroix swapped the lead a total of eight times battling side-by-side on every restart.
The raced was red-flagged after a crash with less than 45 to go, taking out Taylor and Anthony Simone who were battling for a top-five.
On the restart, Kennington moved his No. 17 Castrol Edge/Wilride/CIM Metals Dodge to the front. The two-time series champion took home his first checkered flag since September 2018 at Jukasa.
What a great way to end our @NASCARPintys season ! @CastrolCanada I thank you and the whole team we have! All my guys know who they are and our group are the best! These ones happy too! pic.twitter.com/i0bwDl3r99
– DJ Kennington (@DJKRacing) September 13, 2020
"It feels damn good to be back in Victory Lane," said Kennington. "I told everyone that this isn’t for me it’s for my sponsors. With this kind of deal this year, it’s tough for everybody so for them to stick with us, it feels outstanding."
Donald Theetge, who was also involved in the late-race crash, recovered quickly to finish second.
"The car was loose before the accident so we changed the tire and made some adjustments," said Theetge. "Then the car was freaking fast. I was charging for the front hoping for a caution flag but it didn’t come."
Hathaway Finally Wins a NASCAR Championship title.
With the special format replacing the traditional championship slate for 2020, Hathaway clinched the Pinty’s FanCave Challenge by 14 points over Lacroix. Hathaway’s best finish in a NASCAR championship was second in 2015 — when he came four points short of Scott Steckly.
RELATED: Jason Hathaway Career Stats
The 43-year-old from St. Thomas, Ontario, won at every track of the shortened season, collecting a total of three wins, and five podium finishes.
"This FanCave Challenge, six-race series really played into our favour just being ovals and short tracks around Ontario, it’s kind of my thing," Hathaway said. "It’s been a lot of fun, we’ve been looking forward to every race that we come about."
– EHR/Team3Orange (@ehrt3r) September 13, 2020
"My boys worked seven days a week bringing four cars to six races this year," he continued. "I think it proved that EHR is one of the top teams in NASCAR in Canada."
Between Hathaway, Taylor, Connor James and Dexter Stacey, Ed Hakonson Racing collected a total of eight top fives, 18 top 10s, and led 403 laps.
The Motomaster 125 will air on TSN on Saturday, Sept. 19, at 4 p.m. ET and the Pinty’s 125 will air on TSN on Sunday, Sept. 27 at 5 p.m.
Each race also will air on RDS/RDS2, and MAVTV in the United States. Fans in the United States can stream races after they air on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.