D.J. Kennington's five-race win streak may have ended in Trois-Rivieries, but his hot streak through July and August has not only kept him atop the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 standings, it has him being recognized as one of the hottest drivers across NASCAR's touring and regional series.
Kennington's wins at Vernon, B.C., Edmonton and Saskatoon have provided him a comfortable cushion as he chases his second NASCAR title.
It also earned the St. Thomas, Ont., driver the top spot for the August in the Hunter Index, as voted on by a panel of auto racing writers and NASCAR representatives. Kennington was also voted No. 1 in July.
"It's hard to ignore what Kennington's done in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series," said Tim Haddock, haddockinthepaddock.blogspot.com. "He's having an incredible season."
Kennington earned eight of the 16 first-place votes en route to the month's top honors.
The Hunter Index, which was launched in 2010 on NASCARHomeTracks.com, is a monthly power poll designed to highlight the standout performances in the NASCAR touring and regional series.
Drivers are ranked on their performance over the previous month. The rankings are compiled by a panel of auto racing writers and NASCAR representatives. This season, the panel was expanded to 14 media members from across North American with experience covering NASCAR's touring and weekly series, along with two voters from NASCAR.
Panelists rank their top 15, with first place receiving 15 points, second 14, third 13 and so on.
Kennington had 221 points to top runner-up Lee Pulliam (212 and seven first-place votes) and George Brunnhoelzl III (189 and 1 first-place vote)
Asphalt Late Model driver Lee Pulliam has been on a tear with nine wins in a span of 11 starts to assert himself atop the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national standings. The 24-year-old from Semora, N.C., has 18 wins in 27 starts running all over the southeast in quest for his first NASCAR crown.
He was third in the national standings last year.
"There's really no hiding how dominant Lee Pulliam has been," said Damien Sordelett, sports writer with the Danville (Va.) Register & Bee. "His victories in the last month came at four different tracks - South Boston, Motor Mile, Southern National and Caraway - and he's beaten some of the top Late Model competition the Mid-Atlantic has to offer.
"The drive he has exhibited in finding different tracks to race at in an effort to win a national championship is reminiscent of when Barry Beggarly and Dennis Setzer traveled to numerous tracks up and down the East Coast in a quest for the 1993 national title.
Similarly, Brunnhoelzl has continued to dominate the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. The two-time tour champion strengthened his lead with a pair of wins at Caraway and Bowman Gray last month.
"To come into Bowman Gray where the regulars race every Saturday night and take a win is something to remember," said Len Sammons of Area Auto Racing News.
Brett Moffitt, points leader in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, was fourth in voting, followed by Modified driver Ryan Preece. Preece has had success both in his weekly Modified in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
Daniel Suarez (NASCAR Toyota Series) was sixth, followed by Doug Coby (NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour), Corey LaJoie (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East), Cale Conley (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East) and Michael Self (NASCAR K&N Pro Series West).
The Hunter Index is named for the late Jim Hunter, NASCAR's vice president of corporate communications and a longtime supporter of the weekly and touring series that make up the NASCAR Home Tracks.
The Index was designed as an opportunity to compare the top drivers from the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series all the way up to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. It will also encompass drivers from the NASCAR Mexico Series, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, and Euro-Racecar.
The Hunter Index is released each month from April through November.