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Shepherd captures Prairie Thunder with last lap pass

News Release

7/28/2011 12:39:11 AM

Pete Shepherd III made a last-lap pass of DJ Kennington to win the Velocity Prairie Thunder NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway on Wednesday.

Shepherd seized the opportunity when JR Fitzpatrick spun out of second place late in the race. Shepherd challenged Kennington on the restart and was able to get by him coming to the checkered flag to score his second career series win in his first visit to the Saskatoon track. The 24-year-old Brampton, Ont., competitor became the sixth different driver to visit Victory Lane this season.

Don Thomson Jr. trailed the pair across the line in third. Kerry Micks was fourth, with Mark Dilley taking fifth. Rounding out the top 10 were Jason Hathaway, Ron Beauchamp Jr., Dan Shirley, JR Fitzpatrick and James Van Domselaar.

Kennington, who had set a track record in winning the Keystone Light Pole Award in qualifying earlier in the day, paced the field for nearly 100 laps early and went on to lead the most laps. Shepherd, who started alongside Kennington on the front row, was never far away, however.

Kennington gave up the top spot on Lap 100 as the leaders made pit stops during the fourth caution. Following another round of pit stops during a subsequent caution period, Kennington came out of the pits in third behind Fitzpatrick and Jason Hathaway. He quickly moved to second and got by Fitzpatrick for the lead on Lap 227.

Meanwhile, Shepherd was also making his way to the front. He was up to fourth by Lap 202 and third by Lap 231. When Fitzpatrick spun on Lap 240, while running second, it opened the door for Shepherd to make his move. He edged Kennington by .045 seconds. The win gives Shepherd a top five finish in five of his last seven starts.

The race was slowed due to caution six times for 52 laps and the lead changed hands nine times among six drivers.

Scott Steckly finished 20th and saw his lead in the point standings over Kennington drop from 97 to just 20 after his team had to make repairs after sustaining some damage early in the race. Thomson and Fitzpatrick follow in fourth and fifth, respectively, while Micks holds down the fifth spot.

 The Velocity Prairie Thunder from Auto Clearing Speedway will be telecast by TSN on Saturday, Aug. 6 at 1 p.m. ET.