Scott Steckly has experienced quite the turnaround in the past week on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1.
Four nights after picking up his first series win of the season at the A&W Cruisin the Dub 300 Saturday in Vernon, the Milverton, Ont. driver held off a hard-charging Mark Dilley to claim the Velocity Prairie Thunder 250 Wednesday at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway in Saskatoon.
The win vaulted Steckly into second place in the series standings at 224 points behind D.J. Kennington (229).
Steckly began the year with a pair of finishes outside the top 20, but has since piloted his No. 22 Canadian Tire Dodge to a pair of wins and two second-place finishes. Wednesday was his 13th series career win which ranks third all-time behind Kennington with 18 and Andrew Ranger’s 17.
“We decided we were going to really dig down and just win as many races as we can,” Steckly said. “We definitely could have won those first two races. So, it’s not performance. Our cars are fast every week. That’s just part of it. Hopefully, that was our bad luck for the year.”
Steckly, a two-time series champion, was thrilled to win both western races this year.
“It’s amazing to be able to win two races in a row like this out west,” he said. “Not many people get to do that in their career.”
Pole sitter J.R. Fitzpatrick set a blistering pace early, but he was not able to hold off Steckly after a spirited battle for the lead that lasted for several laps. Steckly took control after Dilley made contact with Fitzpatrick on Lap 226, sending Fitzpatrick spinning out of contention for his first oval-track win since July 2007.
Dilley challenged for the lead in the closing laps, but could not pry the lead from Steckly.
“We got up beside him there once,” he said. “It’s hard to do. You can get up beside, but you can’t get a run off without wrecking. So, we got second two years in a row here. Maybe next year we can win.”
Jason Hathaway, runner-up at the Dub 300, bounced back from a spin to finish third.
Kennington and Trevor Seibert finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Noel Dowler, Fitzpatrick, Ron Beauchamp Jr., Cameron Hayley and James Van Domselaar completed the top 10.