ST-EUSTACHE, Que. — By John Tejada and Jason Cunningham, NASCAR — Matthew Manor/Getty Images for NASCAR photo — Scott Steckly knows his way to Victory Lane in St-Eustache.
Winless in his first five starts of the 2014 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 season, Steckly returned to a track where he’d won three of the previous five series events. Make that four of six.
The Milverton, Ontario, native raced the No. 22 Canadian Tire/Sylvania Dodge to his 16th career victory in Saturday’s National 250 from Autodrome St-Eustache. Steckly now has four wins and top fives in all six career starts at the flat .4-mile oval.
“I just like coming here,” Steckly said of St-Eustache. “It’s a real tight flat oval, and we usually have a good setup coming to this track.”
Eighteen-year-old Alex Guenette crossed the line second, followed by L.P. Dumoulin, Anthony Simone and Jeff Lapcevich.
Noel Dowler, Mark Dilley, Andrew Ranger, D.J. Kennington and J.R. Fitzpatrick rounded out the top 10.
Rookie Alex Labbe won his first series pole award in qualifying earlier in the day in just his seventh career start. Labbe led the field to green but was quickly overtaken by Steckly on the backstretch. Labbe stayed close early on, but ultimately exited the event due to problems with his suspension.
Steckly led the first 104 circuits before pitting under caution. He was able to move back to the front on Lap 152 and, with the exception of Guenette on Lap 219, he led the balance of the event.
“The car was just awesome,” Steckly said. “I was just patient the whole night and didn’t abuse the car. We’ll just take the win and move on.”
Guenette matched his career-best finish, set the first time in this event a year ago, and matched earlier this year at Circuit ICAR.
“I pushed real hard to try to pass Scott [Steckly], but I finished second to him again this year,” Guenette said. “Hopefully, soon enough we will be able to pull a win.”
With a fourth consecutive podium finish, Dumoulin extended his advantage in the season points standings to 251-234 on Fitzpatrick.
“It’s awesome for us,” Dumoulin said of his third place finish after the team struggled a bit earlier in the day. “We’ve had a really good season so far and we want to keep it that way.”
Saturday was the first top-five finish of the year for Simone and the second in four starts for Lapcevich.
The event featured nine lead changes among six different drivers and was slowed by six caution flags. Steckly led a race-high 202 laps, which tied his single-race career-high previously recorded last year at Riverside International Speedway.
The National 250 will air on TSN on Sunday, Aug. 3 at 11 a.m. ET and on RDS2 on Saturday, Aug. 9, at 1:30 p.m.
After completing four events in a span of 21 days, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 will take a one-week break before heading to Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, for the JuliaWine.com Le 50 Tours at Circuit de Trois-Rivieres on Aug. 9-10.