By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
One year after being one of the ‘Cinderella Stories’ of the Daytona 500, D.J. Kennington and Gaunt Brothers Racing will return for the 60th running of The Great American Race. Once again, Kennington will pilot the No. 96 Lordco Auto Parts / Castrol Toyota Camry in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Last year, Kennington raced his way into the Daytona 500 in the second Budweiser Duel. By doing so, Kennington became the first Canadian to make the 500, a feat recognized in the Canadian Parliament. His Gaunt Brothers Toyota Camry ran well until it was swept up in one of the massive accidents. With the five-minute repair clock, their race was over.
“We’re honored to have Lordco and Castrol return with Gaunt Brothers Racing for the 2018 Daytona 500,” said team-owner Marty Gaunt. “Both companies are leaders in the automotive industry, and they appreciate the value that racing brings to their programs. Their support of D.J. and his racing career further demonstrates their commitment to the sport of auto racing. Last year was an exciting time for all of us and we look to improve on where we left off. The 500 is such a iconic event; to have two Canadian companies, along with a Canadian driver, in the Great American Race again makes it a special event for our entire team.”
GBR attempted the second restrictor plate race of 2017 at Talladega Superspeedway, ultimately failing to make the race. The team returned with Kennington for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
Kennington, a two-time NASCAR Pinty’s Series Champion (2010 and 2012), has 62 starts across NASCAR’s three National Series. He earned his career-best 26th-place finish at ISM Raceway for Premium Motorsports in the Premier Series. Kennington’s best finish in NASCAR’s National Series came in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2010 when he finished 11th.
“Last year was an awesome experience for my sponsors, Lordco and Castrol, and me. We knew once it was over, we wanted to do it again,” said Kennington. “Marty and everybody at GBR is pulling out all the stops for us this year. I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the Lordco/Castrol Toyota Camry and seeing the difference a year makes.”
Now Kennington and Gaunt will look to upset the regulars of NASCAR’s Premier Series in the Daytona 500.