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Feature   October 1, 2004   by CARS Magazine

Motorsports News Don Thomson Jr. Claims Fourth Consecutive CASCAR National Championship

Don Thomson Jr., and his Home Hardware Chevrolet held a 17-point lead over Peter Gibbons heading into the final event of the 2004 CASCAR Super Series season at Kawartha Downs Speedway, Sunday, Septemb...

Don Thomson Jr., and his Home Hardware Chevrolet held a 17-point lead over Peter Gibbons heading into the final event of the 2004 CASCAR Super Series season at Kawartha Downs Speedway, Sunday, September 19th for the 250. It was the first race at Kawartha in a few years, and Thomson entered the event as the only winner at Kawartha as he went two-for-two during CASCAR’s only pair of visits to the 3/8th-mile track.

Thomson brought the field down to the green flag and led the first four laps of the event before David Whitlock took the point. Thomson settled into second position and rode behind Whitlock throughout some early yellows. He looked to the inside of Whitlock on a couple of occasions, but Thomson was seeing the big picture. He had led some laps, picked up some bonus points and was looking good in the championship race as Gibbons faded. “I looked at Peter in my rearview mirror, and I could see he was struggling. I knew that was all I needed as long as we didn’t make a mistake.”

Almost the entire field took advantage of a lap 131 yellow flag to come to pit road for service under caution and Thomson entered the pits second. He was the second car off of pit road and was shown in fourth-position on the restart. Whitlock and Thomson moved back to the front by lap 158, but Thomson was looking for win number three of the season and was putting heat on Whitlock. While working lapped traffic, Whitlock got held up and Thomson got a run on the inside. Whitlock slammed the door, but Thomson was able to muscle his way by. As the pair raced into turn three for the lead Whitlock ran into the side of Thomson and both cars started to spin. Don was able to make a tremendous recovery and saved his car while Whitlock slid into the infield. “Dave ran me hard there after I got alongside of him, but luckily I held on.”

Thomson took over on lap 185, and only had to pace the field for the last 65 laps to win the race, and clinch his fourth consecutive championship. Kerry Micks had worked his way to second, and started to put pressure on Thomson, while running a higher groove. With six laps to go, Micks became too much for the # 4 machine and on lap 245 Micks passed Thomson coming out of turn four for the lead. The races 12th and final yellow appeared late in the race and left a five lap shootout to decide the win, but Thomson had nothing for Micks and actually lost second position late to Jim Lapcevich, dropping Don to third. It was still a solid enough finish to help Thomson win his fourth consecutive National championship, and sixth in a row overall by 52 points over Gibbons, who finished 15th. “The day was almost perfect. I would have liked to win, but we’ll take this for sure. When Kerry started to force the issue, I raced him hard, but didn’t want to take any chances. There was no sense having him beat on us. My car was great on the bottom, but with about 10 or 12 to go there was a lot of dirt on the bottom and Micks was able to get me.

For Thomson it was his fourth consecutive National championship, along with two Eastern championships under the previous format. That gives him a total of six consecutive major Canadian stock car racing championships. “It’s all good,” explained Thomson. “We worked hard all season and had to fight back out of a hole at the start of the season. All the guys stuck together and we accomplished out goals. I really can’t say enough about our sponsors, crew, and car owners. They all deserve this. We also had a tremendous season at Fitzpatrick Motorsports with my teammate, 16-year old John Ryan Fitzpatrick. He exceeded our expectations.” John Ryan finished second in the rookie race and 11th overall.”

CASCAR Super Series 2004 Final Standings

Pos Car # Driver/Car Points

1. #4 Don Thomson Jr. Chevrolet 2047

2. #1 Peter Gibbons Chevrolet 1995

3.#39 Dave Whitlock Dodge 1964

4. #23 Jeff Lapcevich Chevrolet 1847

5. #02 Kerry Micks Ford 1820

6. #64 Mark Dilley Dodge 1794

7. #22 Scott Steckly Pontiac 1763

8. #60 Ron Beauchamp Jr. Dodge 1748

9. #17 DJ Kennington Dodge 1691

10. #50 Pete Shepherd III Dodge 1671

11. #84 J.R. Fitzpatrick Chevrolet 1645

12. #19 Brad Graham Pontiac 1632

13. #25 Jim Lapcevich Chevrolet 1624

14. #88 Dave Jacombs Ford 1514

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