TORONTO, Ont — One year ago Alex Tagliani was in position to win.
After leading all 35 regulation laps, Tagliani was passed in a heartbreaking NASCAR Overtime finish by eventual winner Andrew Ranger. Flash forward to 2019, and Tagliani came to Toronto with one goal in mind – redemption.
Tagliani, who won the E3 Spark Plugs Pole Award, was challenged by stiff competition all race by Ranger and teammate Marc-Antoine Camirand. With two late race restarts and a NASCAR Overtime finish, Tagliani redeemed himself by scoring the victory in this year’s Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto.
Tagliani’s No.18 RONA/EpiPen Chevrolet lost the lead to Camirand in a late restart, however Camirand gave the lead back after a late crash set up NASCAR Overtime. Tagliani was able to sneak by the wreck and hold off a bloodthirsty Ranger, Kevin Lacroix and LP Dumoulin.
In the end, the 45-year-old driver from Lachanaie, Quebec was able to hold off all who opposed leading 34 of 37 laps to claim his ninth career NASCAR Pinty’s Series victory and second on the streets of Toronto.
“After last year, we felt like we had some unfinished business,” Tagliani said. “It was a great race, a great qualifying, maximum points for the weekend which is good for the team. It seems like this race track brings a bit of luck and its a turn around for our championship, it was last year. Hopefully it’s going to be this year and hoping for more good things to come this year”
Ranger, who came into the weekend one point behind Kevin Lacroix in the standings, managed to steal the lead from Tagliani near the halfway point. On the final restart Ranger did all he could to get around the No.18, Ranger would ultimately settle for second grabbing the points lead from Lacroix.
“On the start, my car was very fast and we got to lead some laps.” Ranger said. “Last restart, I stayed with Alex. Green, white, checkered, same thing. I tried to make a move on the inside but it didn’t work. I was not trying to push too hard and destroy the car.”
L.P Dumoulin used the overtime restart to his advantage, surging to his first podium finish of the season, and second at Toronto.
Lacroix brought his battered and bruised Bumper to Bumper Dodge home in fourth. He was followed by J.F Dumoulin, who completed the top five finishers.
Anthony Simone was sixth and Peter Klutt following behind in seventh. Jason Hathaway, D.J Kennington and Jason White rounded out the top ten.
Following the Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto, Ranger opens a two point gap over Lacroix. With the win, Tagliani remains in third place, moving within 14 points of Ranger for the lead.
The Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto will air on TSN July 21 at 1:30 p.m. and on RDS2 July 30 at 10 p.m.
The NASCAR Pinty’s Series next embarks on their annual Western Swing. The Velocity Prairie Thunder Twin 125s at Wyant Group Raceway will be July 24, followed by the LUXXUR 300 at Edmonton International Raceway July 27.