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Pinty’s Series Ready for Unpredictable, Rough Race in Toronto

TORONTO, Ontario — If you’re traveling through Toronto, you’ve become well aware of the bumps and variety of pavement which makes up Ontario’s capital city. Now just imagine having to race a 3,500-pound race car across those surfaces, while avoiding the concrete walls on either side of you.

That is the challenge ahead of the NASCAR Pinty’s Series drivers for the Pinty’s Grand Prix on Saturday afternoon.

Throughout the 11-turn course, each turn is unique, whether via how tight it is or the pavement used, making the track very technical to run. Some have given more headaches than others, with competitors typically circling turn one, three and eight.

“The brake zone going into turn eight is paved, so that’s quite nice now,” Alex Tagliani said. “It’s always been a rough braking zone. But turn one is rough, so I’m sure everybody is struggling a little bit with brake bias, wheel-hop, and all that stuff. It’s a challenging track, but a fun street course to drive on.”

While the challenge is steep, the track is better than it was last season, as Kevin Lacroix notes they repaved some spots, while making turn 11 a little wider than it was last season.

The balance between being successful and not is slim, as recognized in qualifying. Adam Andretti bounced his car off the wall, popping the right rear tire, while Kevin Lacroix caught the turn-two wall after setting the third quickest time of the session. Those incidents occurred racing around the circuit by themselves so now putting 20 cars under a blanket, you’re bound to create some drama.

Typically on an oval, the stars of the series are close together in competition, bouncing off each other in sections with bent fenders and hurt feelings standard. As Tagliani noted, a late caution at Circuit ICAR last week resulted in him finishing sixth after leading 61 of 75 laps.

“All it takes is a restart at the end, and then you’ll see stuff is going to fly,” he said. “We will do what we can control, and that’s the best that we can.”

In qualifying, Andrew Ranger was the master of the circuit, picking up the pole award ahead of Tagliani and Lacroix.

“I’m very happy about my car,” he said. “The guys did a really good job in practice for qualifying. Everything about the track here is very technical, and we’re sliding around, so it will make it interesting for the fans. So I’m proud of my team, and I think tomorrow is a long race. Anything can happen, as Alex said.”

Despite running up front each week, Ranger has failed to reach victory lane this season with a best finish of second, twice.

“We’ve had a good car every week, but NASCAR is a very close series so every lap things can change,” he said. “In every race, the car is good, but against these guys, it’s tough. We have really good drivers in the series – Tag, Lacroix, (Alex) Labbe – they were all fast, so it’s going to be very interesting, but I am going to do everything I can to win.”

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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“They Said What?” Memorable Quotes – 2016 Pinty’s Series

We may have turned a page on the calendar and entered the year 2017, but that doesn’t mean we’re quite ready to leave 2016 behind yet. Even if we were, there’s still four months left till the start of the next season for the NASCAR Pinty’s Series.

So to help pass the time, here are some memorable quotes that drivers said to me throughout the 2016 season.

 

“Our goals are very simple. These guys will be house hold names in the next four to five years. We’re going to make them that way. I am tired as a fan of racing to mention names like Scott Steckly, Mark Dilley and not be recognized. We got great talent up here, but nobody knows about it.”

Pinty’s Director of Marketing and Research Tony Spiteri on what Pinty’s plans to do with their NASCAR Sponsorship

 

“It’s awesome. I didn’t think it could happen in the first year, but to be here and named the champion is pretty cool. I didn’t think I would do this in my rookie guy, racing guys like Andrew Ranger and D.J. Kennington who have championships and be as consistent as we were. I definitely didn’t think I’d be doing it at this level with the caliber of talent.”

Cayden Lapcevich on winning the championship in his rookie season. 

 

“We made a plan on the way here to get a win – I didn’t want to go out wrecking. I got the job done, so I kept the wife happy.”

Jason Hathaway on winning at Kawartha Speedway in his last NASCAR start as a full-time driver. 

 

“Third place run for Larry Jackson at this track is a win. To finally be in a car that turns and runs well and have my family and old friends and crew here – it’s awesome.”

Larry Jackson on finishing third in the Leland Industries 300 at Sunset Speedway. 

 

“If you know Alex Tagliani, there’s a lot less chance you’ll feed me nuts because everybody knows I have an allergy. But if you hide it and come talk to me, spend time with me and don’t know, maybe you’ll feed me a meal that has nuts. There’s no chance this meal has nuts because if they know me, they know I have an allergy. But if you hide it, the risk elevates. My message is to more make kids feel they can live well with it, you need to be comfortable with it and not embarrassed, and always used the safe way. I mean, would you jump in my car without the seat belt on and no helmet? I’ll drive that fast, but with a helmet. That’s the comparison that we’re making to them and hopefully get to something.”

Alex Tagliani speaking about why he is spreading awareness about allergies and encouraging those with allergies to always carry their EpiPen with them.

 

“I am always stressed when I am traffic and the only way to be calm is to be leading and seeing nothing ahead of me. That’s always what I want to do, and I want to control the pace of the race, and that’s what I did in each race that I won and that’s what I want to do this year.”

Kevin Lacroix on his goals entering the 2016 season.

 

“We’re just going to keep building on the team as it’s a new team this year. As a new team we faced a lot of challenge, but the season is like a race. You have to finish to strong. We have two races to go – two ovals – and our oval program is doing really well so we want to go win those two races.”

L.P. Dumoulin on his goals with two races remaining in the season following a top-five at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

 

“It was pretty intense. I passed him on the inside initially, and then he gave me the bumper to get me outside and got back inside of me. I was on the outside for the last 25 laps, at least, and it was pretty good. Every time I thought I was clear, he was there again. He gave me a good run at the end. It was good hard racing.”

Alex Labbe on the battle back and forth with Cayden Lapcevich for the win at Autodrome Chaudiere. 

 

“I couldn’t be happier. We started the season out with no funding, so we were only going to run a couple of races. He ran so good, and some money came in, and he ran good again, and a bit more money came in. Cayden really rose to the occasion. As a father, I’m really proud. As a crew chief, I couldn’t ask for more out of him. Everything was against him, and he rose to the occasion. He’s done it before – in super stock, he had to win the race to win the championship, and he won the race. It’s great. So I couldn’t be happier.”

Jeff Lapcevich‘s thoughts at Kawartha Speedway after Cayden won the championship. 

 

“It’s been years to figure out and now I’m starting to finally get there. We’ll adjust a little bit more and get the car where I need to so I can run the same times that they’re running. Then it’s left up to the driver. So struggling a little on the set-up, but we’re a lot stronger than we were.”

Kerry Micks following a top-five finish on the streets of Toronto.

 

“Joey McColm has really taken this team to another level. He’s so motivated, active in the racing world and we have a plan that is going to attract drivers. The series is growing, and we’re also growing in the Trans-Am Series, as well. It’s definitely in developing stages and we have a lot more cars, a lot more drivers, and a lot more interest in what he does. It’s a bright future.”

Kevin Poitras on how much Joey McColm has contributed to the growth of Canada’s Best Racing Team. 

 

“Just being on these streets is cool because I went to school at Ryerson. I was on these streets for a lot of time and to go up the Lakeshore and through all of Exhibition Place/CNE Grounds, it’s like no other place that we go to. Plus, it’s Toronto so the hype is massive.”

Joey McColm on the Pinty’s Series returning to the streets of Toronto. 

 

“It’s fun to be in the series. I’ve driven other series in the past few years, and just to be in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series – it’s so competitive. To see guys like Kevin Lacroix and Alex Labbe, it’s a lot of pleasure to me as a driver. To see a guy like Mark Dilley or Kerry Micks, it’s fun. They’re a really good driver, too. It’s weird to say that I am a veteran, but I’m still young, I think.”

Andrew Ranger on racing in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.