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Kevin Lacroix Caps off Perfect Weekend with Fifth CTMP Win

BOWMANVILLE, Ont — Kevin Lacroix left Riverside International Speedway last week feeling like he had let one get away. After leading the most laps, including the white flag lap, Lacroix lost to Jason Hathaway in a thrilling overtime finish.

This week, Lacroix came into a track he knows well –  Canadian Tire Motorsports Park – looking to jumpstart his title hopes.  Lacroix put together a ‘perfect’ weekend, taking the pole award before winning the TOTAL Quartz 200 in heart pounding fashion.

“We were pretty much shaken after the race [Riverside] for points” Lacroix said.  And now we’re here [CTMP] and we had the chance to make a perfect weekend, that was the plan, thats what happened so we’re really happy.”

Lacroix’s led the first 20 laps in his No.74 Bumper to Bumper Dodge before calamity struck. Lacroix made an unscheduled pit stop, pushing him down the order and over 10 seconds back from the leaders.

The Saint-Eustache, Quebec driver took advantage of restarts to fight his way up to front. A late race accident set a up a NASCAR Overtime finish, which Lacroix took perfect advantage of. Lacroix’s win, coupled with trouble for points leader Andrew Ranger has the pair tied atop the standings with three races to go.

“Andrew Ranger had some bad luck and it ties us heading into the next three races. That’s going to be an exciting end of the season” Lacroix added “We’re really looking forward to the last few races, I’m really confident but I know Andrew is going be good there too so we have to keep up.”

Alex Tagliani had dominated the middle portion of the event leading 24 laps. In NASCAR overtime it was a two-man fight. Like countless Trucks and Pinty’s races past, Lacroix made his move in the infamous turn 10. Diving to the inside, Lacroix muscled his way by the Rona/EpiPen Chevrolet to claim his fifth CTMP victory, sweeping both events for the second time in his career.

In a post-race act of displeasure, Tagliani hit the door of the No.74 forcing him into the grass. No further altercations occurred post race.

In the ensuing dust cloud, Marc-Antoine Camirand was able to sneak through and claim his first podium of 2019. Camirand’s No. 22 GM Paille Chevrolet equals his best CTMP finish that he scored last May.

“I’m just happy to be back on the podium,” Camirand said. “It was a crazy race, we battled for the lead all race long and on the last restart when Kevin was in third place, I knew he was going to push hard to pass Alex and I let them go.”

For his second road course race in a row, JF Dumoulin found himself on the podium. Leading a lap and running clean all race long, Dumoulin snuck by Tagliani in the final corner to claim his fourth career podium.

Despite having the lead taken away in the final curve, Tagliani was able to hold on for a fourth-place finish. CBRT’s Anthony Simone would score his best finish of the season in fifth.

Jason Hathaway and D.J Kennington were sixth and seventh, respectively.

Simon Dion-Viens rebounded after a mid-race spin to finish eighth. Points leader Andrew Ranger blew a right rear tire after contact with the No.20 of Raymond Guay, Ranger would come home ninth. Julia Landauer was involved in a crash with Chandler Smith, suffering heavy rear-end damage Landauer would complete the top ten on the lead lap.

Fans can catch the race on TSN, Sunday, September. 1 at 1:30 p.m. and on RDS2 – Friday, September. 20 at 10 p.m. The NASCAR Pinty’s Series will be back in action Saturday September 7 for the Lucas Oil 250, the final NASCAR race at Autodrome Saint-Eustache.

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Kevin Lacroix Holds off Andrew Ranger in CTMP Thriller

BOWMANVILLE, Ont —One year ago, Kevin Lacroix was in the cat bird seat.

He led 41 of the Clarington 200’s 51 laps, including the white flag lap, but lost the win to L.P. Dumoulin after making contact with Andrew Ranger in the final corner.

This time, Lacroix wasn’t going to be denied.

After gambling on pit strategy by taking tires late in the race, he was on a mission.

In shades similar to last year, Lacroix took the white flag after making a dramatic pass of Andrew Ranger. Lacroix’s No.74 Bumper to Bumper / Total / Gates Dodge was able to hold off Ranger plus a hard charging Gary Klutt to pick up his 11th career win in the Clarington 200.

“Same as last year, I had Andrew on the last lap,” Lacroix said. “It was a little bit stressful in corner five, but this time we kept it clean. We got the win at the end, it was the other way last year.”

“We had the best car, we waited a little bit longer this year to change the tires. It paid at the end, it made the car better and faster.”

It was also a record-setting fourth victory for Lacroix at the historic Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP). He previously shared the record with Ranger and LP Dumoulin.

Lacroix led a race-high 18 laps. Ranger held on to the runner-up position after leading 10 laps.

“We had the lead and we tried a different strategy,” Ranger said after coming up short. “At the end I was finding that I was a little loose and I knew Kevin was coming very fast. I was really nervous on the last few restarts and he did a great job. He closed in on the back stretch, I tried to save it and he passed me.”

Polesitter Gary Klutt finished third after using the same pit strategy as Lacroix. Defending NASCAR Pinty’s Series champion LP Dumoulin finished 4th. Jason Hathaway finished fifth in his return to full-time competition.

JF Dumoulin, who will run all four road races finished sixth and 2017 series champion Alex Labbe finished seventh in his return to the series., D.J Kennington, Peter Klutt and Jason White completed the top ten.

Despite shredding a right rear tire early in the race, Alex Tagliani managed to rebound to finish 11th, while Joe Gibbs development driver Riley Herbst finished 20th after contact on the last lap.

The Clarington 200 will air on TSN on Saturday, May 25 at 11:30 a.m. and RDS2 on Sunday, June 15 at 10:30 a.m.

Lacroix looks to become the first driver in series history to open the season with two straight wins. He’s the defending race winner of the APC 200 at Jukasa Motor Speedway, which will be contested this year on Saturday, June 1 at 8 p.m. (live on FansChoice.tv in the United States).

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OBSERVATIONS: Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto

TORONTO, Ontario — The Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto  always produces exciting racing for the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, with contact and close racing from the start of the event to the checkered. This year’s edition was no different as we look back at the action that took place.

Alex Tagliani was clearly the man to beat, as he set the quickest lap in qualifying and was set on his own pace from the drop of the green flag. If there wasn’t a late-race yellow flag, he would’ve been celebrating a win in victory lane. However, it wasn’t meant to be.

When you have a Green-White-Checkered on a street course, you’re bound for excitement and the Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto was no different. Andrew Ranger practically put together what will probably be the move of the season, perfecting the crossover as the field headed into turn one, getting the run on the inside of Tagliani to grab the lead and set on cruise control. J.F. Dumoulin tried to follow him through, but contact prevented that from happening.

The damage to Tagliani’s No. 18 Chevrolet from that probably prevented him from making a late-race charge on Ranger and you have to wonder what would’ve happened if he would’ve caught back up to him. But alas, Tagliani got himself a second-place finish while Ranger celebrated the victory. Dumoulin was able to finish third, marking a stellar performance as he continues to get better with more laps under his belt.

The other feel-good stories have to be James Vance and Pete Shepherd overcoming adversity to score top-10’s, with Vance sixth and Shepherd in 10th. Both drivers were involved in separate incidents during the day, but yet never gave up and made their way to the front at the end.

ALSO: See Pete Shepherd’s thoughts on the day.

On the flip side, Anthony Simone is probably wondering what if. After pacing the series’ lone practice session, he was biding his time in a top-five when a broken rear axle took him out out of the running just seven laps into the event. 

Kevin Lacroix won the event last year, but he started off the weekend on a sour note and it just went downhill from there. During qualifying on Friday, he suffered a crash, with his No. 74 Dodge sustaining heavy damage. He would borrow a car from Scott Steckly and 22 Racing, and tried to battle his way forward on Saturday, but ultimately crashed with five laps to go.

The incident dropped him in the championship standings to seventh, 22 points behind co-point leader Ranger and L.P. Dumoulin. With over half of the schedule to go, it’s anybody guess who will walk away with the title with how close the standings are, and the fact some competitors find strength on ovals, others on the road courses. if you add in the mixture of veterans and young talent, it’s going to be interesting right until the end of the season at Jukasa Motor Speedway.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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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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OBSERVATIONS: Rankin Construction 200 at Jukasa Motor Speedway

This past Saturday night, the NASCAR Pinty’s Series headed to Jukasa Motor Speedway for the second event of the 2018 campaign. After taking some time to reflect about the action, here are some observations to carry forward into the rest of the year.

– While some of the Pinty’s Series races have gotten strung out over the years with a lack of passing, that wasn’t the case on Saturday night. There were battles throughout the field, including a mid-race four-way battle for third, and the battle near the end of the event for second. The wide, fresh paved surface on the half-mile at Jukasa is certainly friendly for these guys. 

Kevin Lacroix‘s domination in leading 128 of 206 laps is no surprise. While he started off as a road course master, he has grown stronger at the ovals with more experience, as noted by a pair of poles last year. After a runner-up in last year’s standings, he entered this year as the championship favorite.

Now knowing he can win at an oval, combined with four road course victories in 2017, he should be the driver to beat all year.

Cole Powell‘s runner-up may have surprised many within the NASCAR community as a rookie, but for those who have watched him over the past several years, it was nothing like that.

The Mount Brydges, Ontario driver has past experience in the United States, competing in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and ARCA, including a third-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway in 2013. He has also shown his strength in Ontario, winning Pro Late Model events and an OSCAAR Modified feature at Kawartha Speedway.

Now seeing him take his talents to the premiere tour in Canada with success, it was expected that he would do well on the ovals, based on his own ability and Ed Hakinson Racing’s history with Jason Hathaway. The only concern was whether he would perform on the road courses with a lack of experience, but he weathered the storm with a sixth-place finish in the season opener at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

– Seeing new faces in the series is always a good sign as it gives hope for higher car counts in the future.

Connor James made his NASCAR debut at Jukasa Motor Speedway, running solidly in the top-10 throughout the event without a scratch on the car en route to a 10th-place finish.

The jump up to the premiere series comes following success in the Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup and in Sunset Speedway’s Late Model division. While he is set on running for rookie of the year at the Innisfil, Ontario oval, he has expressed interest in running more events this season if the sponsorship comes about. 

– This year marks the first season for stage racing in the Pinty’s Series. Like the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, their races will be split into two or three segments, but feature a five-minute break rather than a normal caution period. The one surprise, though, was a lack of strategy under the second break.

The first caution saw five lead-lap drivers stay out and six competitors make pit stops, while the second yellow flag resulted in everybody pitting. While there was an ability to pass with drivers moving up and down the scoring pylon, track position was important if you ask Lacroix. The varying strategies from the first caution did not ultimately affect the final running order, with drivers on both mixed throughout the top-10.

Now if someone would’ve elected to stay out under the second yellow, could they have held off the field, or scored a better finish than where they ended up? Seeing a bigger variety of strategies moving forward could make these rules more interesting.

– Knowing when there is going to be a caution can work out to be an advantage if you have an ill-handling car or a problem.

L.P. Dumoulin used this to his advantage as he had a tire go down, dropping debris on the track for the yellow flag at Lap 146. He continued to roll around scattering more of the tire around the speedway until they called the break four laps later before pitting. By staying out until then, he was able to keep himself on the lead lap. Now he had to pit shortly after they went back to green due to damage, but he got the lucky dog under the next yellow flag, and fought back for a seventh-place finish. 

Andrew Ranger did the same thing in a different way, too. He knew he had a tire going down as you could see him getting sideways through the corner, but stayed on-track until it finally let go and dropped debris with 17 laps to go. He was able to make his pit stop under the caution, working his way back up to place fifth. 

Recall that time in the Cup Series when Clint Bowyer spun on purpose to get Martin Truex Jr. in the playoffs and penalties were laid down from the sanctioning body for the maneuver following an event. Certainly both these situations are not as extreme at what Michael Waltrip Racing did at Richmond Raceway, but this is still manipulating the race for your own advantage and worthy of a penalty. If you’re going to have someone purposely drawing a yellow, then they should be held a lap on pit road so they don’t reap the benefits of their behavior.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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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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PINTY’S SERIES: Lacroix Dominates Toronto; Fellow Contenders Find Trouble

TORONTO, Ontario — The Pinty’s Grand Prix had a familiar name on the top step of the podium following the 35-lap event on Saturday at the Honda Indy Toronto, as Kevin Lacroix dominated en route to his second straight series victory.

After an action packed race which saw new faces up front and contenders find trouble, here are some observations.

Lacroix Dominates

Kevin Lacroix has always been quick on the streets of Toronto, as evident by his podium finish last season. This year after qualifying up front, he took the lead on Lap 7 and did not look back from there as he led the rest of the way.

The driver of the No. 74 Dodge did not go unchallenged, though, as Marc- Antoine Camirand was right on his bumper through the middle portion of the event. However, a mistake by Camirand resulted in him crashing his No. 22 Dodge into the wall with six laps to go.

Being a road/street course expect, Lacroix has showcased his ability to date, winning all three events this season so far. And although ovals are not his specialty, he has still been solid with a fifth-place finish at Delaware Speedway, followed by a sixth at Autodrome Chaudiere.

“I think we’re having a good season with three wins, a fifth and a sixth,” he told POPULAR SPEED. “Our goal is to finish on the podium on road courses and get the most points we can and try to get a top-five on ovals. That’s what we’ve done since the beginning of the season, so it’s looking good.”

The results have benefited him well so far as he heads to Saskatoon with a 13-point advantage over Alex Labbe in the standings. Even with success to date, he admits they could be better, but it’s tough to do with the series regulations.

“We don’t have much testing before races,” he said. “So we’re not allowed to test a lot, so it’s pretty risky to try something weird in qualifying or the race, so it’s hard to get better. But I think slowly, we can get even better.”

Contenders Crash Out

Camirand was not the only contender to crash out of the Pinty’s Grand Prix, as shockingly neither Andrew Ranger or Alex Tagliani were on the podium at race’s end, either.

The pair qualified up front in the top-three with Ranger scoring the pole and Tagliani qualifying second. They also showed their speed early in the event, making up the top-two positions in the early stages. However, their battle for the lead came to a head on Lap 6.

Ranger held the top spot with Tagliani close behind. As they went into turn five, Tagliani made his move, though caught the rear bumper of Ranger and caused him to spin around. The result was heavy rear-end damage for Ranger, along with minor front end damage for Tagliani. Both drivers headed down pit road under caution for repairs, falling deep into the running order.

Ultimately, Ranger’s chances of winning were over as he went three laps down making repairs, en route to placing 15th. Meanwhile, Tagliani continued and worked his way back to the top-five, though was slowed by a mechanical problem four laps to go, finishing 14th.

Coming into Toronto, Ranger had been solid each week this season with no finishes outside of the top-nine, including a pair of runner-ups. For Tagliani, the Pinty’s Grand Prix represents just another frustrating weekend this year with bad luck following an 18th-place finish in the season opener at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

“We’ve been running pretty fast, always up front,” he told POPULAR SPEED. “I just need to find the right place at the right time because I think we’ve had a lot of bad luck, and domination doesn’t matter if there’s a restart as you’re exposed. Last weekend (at Circuit ICAR), we got taken out after leading 61 laps out of 75. Very disappointing, but it is what it is.”

Simone Finds Some Luck

For the longest time, fans would watch Anthony Simone and keep asking themselves the question – what will plague him today?

After all, his pair of previous trips to Toronto had resulted in finishes of 30th and 26th, including a fire last season. He also started off this season on the wrong foot, posting a pair of finishes outside of the top-10.

Though if you look at the past two weeks, perhaps Simone is finding some much-needed luck as he finished ninth at Circuit ICAR, followed by an eighth-place finish at Toronto. After qualifying in the top-10, he ran as high as third before fading back following contact on a restart and battling a loose handling car.

While the team was left wondering whether they could have done better, it marked the first time he has scored back-to-back top-10 finishes since 2010 with a pair of sevenths at Barrie Speedway and Riverside Speedway.

He will look to score his third straight top-10 at Saskatoon, where he has placed fifth and ninth in his past two events.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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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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Lacroix Dominates for First Toronto Victory

Celebrates Third Pinty’s Road Course Win of 2017

By Alex Gallacher (NASCARHomeTracks.com) –Toronto, Ont — It only took Kevin Lacroix seven laps to get the lead, once he got there he didn’t look back. 

The 28-year-old driver from Saint- Eustache, Quebec, held off hard charges from Marc- Antoine Camirand, LP Dumoulin and Adam Andretti to win the Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto Sunday at Exhibition Place. 

This race win was Lacroix’s second consecutive win following his win at Quebec’s Circuit ICAR last week. This marked the championship points leader’s third win of the season, extending his points lead over Alex Labbe by 13 points. Lacroix nearly lost his lead to Camirand with six laps to go when the St. Leonard d’Aston, Quebec, native hit the wall forcing a late race yellow. Lacroix then continued his dominating performance holding off LP Dumoulin and Andretti to claim his first victory in Toronto.

LP Dumoulin picked up his best finish of 2017 finishing second. Adam Andretti finished third and became the first American to sit on the podium since Jason Bowles in 2010. 

Alex Labbe finished in fourth, while JF Dumoulin ended up fifth notching his first top five since CTMP in 2015. DJ Kennington came home sixth followed by Cayden Lapcevich in seventh. 

Anthony Simone brought his car home eighth while the father/son duo of Gary and Peter Klutt rounded out the top ten finishers.

Polesitter Andrew Ranger limped home in 15th after an early run in with Alex Tagliani. Tagliani went on to finish 14th. 

The NASCAR Pinty’s Series heads west to Wyant Group Raceway for the Velocity Prairie Thunder Twin 100s presented by Bayer on July 26th. 

RESULTS | RACE CENTRAL LIVE REPLAY

 

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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.”

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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.

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NPS Notebook: Lapcevich To Be Crowned; Hathaway Closing Chapter

The crowning of the NASCAR Pinty’s Series Champion will be delayed by a day, as a persistent rain on Saturday afternoon resulted in the Kawartha 250 being postponed to Sunday, September 18 at Kawartha Speedway. The drivers will qualify at 11:30 a.m. EST, followed by the event at 1 p.m. EST.

The season finale has a bunch of storylines going into it with a pair of them bringing opposite ends to the spectrum – a new young champion along with a veteran closing a chapter in his career.

Following his victory at Autodrome St. Eustache, 16-year-old Cayden Lapcevich enters this weekend with a 41-point advantage ahead of Andrew Ranger. As soon as he takes the green flag for the race, he will be the 2016 NASCAR Pinty’s Series Champion and will set the record for the youngest ever NASCAR Champion.

Everything isn’t locked up for the Grimsby, Ontario native, though, as the owner’s championship is still not solidified. Sherri Lapcevich currently holds a 20-point advantage over Alex Tagliani’s car owner Colin Livingston (462-442) heading into the season finale. By only finishing 17th or better, the owner’s championship will belong to Lapcevich Fastline Motorsports.

If there was a place to celebrate, though, an oval marks the perfect opportunity as Lapcevich has finished in the top-three at each of the six ovals, including three victories. Notably, he finished sixth in his first trip to Kawartha Speedway last season.

jasonhathawaySpeaking of Kawartha Speedway victory lane, Jason Hathaway knows what’s all about as he was able to score the victory last year. The Stouffville, Ontario native will be looking to complete the feat once again in what marks an important race in his career.

Before this weekend, Hathaway announced this year would be his last full-time season in the Pinty’s Series.

Over the past 12 years, Hathaway has run a total of 121 straight races and is only one of two drivers to compete in every race in the series’ history, along with D.J. Kennington. During that time, he has picked up eight wins and 73 top-10s, highlighted by a runner-up finish in the series standings last season.

Hathaway noted he was stepping away from the series to pursue other projects he has on the go with his wife Jamie, and spend time with their children.

“I have had a great career, and I am extremely proud of my accomplishments and our Team’s accomplishments on the track,” he said in a statement. “Narrowly missing the Championship several times and 8 NASCAR wins are some of my cherished accomplishments. I think my greatest and most humbling achievement was being honored as the 2015 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Most Popular Driver.”

“We have accomplished so much as a team and as a racing family. We have traveled across the country, met some great people and fans along the way and have built some truly awesome friendships with NASCAR officials and fellow competitors. The Team we have built is a tight knit group that truly enjoy being around each other and are a part of each other’s family.”

Before the rain, the drivers were able to take to the track for practice.

kevinlacroixKevin Lacroix, who won two weeks ago at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, was quickest with a time of 17.871 seconds. He was running inside the top-10 last year at Kawartha when a late-race incident with Dwayne Baker took him out of contention.

Two-time Champion Kennington was second quickest as he looks to end off the year by breaking a three-year winless streak, followed by rookie Donald Theetge in third. Alex Labbe and Ranger rounded out the top-five.

Lapcevich was sixth, followed by Hathaway, Tagliani, Kerry Micks and LP. Dumoulin. Gary Klutt was 11th, followed by Derek Lynch, Baker, Joey McColm, Mark Dilley, Paul Geniole Jr. and Larry Jackson. Notably, this weekend marks the series debut for Geniole with Canada’s Best Racing Team (CBRT). Geniole previously raced at Sunset Speedway in the Super Stock division, before crewing this season for CBRT and Nick Goetz‘s NG Motorsports Late Model team.

“I’m excited to give Paul a chance to get behind the wheel,” CBRT General Manager Joey McColm said. “He is eager to prove himself, and we are always looking for fresh young talent. In a lot of ways he reminds me of how I was when I started driving.”

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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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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Lacroix Finally Finds Groove at CTMP

Kevin Lacroix is a good road racer, but just never could find success at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. After Sunday, he can call himself a race winner.

The driver of the No. 74 Bumper to Bumper/Total/Go Fast Dodge led 29 of 51 laps en route to scoring his second victory of the season. From the second starting spot, Lacroix ran inside of the top-five throughout the entire event, taking the lead from Alex Tagliani in the early stages and never looking back.

“The car was really dominant,” he said. “We had the car to win, always fast in practice and qualifying. I just had to manage getting some extra space ahead of second and just cruising around the circuit. We definitely had the car to win. So happy to get my fourth win.”

Lacroix has proven to be a road course master in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, winning four races in nine series road course starts over the past two years. However in his previous three starts at CTMP, he didn’t make it to the checkered flag as a result of a wreck in his debut, followed by a pair of mechanical issues.

“It’s my fourth start here and always had bad luck in the past, so happy to come up with a win here,” he said. “The bad luck is over here – so happy to get a win.”

While Lacroix had to hold off 2014 series champion L.P. Dumoulin for the win, he didn’t have to deal with fellow road course experts Tagliani and Andrew Ranger as they both fell out of the race with mechanical issues. Despite this, Lacroix didn’t change his strategy.

“I know this track is very tough on those cars, so you just have to concentrate on what you’re doing and hope for the best,” he said. “It’s too bad for them – it could’ve been a great show at the end with Andrew and Tagliani, but we’re happy to be here for sure.”

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.