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Lapcevich Looks to Maintain Pinty’s Series Points Lead

With only two races remaining on the schedule, everything is currently falling how Cayden Lapcevich hoped as he currently holds a 30-point advantage ahead of Andrew Ranger with only two races left in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series season.

Lapcevich came into the weekend with a 12-point lead, but ran in the top-10 throughout the Can-Am 200 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park and despite falling back to 14th at one point, he picked up a third place finish. For Lapcevich, it marks his best career road course finish in his eighth road course start.

“It was a great run,” Lapcevich told POPULAR SPEED. “We were very happy with how everything turned out. I didn’t think anything went wrong – everything went right, and we were able to extend our points lead. We’ll go to the next two ovals and try to be fast there.”

Meanwhile, Ranger ran in the top-three in the early stages of the race, but fell out of the event with an engine failure, finishing 21st.

With Ranger out of the event, Lapcevich said it was a relief as he was able to calm down and be a little more patient. Though balancing aggressiveness this year has been a big part of his program due to the lack of the budget the team has, as they’ve only had a sponsor on their Dodge for three of the 10 races this season.

“I know if I wreck a racecar, I may not be at the race track the next week,” he said. “So I’ve just been conservative all year and making sure not to put myself in a bad position.”

With only two races left on the schedule, confidence is high for the Fast Line Motorsports team as Lapcevich’s background is ovals, and he has won two of the ovals this year with no finishes off the podium in five oval races this year.

“I always have a lot of confidence going into the ovals because that’s what I grew up doing,” he said. “So going into the next two ovals, I feel confident with our program, and I think we have a lot of potential for the next couple of races.”

Despite the points gap being what it is, Lapcevich isn’t changing his strategy, either, as he’s set to contend in both races. Notably, he has never competed at Autodrome St. Eustache before and last year at Kawartha Speedway, he ran in the top-five all race long en route to a sixth-place finish.

” I’m really confident in our oval program and the potential we have on the ovals,” he said. “I don’t think it will change much. I am actually going to go out there and do my best, and try and run up front all race.”

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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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.

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Bristol Victory the Opportunity Finchum Was Waiting For

Three years ago, Chad Finchum was chasing a Late Model championship at Kingsport Speedway in Tennessee. Now, he’s the latest surprise winner in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and is enjoying the opportunity he’s been waiting for.

Finchum scored the victory driving for Martin McClure Racing at Bristol Motor Speedway last Saturday in dominating fashion. For those who had never seen him race, it was a surprise. For those who had, it was a joyous occasion.

So, who is he?

Finchum, 21, from Knoxville, Tennessee has won two NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NWAAS) track championships, the first at Kingsport Speedway in Kingsport, Tennessee in 2013 and the second at nearby Lonesome Pine Raceway in Coeburn, Virginia the following year.  In that time, and the years since, Finchum has also made a handful of appearances in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and, with the help of his father, James, has hoped to make the big time.

“I’ve been racing off and on in K&N for quite some time,” Finchum said in an interview with POPULAR SPEED.  “I think I’ve done 10 starts and my best finish was seventh and I backed that up two or three times but I couldn’t get to the win.

“Martin McClure Racing called me a month ago and said they wanted me to drive for them, this is what we want to do and what we have to offer.  They have a really nice program going. It showed at Bristol.”

It was more than just a victory for Finchum.  It was a hometown win, enjoyed before a familiar audience, at a track similar to his home track at Kingsport.

“I think any venue would be awesome but for it to be at Bristol and my home track, yeah, it was that much better,” Finchum remarked.  “That’s another thing. Kingsport has a lot of similarities to Bristol in the surface of the track. Kingsport’s concrete, Bristol’s concrete. They’re both short tracks.

“I kind of had a good idea from the morning, to peak of the day to late in the evening, I already knew what the track was going to do based off my notes at Kingsport and I think that played a huge role in getting the win.”

Finchum’s Bristol win came weeks after scoring the victory at Kingsport Speedway’s season opener back in March and, while he may be a former track champion, any win there is earned. The 3/8-mile concrete track, known as “The Concrete Jungle,” is one of the toughest tracks in Late Model Stock Car racing because of the surface, as well as the configuration, rules and the level of competition.

“As far as NASCAR Home Tracks and the NWAAS is concerned, I think Kingsport’s’ one of the toughest Late Model tracks,” Finchum explained.  “I say that because it’s a tough to get around; it’s concrete; it’s a wide track but there’s not really two grooves. It’s a tight cornered track that you have to finesse to get around people.

“I think the way they’ve got the shock rule and the two tire rule throws a big curveball at people. Everybody’s on the exact same shock and it really, Kingsport racing is close in the Late Model NWAAS, Kingsport is the closest to the old style racing.  It levels the playing field.

“I think being there since 2013 and running there weekly and testing up there, I think has brought my knowledge so far. I think that played a huge role in the win at Bristol. I actually learned something at Bristol. Someone told me the same company that paved Kingsport paved Bristol so it makes it that much more similar.”

Finchum’s victory at Bristol, which he credits his knowledge of Kingsport for, also gives him confidence heading into Dover later this year as well as other tracks.

“I’ve got other races on the schedule with McClure, one being Dover which is a bigger Bristol,” he said. “I think you’ll see a lot of the best from this team this year in the tracks we go to.”

Along with Kingsport and Lonesome Pine, Finchum had success at other tracks as well in his Late Model career with strong runs at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Virginia and winning the pole in 2013 for Late Model Stock Car racing’s biggest race, the Valley Star Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway.

Finchum is hoping to add more victories this season, not just in K&N but in Late Models as well. During off weekends, he will compete at other tracks, such as Hickory Motor Speedway in Newton, North Carolina and Motor Mile.

“That’s something we’re looking to continue on in the 2016 season as well,” he said. “Because I’m running the K&N Series, some of the races conflict with Kingsport so we can’t compete for points so there’s no point in running there every week anyway.

“We’ll see if we can’t put trophies on the shelf from various tracks. I want to start a collection, so that’s our secondary goal besides running K&N.”

Finchum joins fellow Late Model Stock Car graduates Todd Gilliland, William Byron and Dillon Bassett as recent winners in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.

“I’m really glad that Late Model short track driver got up there to beat the K&N drivers,” he said. “I think that’s great for the Whelen All-American Series.”

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