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NASCAR Pinty’s Series 2019 Schedule Announced

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Following a thrilling 2018 campaign, NASCAR today announced the 2019 NASCAR Pinty’s Series schedule. The season will again feature 13 races in five Canadian provinces from Nova Scotia to Alberta, as well as a return visit to the United States.

The NASCAR Pinty’s Series’ 13th season will feature some of Canada’s most iconic tracks, including nine oval track events and five road course races.

“The NASCAR Pinty’s Series is Canada’s premier motorsports series and features the top drivers and teams in the country,” said Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR chief international officer. “The 2019 schedule offers a variety of race tracks that will deliver more of the exciting side-by-side racing our passionate Canadian fans have come to expect.”

For the eighth consecutive season, the NASCAR Pinty’s Series will kick off at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) in Bowmanville, Ontario on Victoria Day weekend (May 19). The 2.459-mile road course has hosted the top racing series in the world for more than 50 years, and will welcome the Pinty’s Series back for a return visit on August 25 as part of the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series event weekend.

The season finale will again take place at Jukasa Motor Speedway in Hagersville, Ontario with the Pinty’s Fall Brawl.

Other highlights of the 2019 schedule include:

  • Fan favorite events on the streets of Toronto and Trois-Rivières. The Pinty’s Series will headline Saturday (July 13) of the Honda Toronto weekend at Exhibition Place. The annual trip to Circuit de Trois-Rivières (Aug. 11) highlights a full weekend of racing activities.
  • A return to New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Sept 21) where last season Kevin Lacroix won the first-ever Pinty’s Series race held in the United States. The weekend will also feature the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
  • The annual Western swing including three races at two tracks. Wyant Group Raceway in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan will host two 125-lap features as part of a doubleheader on Wednesday, July 24 followed by a visit to Edmonton International Raceway on Saturday, July 27.

The NASCAR Pinty’s Series television broadcast schedule on TSN and RDS will be announced at a later date.

2019 NASCAR PINTY’S SERIES SCHEDULE          

DATE                       TRACK                                           LOCATION

May 19                       Canadian Tire Motorsport Park                            Bowmanville, Ont.

June 1                        Jukasa Motor Speedway                                        Hagersville, Ont.

June 29                     Autodrome Chaudière                                            Chaudière, Que.

July 13                       Exhibition Place                                                       Toronto, Ont.

July 24                       Wyant Group Raceway*                                         Saskatoon, Sask.

July 24                       Wyant Group Raceway*                                         Saskatoon, Sask.

July 27                       Edmonton International Raceway                              Wetaskiwin, Alb.

Aug 11                       Circuit Trois-Rivières                                              Trois-Rivières, Que.

Aug 17                       Riverside International Speedway                                 Antigonish, N.S.

Aug 25                       Canadian Tire Motorsport Park                            Bowmanville, Ont.

Sep 7                         Autodrome St-Eustache                                         St. Eustache, Que.

Sep 21                       New Hampshire Motor Speedway                                   Loudon, N.H.

Sep 28                       Jukasa Motor Speedway                                        Hagersville, Ont.

*125-lap twin features

SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE

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ASHLEY ASKS…… Cole Powell

After a successful career expanding in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Series tour and ARCA Racing Series, Cole Powell is set to run the full NASCAR Pinty’s Series schedule in 2018, driving for Ed Hakonson Racing. 

Before kicking off the year with the Clarington 200 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, the 25-year-old offer his thoughts for POPULAR SPEED.

POPULAR SPEED: What are your thoughts going into this season?

COLE POWELL: I think we have a really good program with EHR. The cars are being prepared really well by the crew and we’ve tested a few times at CTMP and the tests have gone well. Everybody is jelling pretty good. We gained speed every test, so that’s positive. Going into the weekend, I’m hoping it doesn’t rain, but it does, that’s just another challenge I’ll have to overcome. Excited to get back racing.

PS: What’s the toughest part of the CTMP road course?

COLE: The hardest part I would have to say is getting your braking and shift points down. There’s 10 corners, so that’s 10 corners you could have a mess up or screw up, so it’s a lot different than circle track racing where there’s only four corners. But I noticed you just have to stay focused with the 10 corners and hit your lines. It’s all about hitting your lines and not screwing up, but if you do, don’t do a big screw up.

PS: What are your goals for this season?

COLE: We’re chasing a championship so that’d be the number one goal. Well obviously, we go to win every race. There’s a lot of time, and money spent into this program not to try and go win every race. We’re all competitive people at EHR so winning is the number one goal. Other things for me is I want to finish every race, race every lap, top-fives and wins, and the championship.

PS: Beyond CTMP this weekend, what track are you most excited to get to?

COLE: I would have to say Jukasa or New Hampshire because those are the only two tracks that I’ve actually raced on in other series of racing. Every other track that we go to will be brand new for me, especially road course racing. The ovals, I think I’ll be able to get a grasp on it pretty quick because I am an oval racer. The new road course races will be a little tricky just because I haven’t been too them and a lot of them are on the streets. So I’m sure that’ll be a different atmosphere of racing in itself.

PS: How did you get started in racing?

COLE: Long time ago. My dad used to race a challenge motor crate truck over at Delaware Speedway, and I was over there hanging out with him every Friday night. I ended up coming home and he got me a little 13 hp mini truck that we raced up at Grand Bend Speedway; it’s like a go-kart. I thought it was cool; it looked just like his truck, just a smaller version, and we haven’t looked back since.

PS: You’ve been able to accomplish a lot in your career to date. What’s been the most memorable moment?

COLE: Memorable moment – winning the NASCAR Rookie of the Year in the (Whelen All-American Series) Modifieds was a really big accomplishment for us. Traveling to the States every weekend on a very small budget compared to the other teams and actually pulling off the Rookie of the Year, which was our goal, was a pretty big accomplishment and I’m really thankful for that. Another one would be leading the pack around Daytona in an ARCA car. That was pretty cool, just because Daytona is such a historic track and it is Daytona. Leading the pack around there for a lap or two was pretty cool.

PS: Who is your racing hero?

COLE: I have two. I would have to say Junior Hanley. I go over to his place quite a bit and he helps me work on the cars; he’s taught me quite a bit in the past years. Really hard worker, so he’d definitely have to be one. The other one would have to be Ron Hornaday. Really good friends with Ron Hornaday. He’s taught me a lot as well. Super hard worker – I look up to both of them 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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Plans Currently Up in the Air for Cayden Lapcevich

Near the end of February, NASCAR Next member Cayden Lapcevich surprised many fans when his family team Fastline Motorsports listed their racecars for sale. 

“We’re just putting it out there and weigh our options at this point, really,” Lapcevich said at The Motorama Custom Car and Motorsports Show. “If we come across funding and we’re able to do the full (NASCAR) Pinty’s Series again, then we will. But we’re exploring our options, seeing what’s out there, and maybe trying to venture down south this season. Nothing is set in stone and everything is still up in the air.”

Over the past two years, the third-generation racer has proven his talent on track, winning six NASCAR Pinty’s Series races to go with the championship in 2016. Despite that, finding sponsorship has been a constant struggle for the team. 

While they were able to make the past two years work for them in the series, most of the marketing deals were single-race partnerships and came together sometimes a week before the event in question. 

If they were able to find a full-time sponsor, Lapcevich said it would help the season flow a lot better.

“We’d know what we’re doing each week and we wouldn’t have to second guess ourselves so much,” he commented. “But the not knowing is helped really keep things interesting for myself and my family. I hear it often from the fan base, too, with people asking what I am doing. I just keep saying, ‘I’m not sure’ and then we show up and the fans are happy to see us there.

“So yeah, to have a big name on the car would be awesome and make life a lot easier for my family – but I like keeping things interesting.”

As questions continue to swirl surrounding his plans, he did drop a photo on twitter near the end of March. 

https://twitter.com/CaydenLapcevich/status/979150833093959680

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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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

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 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.”

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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Tagliani Hopes to be in “Right Place at the Right Time” in Toronto

TORONTO, Ont — Last year, Alex Tagliani played out the inaugural Pinty’s Grand Prix well on the streets of Toronto, running up front throughout the event in the top-three. He then passed Andrew Ranger, leading the final 13 circuits en route to scoring the victory.

Now flash forward to 2017, things haven’t gone as smoothly for the Tagliani Autosport/22 Racing driver as following an 18th in the season-opener at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, he has posted only one podium despite leading 117 laps in the three races since.

“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.”

While the fifth-place finish wasn’t what he had hoped for, it allows him to enter this weekend with an added boost of confidence.

“I’m excited about the weekend,” he said. “I think our car has been really good. We won last year, so I think we’re going to try the best we can with what we control, and run quick, and try to stay in front and away from the mayhem.”

The belief he can run well once again comes not only from ICAR but the fact no matter the series he has competed in, the streets of Toronto have always seemed to treat him well.

“Some places suit you well, some places you can extract time out of it, but I’ve learned throughout my career that there’s not a place you can feel too confident about,” he said. “Things change. It only takes one small thing out of preparation and out of the car to feel you have it and then all of the sudden it doesn’t feel good. So I think you just always have to be on your toes, and push and never take racing for granted because things change.

“I’ve learned in my career even if you’ve had success at a place, you just have to approach it like it’s brand new and you have to do what it takes to win, but can’t just sit calmly.”

Coming out of this weekend with a strong finish could certainly kick off a good stretch for Tagliani in the second half of the season, which includes their marquee events at Trois-Rivieres and CTMP. The driver of the No. 18 Dodge could very well begin a streak of victories, based on success in previous seasons.

Though while he continues searching for success, he also is making his mark known outside of the racecar, continuing to spread awareness about food allergies, recently launching the “Drive the Discussion” contest.

“It’s on food allergy Canada website so all the NASCAR fans, everybody that wants to participate, has a chance to win pretty amazing prizes, like gift cards from Lowe’s,” he said. “Lowe’s has decided to join the initiative and thanks to them, plus all the weekly prizes that we have for the next six weeks. So whether suffering from food allergy, or just a fan, you can participate and maybe be a winner.”

Being allergic to nuts, Tagliani has been using his own experience to give tips and offer ways for people to handle food allergies.

“I think this particular contest with the fans will be interesting because it includes people with food allergy, and people without it – so friends that will comment on it,” he added. “So for us, it will be quite interesting to see what the challenges that they go through. People have heard my story, but being a supportive person for the initiative,

“I’m looking forward to hearing everybody else who is suffering from this particular thing that is a growing health issue in Canada at the moment.”

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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Quebec-born Drivers Hold Advantage Going into Toronto

If the fans in Toronto want to see one of their Ontario-born drivers pick up the victory in Saturday’s Pinty’s Grand Prix, it’s going to be a tall order to make it happen. As of right now, it appears as though the Quebec-born driver base is holding serve in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series.

With four races completed, the top-four in points is made up of Quebec natives with Kevin Lacroix leading Alex Labbe by five points ahead of Andrew Ranger and LP Dumoulin. The French-born drivers have also won three of the four races this season, except for Grimsby, Ontario’s Cayden Lapcevich winning at Autodrome Chaudiere.

For this squad of drivers, the road/street courses are where they shine through the brightest, as they took five of the top-10 spots at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, followed by a sweep of the top-six at Circuit ICAR this past weekend.

The statistics are no surprise if you follow the series, though, with seven of the 22 drivers entered for the Toronto event having been born in Quebec. The fans at Exhibition Place are also used to seeing these drivers run up front, based on the past three events.
Roxton Pond, Quebec native Andrew Ranger is a two-time winner and ran in the top-three throughout last year’s event.

St. Eustache, Quebec native Kevin Lacroix ran up front throughout last year’s event, leading the first eight laps en route to finishing third. Meanwhile, it was Laval, Quebec native Alex Tagliani picking up the victory in a dominating performance.

Each of these drivers has momentum entering Toronto, as Lacroix won Circuit ICAR while Tagliani led a race-high 61 laps en route to finishing fifth. Ranger, meanwhile, finished runner-up last weekend.

Despite everything swaying in their favor, there’s no need to engrave the trophy just yet as the tight confines of Toronto could create chaos, with a surprise victor emerging. Gary Klutt knows what that is all about, as his first career victory last year at CTMP came after Scott Steckly and Andrew Ranger got together ahead of him on the final lap.

Out of the Ontario-based drivers, Klutt is one of the most well-known, having run a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event last year for Kyle Busch Motorsports and being part of the NASCAR Next program. The road and street courses are stronger for him than ovals, solely based on background, and he placed third at CTMP in his lone start of the season so far.

Another driver to watch will be defending series champion Cayden Lapcevich, as he looks to rebound following suspension issues at Circuit ICAR this past weekend. A member of the NASCAR Next program for 2017, Lapcevich’s season has not gone smoothly so far, with a pair of top-fives being matched by two finishes outside the top-10. While ovals are his background, he has continued to get stronger on the road and street courses, finishing fourth at CTMP. Last season in his first trip to Toronto, he posted a solid eighth-place finish.

It’s also worth noting that St. Thomas, Ontario native D.J. Kennington could spoil the party as he has two top-fives in three Toronto starts, and posted his most recent victory on a road course (Trois-Rivieres) in 2013.

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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JIM BRAY: People Don’t Realize Talent in Pinty’s Series

While everybody knows the NASCAR ranks are full of talent, the Pinty’s Series may just be the most underrated on the home track divisions.

Known as Canada’s premiere racing series, it travels coast to coast throughout the summer, putting on exciting events across the province.

While most of the series are made up are primarily ovals and a couple of road courses, this series is different with seven ovals and five road courses on the docket. The racing has also been close through the years, with plenty of last lap passes being made. The one that many fans still talk about Alex Labbe vs. Cayden Lapcevich, with nine passes in the final 15 laps.

The talent pool of drivers is made up of a bit of the best. Road courses masters Alex Tagliani and Andrew Ranger, find themselves up against short-track standouts like Jason Hathaway and DJ Kennington. Then you throw in the young talent of Labbe, Lapcevich, Gary Klutt and Kevin Lacroix, it’s a combination that can only equal success.

The talent is something team owners recognize, such as Jim Bray, as he made mention of a recent phone call from Daytona Beach, Florida, during the Motorama Custom Car and Motorsports Expo.

“People don’t realize how diverse our series is or how talented the drivers are,” he recalled. “I had a call from a top official in Daytona this week who has a development driver and is looking for rentals for the ovals and wondered if he could give him my phone number. He said, ‘He’s going to run some Pinty’s races, and then move up to K&N next year.’ I said, ‘I beg your pardon? If he’s going from our series to K&N, he would be moving down performance wise.'”

Bray was cited drivers, like Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular Ty Dillon and Daytona Truck Series winner Kaz Grala, who ran in the series in top-tier equipment, posting mid-pack finishes.

“Believe me, competition wise, there’s been cup drivers and a lot of great drivers that have come to our series and thought they’d be great, and they were okay,” he continued. “People in Daytona need to open their eyes.”

Part of the problem has been the TV package which shows races a week later, as well as drivers finding it difficult at times to find marketing partners. 2016 Champion Lapcevich found himself finding sponsorship last minute at times last year to make it to the events.

However, there’s been a recent sign of hope in that regard as Tagliani announced at the show that he’d be sponsored by Lowe’s Canada for this season. The good news for one driver has others hopeful they can find success, as well.

“It’s great to see new sponsorships come on board as they’re what make the sport work,” Kennington said. “Unless you’re really wealthy, you’re not going anywhere without one of those. It’s great to see and hope more jump on board. Alex will do a great job with that as he’s a good sponsorship ambassador, and hopefully, it grows into even more and possibly helps Scott get back behind the wheel. I mean, we need some of these guys back that aren’t able to race right now due to sponsorship.

“I hope we’re on the right track, and I know everybody including NASCAR are working hard to make sure that we are. Hopefully, it’s all turning around.”

Bray is also confident, hoping it’ll help increase the car count this season.

“I think it makes it much easier for teams in the west and east that want to make deals to get sponsorship,” Bray said. “Lowe’s coming on gives them so much credibility in talking about who they are talking about, and boasts the series – DJ running the 500, too.”

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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Larry Jackson Set for Full Pinty’s Series Schedule with CBRT

After coming close to running the full schedule the past couple of years, Larry Jackson will make it happen this year.

Jackson (pictured left) announced at the Motorama Custom Car and Motorsports Expo that he’d be running the full NASCAR Pinty’s Series schedule in 2017 for Canada’s Best Racing Team.

“We’re back with CBRT and Bud Morris and Joey McColm once again,” he said. “We’re going to try and do the whole season – looking pretty good right now, lots of iron in the fire. All the cars are getting updated and moved into a new shop, so everything is looking bright and beautiful right now.”

Jackson started off the season last year in his own equipment at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, before running nine of the remaining 12 races in cars fielded by CBRT. The pair were able to have success together, scoring a pair of top-10s, highlighted by a third at Sunset Speedway in June for his first series top-five. Being around the team post-race there, it seemed like they had won the event with how excited they were.

“I do this because it’s a passion and I love doing it, and to run up front with this competition in this series is absolutely awesome,” he said. “These guys are the best of the best. It’s some pretty amazing equipment that I am given. To be able to run up front is pretty awesome.”

While his best runs came on ovals last year, he admits that the road courses are his favorite to run – even though they’re “pretty challenging” and he has “a lot to learn.”

“I’m struggling, trying to get into the corner, and Andrew (Ranger) goes by,” Jackson said. “I’m on the edge of control trying to get into the corner, and he’s just waving as he goes by at 100 mph. So I have a lot to learn there.”

Going into this year, Jackson says he hopes to “complete every lap possible” each weekend so he can help the team grow.

“My main goal this year is to help Joey develop this team, get tons of notes on the cars, and develop the new drivers that he has coming in this year as well – be the old guy on the team,” he said.

Notably, CBRT has yet to release the rest of the driver line-up, yet.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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