The Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto delivered as promised last season as Alex Tagliani and Andrew Ranger had the fans on their feet in the final laps of the race with Tagliani holding off Ranger in a green-white-checkered finish on the 2.82 kilometers (1.755-mile) course.
Ranger, who will be making his 100th career NASCAR Pinty’s Series start on Saturday, entered last year’s race as a two-time defending winner of this event for the NASCAR Pinty’s Series. He started from the pole position and remained in the top three throughout the race and gave Tagliani, who took the lead on Lap 25, a serious challenge in his attempt for a third consecutive win.
In 2017, Tagliani is still looking for his first victory of the season and enters the Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto with one of his best performances of the year last week at Circuit ICAR. Although he finished fifth, Tagliani started from the pole position and led a race-high 61 laps.
Series points leader Kevin Lacroix enters Toronto as the hottest driver through the first four races of the season picking up a pair of wins so far, The St. Eustache, Quebec, native won the season opener at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in addition to capturing the checkered flag last week at Quebec's Circuit ICAR.
Last year, Lacroix passed Ranger in Toronto on the first lap of the race and led the first eight circuits before Ranger got back in front. Lacroix went on to finish third in his first start on the special street course located near downtown Toronto.
Kerry Micks joins Ranger as the only driver to finish in the top five in all three NPS races on the course and they’ll be joined by six other drivers set to make their fourth start in the biggest attended event of the season for the series.
Micks, who makes a majority of his series’ starts on road courses, finished fourth in 2011 and fifth in 2016 and 2010, respectively.
RACE: Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto
PLACE: Exhibition Place, Toronto, Ontario
DATE: Saturday, July 15
TIME: 3:45 p.m. ET
TELECAST: TSN – Saturday, July 22, 2 p.m. ET; RDS – Aug. 6, 2 p.m. ET
TRACK LAYOUT: 2.82 kilometers (1.755-mile) 11-turn road course on the streets of Toronto at Exhibition Place
2016 POLE SITTER: Andrew Ranger
2016 RACE WINNER: Alex Tagliani
EVENT SCHEDULE: Friday – Practice 11:55 a.m. – 12:55 p.m., Qualifying 4:05 p.m.; Saturday – Driver Autograph Session 12:30 p.m.
TRACK TWITTER: @HondaIndy
EVENT TWITTER HASHTAG: #PintysGP
The Race: This event is the fifth of 13 races on the NASCAR Pinty’s Series schedule and the third of five road-course events. This is the series’ fourth time participating in the event in Toronto.
The Procedure: The starting field is 32 cars, including provisionals. The first 27 cars will qualify through NASCAR road race style qualifying. There will be two qualifying groups based on practice times. The remaining five spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 35 laps, covering almost 100 kilometers (61.4 miles).
The Track: The 11-turn, 2.82 kilometers (1.755-mile) temporary road course is set up on the streets of Toronto’s Exhibition Place, a unique site situated along the shores of Lake Ontario immediately west of downtown Toronto. Exhibition Place is home to more than 100 special events and trade and consumer shows annually.
The History: Originally known as the Molson Toronto Indy, the event dates back to 1986 at the site formerly known as Exhibition Place. The CASCAR Super Series, predecessor to the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, was a regular support series at the event.
The Pole Winners: Andrew Ranger was the inaugural event’s pole winner in 2010 and also won the pole last year. Jason Bowles captured the pole in 2011 and set the track record at 76.260 seconds (82.801 mph) on July 9, 2011.
The Race Winners: Two-time race winner Andrew Ranger set a NPS race record time of 69.065 mph at Toronto on July 17, 2010. Alex Tagliani scored his second career road-course win at this event last year.
Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto Notes:
Returning Drivers: Joining Ranger and Micks in starting their fourth race at the facility include: D.J. Kennington, Peter Klutt, Jason White, Mark Dilley, L.P. Dumoulin, and Robin Buck.
Quebec Drivers Leading the Way in 2017: With his win last week at ICAR, Kevin Lacroix became the first repeat winner of the season in the NPS and enters the Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto with a five-point lead over Alex Labbe (174-169) in the championship standings. Labbe, who won in the series return to Delaware Speedway last month, holds an 11-point cushion over third-place Andrew Ranger who has 158.
Ranger Usually Out Front: In his two wins in 2010 and 2011 Andrew Ranger has done it in dominating fashion leading every lap in the inaugural event (36) and he followed that performance the following year he led 26 of 37 laps. The Roxton Pond, Quebec native also led 11 laps last season and has been out front in 73 of the possible 110 laps in the three previous races.
Annual Western Trip Up Next: After the NPS finishes its event in Toronto, the competitors and officials will head west for the annual trip to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Edmonton, Alberta. This year the schedule will be a little different as the series will first stop at Wyant Group Raceway on July 26th for a pair of 100-lap features. Three days later the series will compete at Edmonton International Raceway for a 300-lap race.