As Pinty’s Delicious Foods approaches its 50th race as entitlement sponsor of the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, there has been plenty to celebrate over the first 49. The company took over naming rights for NASCAR’s national series in Canada beginning with the 2016 season after a nine-year sponsorship by Canadian Tire.
“Pinty’s has been a tremendous partner in Canada for NASCAR, our competitors and fans,” said Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR’s Chief International Officer. “Their passion for the sport has helped us transform the at-track race day experience, while bringing the Pinty’s Series to fans across Canada.”
Inaugural series champion Andrew Ranger welcomed Pinty’s with a win at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) in the first race under the Pinty’s banner, and it is only fitting that he is fighting for yet another championship three years later. The veteran, who has competed in the series every year of its existence, is battling Kevin Lacroix, who only had six series starts before Pinty’s came on board. Lacroix’s 10 wins is the most of any driver under the Pinty’s banner.
Their championship battle is indicative of the influx of talent the series has seen the past three years. Much like Lacroix, newcomers Cayden Lapcevich and Alex Labbe took the series by storm, each winning six races in 2016-17. The youngsters also won back-to-back titles in those two years, with Lapcevich becoming the youngest champion in series history.
The youth movement came to a halt last season when veteran L.P. Dumoulin emerged with his second series title.
This year, however, the battle of veterans versus up-and-comers has returned with one of the closest points battles in series history. Lacroix and Ranger have ping-ponged the points standings lead back and forth since the season opener at CTMP. The title lead changed hands after each of the first six races before Ranger tried to pull away during the Western Swing with an 18-point advantage.
Lacroix has chipped away at the lead ever since, using a win at CTMP and runner-up finish at St. Eustache to tie and then take the lead away from Ranger.
Two races remain in the season, and Lacroix knows he has the advantage at the next stop – he led 90 of the 100 laps in last year’s series debut at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He’ll look to pick up where he left off in Saturday’s Visit New Hampshire 100.
News and Notes
Pinty’s Series Returns to the United States
Last year’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway marked a milestone in series history – the first time NASCAR’s national series in Canada traveled south to the United States. Kevin Lacroix stole the show, dominating a race that would dampen the sting on his unlucky season. Championship contenders Alex Tagliani and L.P. Dumoulin finished the race seventh and eighth, respectively, and were not a factor in its outcome.
Guenette to Sub for Tagliani
After missing Saint-Eustache for medical reasons, Alex Tagliani has once again been declared medically unfit to race. Replacing him in the No.18 EpiPen/RONA Chevy for 22 Racing will be Alex Guenette. Guenette has one previous start this season at GP3R and logged a top-ten finish. Tagliani hopes to be back in the car in time for Jukasa.
Shepherd Returns to New Hampshire After Strong Run
Peter Shepherd III will make his second start of the season and looks to build on last year’s successful New Hampshire race. Shepherd, who only competed in six races last season, started the race ninth but worked his way to the podium, with a runner-up finish. In his only start this season, he finished third at Jukasa.
DJK Racing Fields Cars for Powell, Landauer
Reigning Rookie of the Year Cole Powell will return to the track for the first time since last season, this time in the No. 73 Dodge fielded by DJK Racing. Powell finished fourth at New Hampshire in 2018. He will be joined by American Julia Landauer who hopes to have “home-field advantage” in New Hampshire. The New Yorker has four starts this year, with a best finish of 10th at CTMP. She finished 12th at New Hampshire last season.