Lacroix Wins Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto

Photo Credit: Ashley McCubbin

Kevin Lacroix continued his road and street course domination in the 2017 NASCAR Pinty’s Series season by winning his third road race of the year. Lacroix’s win marked his seventh career win in only his 23rd race.

Andrew Ranger and Alex Tagliani led the field to green with the two battling hard for the lead going into the first corner. The two tangled slightly, costing both of them momentum, and the lead shortly to Lacroix. Ranger did retain the lead by the end of the lap.

The first full course yellow of the afternoon would come out following the completion of the first lap for Matthew Scannell stuffing the car into the wall. The car appeared to have only cosmetic damage, but it was enough for him to bring it to the pits, ending his race.

The tangling with Ranger and Tagliani wouldn’t stop with the first lap skirmish for the lead as the two got into it again shortly after the restart. Ranger was sent hard into the wall by Tagliani, which put out the full course caution for the second time on Lap 10. Ranger’s day was, while not put to a total end, wrecked any chance of a good day and good points finish. He would finish the race two laps down in 15th.

Prior to the restart, Tagliani took his No. 18 EpiPen/Lowes/St. Hubert/Fast Wheels Dodge down pit road where he seemingly exited shortly thereafter without coming to the attention of his crew.

When the race restarted, it was Lacroix and Marc-Antoine Camirand leading the field around. Camirand would begin stalking the No. 74 for the lead where he would run behind Lacroix for most of the race. While he wouldn’t be able to make a move around the fellow Quebecois driver, Camirand would make several looks to the outside of Lacroix in an attempt to snag the position.

The final move Camirand would try to make was with just five laps to go. He tried to pass the No. 74 of Lacroix on the outside of turn four going onto Lakeshore Blvd. when he slammed into the wall. While trying to reverse the car, Camirand stalled, which forced NASCAR’s hand in putting the caution out. After a career day, Camirand would wind up finishing a disappointing 16th.

The race restarted for the final time of the afternoon with just three laps to go as Lacroix, L.P. Dumoulin and American driver Adam Andretti in his series debut were the top-three. Dumoulin and Andretti, however, weren’t able to make their way around Lacroix who led the final laps en route to his first win on the Streets of Toronto at Exhibition Place.

“The car is always a good car. We’re dominant on some road courses. I don’t think we had the car to win, but it was for sure very good,” Lacroix said after the race. “We need to take the chances that are given to us. That’s what I did today, and now we’re here in victory lane.”

Dumoulin ran inside the top-five throughout most of the race, but his race came full circle through finishing second, which marked his best finish of the year.

“I knew in the long run we were going to be strong, but the thing is the first part of the race you need to be up there and just hang out there for when the tires and fuel get used up,” Dumoulin told OnPitRoad.com after the race. “At the end, you still have to be in the top-five.

“On the restart, my gear ratio wasn’t great for the full track. We didn’t have the car to really win. On the restart, my gear ratio was good for me. I had a good run. I got up to (turn) three and I hooked up and got going. The restart helped out a lot for sure.

For Andretti, the podium finished marked the first time a non-Canadian driver finished on the podium since this race in 2010 when Jason Bowles finished second.

“NASCAR historically has always done a great job of putting these series together, and the Pinty’s Series is no different,” Andretti said.

Alex Labbe finished fourth while J.F. Dumoulin recovered from an early flat tire to finish fifth and score his first top-five since Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in 2015.

Rounding out the top-10 drivers were D.J. Kennington, Cayden Lapcevich, Anthony Simone, Gary Klutt and Peter Klutt.

 

About Tyson Lautenschlager 368 Articles
A 20-year-old from Ontario, Canada, Tyson Lautenschlager is a third-year journalism student at Humber College in Toronto. He is currently the managing editor of OnPitRoad.

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