L.P. Dumoulin wins NASCAR Pinty’s Series opening race at CTMP
Trois-Rivières, Québec’s L.-P. Dumoulin captured victory at the opening race of the 2018 NASCAR Pinty’s Series race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in beautiful weather on Sunday.
The drivers didn’t enjoy much practice on the CTMP fast and undulating road course prior to the race as rain and thick fog disrupted activities of the day. The competitors ran an abbreviated practice session Saturday, and the rest of the activities got cancelled.
The starting line-up was set per the NASCAR rulebook with Kevin Lacroix in the No. 74 Dodge on pole position and Louis-Philippe Dumoulin alongside him in the No. 47 Dodge. Lacroix had won three straight Pinty’s Series races at CTMP.
Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Dodge) and D.J. Kennington (No. 17 Dodge) shared Row 2 while Alex Tagliani (No. 18 Chevrolet) and Marc-Antoine Camirand (No. 22 Chevrolet) started on Row 3. Row 4 had Jean-François Dumoulin (No. 04 Dodge) and Adam Martin (No. 19 Ford).
After two parade laps, the field of 22 cars got the green. Kevin Lacroix jumped into the lead with LP Dumoulin in second and Andrew Ranger in third.
A great battle developed for second place between Dumoulin, Ranger, Alex Tagliani, DJ Kennington and Marc-Antoine Camirand.
On Lap 4, Jean-François Dumoulin headed to the pits, with probably transmission problems. Then, Gary Klutt passed Antony Simone for eighth spot and started to catch Kennington.
LP Dumoulin, in second place, managed to pull away from his rivals, but Ranger and Tag engaged in a fight, running several corners side-by-side.
On Lap 10, the order was Lacroix, LP Dumoulin, Tagliani, Camirand, Ranger, Kennington and Klutt, making ground.
On Lap 11, Tagliani pitted for fuel. Camirand also pitted one lap later. Lacroix extended his lead to four seconds over LP Dumoulin. Lap 13, Gary Klutt pitted. Kennington pitted on Lap 14.
LP Dumoulin pitted from second place on Lap 15. Then, Jocelyn Fecteau became the first car one lap down. Tagliani, who pitted early, was up in fourth place.
Race leader Lacroix pitted on Lap 18 for fuel and four tires. Andrew Ranger inherited the lead. Lacroix rejoined the race in 11th position.
Ranger was first ahead of Tagliani and Gary Klutt. And on Lap 20, caution was out for debris on the race track. Several cars, including Ranger, Tagliani, Kennington, LP Dumoulin and Camirand pitted under the yellow. On Lap 23, still under the yellows, Lacroix, having performed his stops, retook the lead back after the round of pit stops.
The race was restarted on Lap 25 with Lacroix in the lead ahead of Ranger, Tagliani, Gary Klutt and LP Dumoulin. Klutt passed Tagliani with a great move in Turn 10. Meanwhile, Ranger was running backwards. Tagliani was third and LP Dumoulin was fourth.
Lap 29, Klutt closed the gap to Lacroix to less than one second. Behind them, we had Tagliani, LP Dumoulin, Camirand, Kennington and Antony Simone. On Lap, 33 Simone went around Kennington for sixth with a nice move in Turn 10.
Klutt kept putting very intense pressure on Lacroix, and that allowed Tagliani, LP Dumoulin and Camirand to close in. On Lap 36, the top five cars ran together. On Lap 37, Klutt got loose between Turns 9 and 10, and Tagliani nudged him and spun him around. Klutt managed to get his car going again, but the officials called a caution. Klutt drove back to the pits for repairs and was sent back into action with some wheels pointing in the wrong direction.
The race got going again on Lap 42 with Lacroix as the leader and Tagliani and LP Dumoulin behind him. A few corners later, Tagliani outbraked Lacroix to take the lead. The top five cars nose-to-tail with Ranger now in fourth place ahead of Carmirand. This was a wild and exciting battle for the lead!
On Lap 48, Tagliani suddenly slowed down, allowing all his rivals to pass him. Lacroix regained the lead with LP Dumoulin and Ranger in hot pursuit. In Turn 5, Ranger moved ahead of Dumoulin.
Last lap: Lacroix was still ahead of the hard charging Ranger. Going between Turns 5A and B, Ranger sneaked the nose of his car inside of Lacroix’s machine. When Lacroix turned right for Turn 5B, Ranger it him in the side, and sent him into a wild spin. Ranger also got sideways, allowing LP Dumoulin to take the lead. He crossed the line in first place, winning his first NASCAR Canada race since 2014.
Andrew Ranger collected second place ahead of Camirand, American Noah Gragson in the No. 28 Dodge, Kennington, Lacroix, Cole Powell in the No. 3 Chevrolet, and Kerry Micks. However, Ranger was imposed a time penalty for his move against Lacroix, and was dropped down to 12th place. This promoted Camirand to second place and Gragson to third.
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