2019 marks the thirteenth season for the Canadian NASCAR championship. Pinty’s Delicious Foods continues to be the series title sponsor.

There were a couple of newsworthy stories for 2019. One of them was the addition of live streaming. TSN and TSN Direct subscribers will be able to watch six NASCAR Pinty’s Series races live on tsn.ca and the TSN App. In other news, the 2017 champion, Alex Labbe, would return to the series after a year of competing in the NASCAR XFINITY championship. Labbe would team up with Dave Jacombs, who guided him to his 2017 title. Also, coming back was perennial front runner, Jason Hathaway in the Ed Hakonson Chevrolet raced last year by Cole Powell. And finally, on the driver front, Mark Dilley will return to full-time competition for the first time since 2011. Lastly, the cars would be fitted with General Tires replacing Goodyears, which were the spec supplier since the series inception in 2007.

The series schedule mirrored that of 2018. For the ninth straight year, the title chase kicked-off on the Victoria Day Weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Following Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, the series would travel to the ovals at Jukasa Motor Speedway and Autodrome Chaudiere. July would be a busy month with teams competing on the temporary street course at Toronto’s Exhibition Place. They would also be making their annual western Canada trip with a doubleheader at Wyant Group Raceway in Saskatchewan and Alberta’s Edmonton International Raceway. Returning to the east, drivers would be racing at Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Riverside International Raceway in Nova Scotia, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Autodrome St. Eustache. For the second consecutive year, the penultimate round would be held south of the border at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The championship would end in September at Jukasa Motor Speedway. In all, the racers would visit ten different tracks in five provinces and one state.

The cars competing in the championship are constructed to specifications and rules common to most stock car series. The chassis is a steel tube frame design covered with a fiberglass body and is required to weigh no less than 3000-lbs. Body styles are from manufacturers such as Dodge (Challenger and Charger), Ford (Fusion) and Chevrolet (Camaro and Impala SS). Engine type and displacement are dictated by the make and model of the vehicle. The carbureted eight-cylinder motors produce approximately 550-horsepower. Depending on the gearing, these cars are estimated to have a top speed of 160-mph.

The final round of the 2019 NASCAR Pinty’s Series was held at Jukasa Motor Speedway. Drivers would be racing around the 5/8-mile semi-banked oval for 200-laps in an event titled the Pinty’s Fall Brawl.

After twelve races, there were just two drivers eligible to capture the 2019 championship – the veteran, Andrew Ranger and fellow Quebecois, Kevin Lacroix. The past champion, Ranger, was favoured to win the title as he led Lacroix by eleven-points and just needed a solid performance without any incidents. The challenge was made more difficult by the number of competitors entered in the final event. Twenty-four starters would take the green flag making this the largest oval field since 2013. And, the grid was filled with many part-time drivers. Just to add to the drama, an issue with an electrical generator prevented the back-straight from being illuminated and delayed the race for approximately thirty minutes.

The starting grid for the final race of the 2019 NASCAR Pinty’s Series. The field was set by practice times as rain in the afternoon prevented the teams from qualifying. Kevin Lacroix in the No. 74 Dodge was the fastest in practice and selected the outside of the front row for the start. Next to Lacroix and grabbing his best starting position in the series was the Dodge of Brett Taylor. Behind Taylor, in third, is championship contender, Andrew Ranger.
By Toronto, Brett Taylor joined forces with the Ed Hakonson team to improve his performance and address reliability issues. In race sixth at Saskatoon, he recorded his best result to date, a third place. At Jukasa, Taylor started on the front row. An aggressive pass on his teammate, Jason Hathaway, in the last corner on the final lap gave him his first series victory – it was also the first win for a driver from Western Canada.
No matter how well Kevin Lacroix did in the final round, a seventh-place finish or better for Andrew Ranger would clinch the 2019 NASCAR Pinty’s Series crown. During practice, which would set the starting order, Ranger was third quickest driving the No. 27 Mopar/Pennzoil sponsored Dodge – two positions behind Lacroix. In the race, he led a total of thirteen-laps and finished fourth which earned, Ranger his third title.
Jason Hathaway’s return to the series fulltime after a two-year absence could easily be termed a success. Driving for Ed Hakonson in the No.3 Chevrolet Camaro, Hathaway notched up victories at Riverside International Speedway and Autodrome St. Eustache. In the finale, he started in the fourth position. Hathaway took the lead for the final time on lap-117 but could not hold-off his teammate Brett Taylor and finished second.
Quebec driver, Donald Theetge’s strength in on the ovals, he scored his only series victory at Wyant Group Raceway in 2018. But, Theetge would have captured his first NASCAR win in 2017 at Jukasa Motor Speedway if not for a ‘bump and run’ on the last lap. In this season’s finale, he drove the Team 22 prepared Chevrolet Camaro and was tenth quickest in practice. A consistent run through the field netted Theetge a third place.
Winning the Rookie of the Year title was Ontario driver, T.J. Rinomato. Rinomato did not face any other serious challengers for the championship. Competing in eleven of the thirteen events, he finished thirteenth overall in the Driver’s standings. The highlight of Rinomato’s season were fourteenth place finishes at Exhibition Place, Toronto and Autodrome Chaudiere. And, the low-point, destroying three cars.
Championship contenders, Andrew Ranger and Kevin Lacroix, traded the points lead all season. It was in the penultimate round at New Hampshire when Ranger got the ‘upper hand.’ Lacroix’s accident and Ranger’s victory gave Ranger the edge. To take the title, at Jukasa, Lacroix would have to score the maximum points while Ranger would have to finish worse than seventh. A fifth-place finish left him second in the final standings.
As usual, the third-generation driver, Pete Shepherd III, was spectacular. Shepherd has never competed fulltime in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, but his racing resume includes five victories. In the first race of this season at Jukasa Motor Speedway, he finished third. At the finale, business commitments prevented Shepherd from recording a practice time. He started twenty-second and passed sixteen cars for a six-place finish.
This year’s APC United Late Model champion, Matt Pritiko, was entered in the Jim Bray’s No. 56 Chevrolet Camaro with backing from Global Warranty. Pritiko made three NASCAR Pinty’s Series starts in 2014, with his best result being an eleventh place at Trois-Rivieres. In practice, he was twentieth quickest in of field on twenty-four entries. As strong performance resulted in a sixteenth-place finish – one-lap behind the leaders.
Andrew Ranger and his Crew Chief, David Wright, celebrate the 2019 NASCAR Pinty’s Series championship with the Mopar team. This was Ranger’s third title, his last was in 2009. During the season, he amassed four victories and ten top-five finishes. Ranger’s worst result was a ninth-place in the second Canadian Tire Motorsport Park event. This was also Wright’s third championship, his first two were with DJ Kennington.

FINISHSTARTDRIVERSPONSOR / CARLAPSRETIREMENTS
12Brett TaylorCanTorque / Dodge200-
24Jason HathawayKubota Canada / Chevrolet200-
310Donald TheetgeMRA/Empire Auto / Chevrolet200-
43Andrew RangerMopar/Pennzoil / Dodge Challenger200-
51Kevin LacroixBumper to Bumper/Total / Dodge200-
622Peter Shepherd IIINational Exhaust / Ford Fusion200-
712Alex GuenetteEpiPen/Rona / Chevrolet200-
85D.J. KenningtonCastrol Edge / Dodge Challenger200-
915Mathieu KingsburyDuroking/Boisclair & Sons / Dodge200-
1011L.P. DumoulinWeatherTech Canada / Dodge200-
116Marc-Antoine CamirandGM Paille / Chevrolet200-
128Anthony SimoneSilverline Tools / Dodge200-
1317Mark DilleyLeLand / Ford Fusion200-
147Julia LandauerOne Love Foundation / Dodge200-
1514Dexter StaceyBully's Truck Stop / Dodge200-
1620Matt PritikoGlobal Warranty / Chevrolet199-
179Cole PowellTRS Components / Dodge199-
1819Shantel KalikaAxon Software / Dodge198-
1921Brandon WhiteGoodleaf's Recycling / Chevrolet197-
2023J.F. DumoulinSpectra Premium / Dodge197-
2113Sam CharlandSilver Wax / Ford Fusion197-
2224T.J. RinomatoWatson Building Supplies / Ford Fusion192-
2316Jason WhitePowdered Ventures Exc. / Dodge75Accident
2418Jamie KrzysikBerMar Rewind / Chevrolet1Suspension

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