The big news for the 2016 Canadian NASCAR series was Pinty’s Delicious Foods replacing Canadian Tire after nine seasons as the title sponsor. There were also some newsworthy items in 2017. The first was the appointment of Cherie Putnam as Series Director. Putnam was the first woman in Canada and only the second female to oversee a NASCAR division. Also, the series would be implementing the Overtime Line similar to the procedure used in NASCAR’s top divisions. Finally, there would be group qualifying as opposed to a single car on track during time trials. The groups would be determined by practice times.

For the most part, the series schedule mirrored that of 2016. For the sixth straight year, the title chase started on the Victoria Day Weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) – there would be a second event held in September with the NASCAR Trucks. The title chase would end in September at Kawartha Speedway. New for 2017, was a return to Delaware Speedway after a three-year hiatus. Delaware replaced Sunset Speedway on the calendar. For the first time, two races would be held on the same day. The event called, the Velocity Prairie Thunder Twin 100s would be contested at Wyant Group Raceway. In all, the series would visit eleven tracks in five provinces.

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 (Avenger, Challenger and Charger), Ford (Fusion) and Chevrolet (Monte Carlo and Impala SS). Engine type and displacement are dictated by the make and model of the vehicle. The carbureted eight-cylinder motors produce approximately 650-horsepower. Depending on the gearing, these cars are estimated to have a top speed of 160-mph.

Since the series inception in 2007, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park has hosted more races than any other track. The first event of the 2017 season, the Can-Am 200, would be fifty-one laps (201.8 kilometers) around the ten-turn 2.459-mile road course. A late-race caution extended the contest to fifty-five laps.

The start of round one for the 2017 NASCAR Pinty’s Series. Pole-sitter, Kevin Lacroix in the No. 74 made an excellent start and led the field through Canadian Tire Motorsport Park’s corner one. Following Lacroex is the second fastest qualifier, Alex Tagliani in the EpiPen/Lowe’s sponsored Dodge. There were a total of twenty-five entries for the season’s first race.
Kevin Lacroix, the winner of last year’s second event at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, showed he was still the man to beat. Lacroix was driving the No. 74 Bumper to Bumper/Total/Gates sponsored Dodge set the fastest qualifying time and started on the pole. In the race, Lacroix led the most laps and won by a margin of 1.916-seconds.
Andrew Ranger, the series 2007 and 2009 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Champion was gridded sixth in the No. 27 Mopar/Pennzoil sponsored Dodge. Ranger immediately improved upon his starting position and by lap-5 was in the lead. The last caution period set up a shoot-out between Ranger and Kevin Lacroix. The pair had shared the lead multiples times before Ranger had to settle for a second place finish.
Third quickest in the opening practice session was the driver of the Can-Am/Kappa/Cyclops Gear/Lous BBQ sponsored Ford Fusion – Alex Labbe. At the end of the qualifying session, Labbe was fifth quickest. He never led a lap but was always in touch with the leaders. At the checkered flag, Labbe finished where he started - fifth.
Gary Klutt is always a force to be reckoned with at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park – in 2015; he scored his first series victory at the track. And, Klutt is did not disappoint – he started the season opener in the fourth grid position. During the race, Klutt was the benefactor of two free passes which kept him in the hunt. On the final lap, he was fourth but passed Cayden Lapcevich in the last corner for third.
Defending series champion, Cayden Lapcevich was ninth quickest in practice and fell to eleventh in qualifying. But this poor performance from the champ did not prevent him from moving up the race order. As the event went into overtime, Lapcevich found himself in a position to take the final spot on the podium. However, he was passed by Gary Klutt on the last lap in the final corner and finished fourth.
Based on his performance in practice it appeared that Anthony Simone would be a threat in the race. Simone delivered in qualifying, recording a time that placed him seventh in the twenty-five car field. He moved out front on lap-8 and led fifteen circuits. However, Simone encountered mechanical issues and finished twenty-second – 26-laps behind the winner.
Alex Tagliani was driving the No. 18 EpiPen/Lowe’s/St. Hubert Dodge was the quickest driver in Saturday’s practice session and qualified on the outside of the front row. Tagliani was in contention for the win until the penultimate lap when he crashed a corner two. The damage was extensive, he retired and was classified eighteenth.
In the offseason, WeatherTech renewed the support of 2014 Champion, L.P. Dumoulin. Dumoulin qualified the No. 47 Dodge third but started from the rear of the field after he received a penalty. Dumoulin made good progress during the contest and led the middle portion of the race. When the checkered flag fell, he was sixth.
The 2017 season’s first podium. In the center, is the winner, Kevin Lacroix. Lacroix swept the weekend – not only did he take the victory but he also won the pole and led the most laps. To Lacroix’s right, is runner –up and two-time series champion, Andrew Ranger. The final position on the rostrum belongs to Gary Klutt.

11Kevin LacroixBumper to Bumper/Total / Dodge55-
26Andrew RangerMopar / Dodge Challenger55-
34Gary KluttPioneer Pools Canada / Dodge55-
411Cayden LapcevichFastline Motorsports / Dodge55-
55Alex LabbeCan-Am/Kappa / Ford Fusion55-
63L.P. DumoulinWeatherTech Canada / Dodge55-
712J.F. DumoulinSpectra Premium / Dodge55-
89Jason HathawayKubota/Fast Eddie / Chevrolet55-
919Brett TaylorRedtree Management / Dodge55-
1014Adam MartinJohnsonville / Ford Fusion55-
1118David MichaudTrailers by Jim Bray / Dodge55-
1215Ryan KluttLegendary Motorcar / Chevrolet53-
1322David ThorndykeThorsons EVT / Chevrolet Impala53-
1416Jason WhiteHal-Nor Plumbing / Chevrolet52-
1525Charles HarveyHavoline / Dodge Challenger51-
1617Robin BuckOntario Chrysler Dealers / Dodge51-
178D.J. KenningtonCastrol Edge / Dodge Challenger50-
182Alex TaglianiEpiPen/Lowe’s / Dodge Challenger49-
1923Martin / Dodge Challenger48-
2013Matthew ScannellLeland/OMVIC / Ford Fusion43-
2124Larry JacksonCBRT/Piloti / Dodge Challenger38-
227Anthony SimoneInnovative P. & M. / Dodge29-
2310Christopher Bell22 Racing / Dodge Challenger29Brakes
2421Joey McColmCBRT/Piloti / Ford Fusion12Differential
2520Carl GauthierEsse Canada / Chevrolet1Accident

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