2018 marks the twelfth season for the Canadian NASCAR championship. Pinty’s Delicious Foods continues to be the series title sponsor.

The biggest news for 2018 was that races would be split into three segments. Optional pit-stops are permitted between the segments. Not pitting will give drivers at the rear of the field an opportunity to improve their track position. The events at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and the finale at Jukasa Motor Speedway will be exempt from segment races. This new procedure is implemented to reduce expenses as teams will not be required to employ as many crew members.

For the most part, the series schedule mirrored that of 2017. For the seventh straight year, the title chase kicked-off 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 championship would end in September at Jukasa Motor Speedway. The changes to this season’s schedule included – Jukasa replacing the June Delaware Speedway date and for the first time in the series history competitors would race south of the border at New Hampshire 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.

Since 2007, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) has hosted more NASCAR Pinty’s races than any other track. The first event of 2018, the Clarington 200, would be fifty-one laps (201.8 kilometers) around the ten-turn 2.459-mile road course.

The 2018 NASCAR Pinty’s season was to open with a seventy-minute practice session. Unfortunately, heavy fog forced race organizers to cancel on-track activities and make adjustments to the schedule. By late Saturday afternoon, the visibility had improved and the day’s events were allowed to continue. The planned qualifying session became a practice session. The starting grid was determined by the NASCAR rule book.
The opening round of the 2018 NASCAR Pinty’s series and the pole-sitter, Kevin Lacroix leads the field through corner two in the Bumper to Bumper/Total sponsored Dodge. Trailing Lacroix are the Dodge’s of 2014 series champion, L.P. Dumoulin and 2007 and 2009 title holder, Andrew Ranger. Also in the mix is the Chevrolet Camaro of former IndyCar driver, Alex Tagliani. Twenty-two competitors took the green flag.
L.P. Dumoulin’s last victory was in 2014 at Trois-Rivieres. After a forty-race winless streak he found his way back to the victory podium. Dumoulin was quickest in the final practice session and started the race on the outside of the front row in the No. 47 WeatherTech Canada/ Bellemare Dodge. He was in third place on the final lap and inherited the lead and win when Andrew Ranger and Kevin Lacroix made contact at Moss corner.
One of the beneficiaries of the Ranger/Lacroix incident was Marc-Antoine Camirand. Camirand who is running the full schedule, the first time since 2015, started sixth in the GM Paille sponsored Chevrolet Camaro. On the last lap, he was able to clear the incident at Moss corner and grab the runner-up spot. This result matched his best finish in the series – a second place finish at Riverside Speedway in 2015.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Noah Gragson made his first visit to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in 2017. Gragson was back and was using the NASCAR Pinty’s series event to gain some valuable seat time in preparation for the Truck race in August. He drove a D.J. Kennington prepared Dodge and started the contest thirteenth. Another beneficiary of the last lap incident, he finished third.
Kevin Lacroix driving the Bumper to Bumper/Total sponsored Dodge had led forty-one of the fifty-one-lap race and was in first place on the final circuit. Heading into Moss corner for the last time, Lacroix and Andrew Ranger came upon Alex Tagliani who was driving slowing due to a suspension problem. Lacroix went wide this lap and slowed down which allowed Ranger to close the gap.
Ranger took advantage of the situation and dove inside Lacroix entering turn 'five b'. The two made contact which caused Lacroix to spin. Ranger took the grass on driver’s right and cleared Lacroix but not before the two competitors were passed by L.P. Dumoulin. Ranger finished second but was later penalized for his actions and Lacroix crossed the finish line in fifth place.
The 2012 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series champion, D.J. Kennington was back for another season. The St. Thomas resident drove the No. 17 Dodge Challenger with support from his longtime sponsor Castrol oil. Kennington started fourth as a result of the qualifying session being cancelled and the grid positions being determined by the NASCAR rule book. Benefitting from the Ranger/Lacroix incident, he finished fourth.
Alex Tagliani is always a threat to win but this year he is chasing the championship and has made a commitment to compete in all the races. Tagliani’s new Chevrolet Camaro is prepared by Scott Steckly’s 22 Racing. He was gridded fifth for the start of the contest and wasted no time moving into contention. Unfortunately, Tagliani’s day was cut due to a suspension failure which caused him to finish a lap down in fourteenth place.
Rookie James Vance joined Canada’s Best Race Team with backing from Expo Systems for his series debut. Although a newcomer to the NASCAR Pinty’s series, Vance has gained road racing experience competing in the Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 championship and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. Driving the No. 1 Ford Fusion, he started at the rear of the field and worked his way to an eighth-place finish.
On the first lap of the race, the twenty-first place starter, Donald Theetge got an excellent run exiting corner two and attempted to pass the Dodge of rookie Raymond Guay. Unfortunately, the two made contact but they were able to continue. Theetge finished one lap behind the leaders in thirteenth place while Guay retired on lap-17.
Andrew Ranger was back for another season in the No. 27 Dodge. He started the Clarington 200 in third place. In contention for the entire contest, Ranger saw a chance to pass for the lead and victory on the last lap at Moss corner. He made contact with the first place car of Kevin Lacroix and was second across the finish line. However, he was penalized for his driving and classified twelfth.

12L.P. DumoulinWeatherTech Canada / Dodge51-
26Marc-Antoine CamirandGM Paille / Chevrolet51-
313Noah GragsonSwitch / Dodge51-
44D.J. KenningtonCastrol Edge / Dodge Challenger51-
51Kevin LacroixBumper to Bumper/Total / Chevrolet51-
614Cole PowellKubota/Choko Authentics / Chevrolet51-
710Mark DilleyLeLand / Ford Fusion51-
822James VanceCBRT/Expo Systems / Ford Fusion51-
919Brett TaylorRockstar Energy Drink / Dodge51-
108Adam MartinJohnsonville / Ford Fusion51-
1115Peter KluttLegendary Motorcar / Chevrolet51-
123Andrew RangerMopar/Pennzoil / Dodge Challenger51-
1321Donald TheetgeCircuit Acura / Chevrolet50-
145Alex TaglianiEpiPen/Rona / Chevrolet50-
1516Jason WhitePowdered Ventures Exc. / Chevrolet50-
1618David ThorndykeThorsons EVT / Chevrolet Camaro50-
179Larry JacksonSunspace/Wonder / Ford Fusion49-
1811Anthony SimoneInnovative P. & M. / Dodge48-
1912Gary KluttToronto Digital Imaging / Dodge38Accident
2020Jocelyn FecteauTeam LTD/Domino / Dodge31Overheating
2117Raymond GuayClassique Candot Int. / Dodge19Accident
227J.F. DumoulinSpectra Premium / Dodge12Vibration

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