After finishing runner-up in the 2020 Pinty’s FanCave Challenge, Kevin Lacroix was on everybody’s radar this season, still on the hunt for his maiden championship.
RACING REFERENCE: Kevin Lacroix’s 2021 NASCAR Pinty’s Season
The 2021 season kicked off with a doubleheader at Sunset Speedway for the Frontline Workers 125 and the General Tire 125. Last year, it was Lacroix and Jason Hathaway battling for the lead in both races.
After starting fifth, Lacroix started his battle towards the front. Staying within the top-five for the majority of the 125 laps and multiple late-race restarts. In the end, Lacroix finished fourth and set his sights on a win in the remaining race.
Next up was the General Tire 125 and the No. 74 Bumper to Bumper/Lacroix Tuning Dodge was starting seventh. Immediately starting with great speed Lacroix began to charge to the front.
However, on lap 29, Lacroix slowed to a stop on the front stretch bringing out the caution. He then brought his car down pit road and did not restart the race due to a rear gear issue. He finished the race in 17th and 101 laps down.
GRAND PRIX DE TROIS-RIVIÈRES
A two-time winner at GP3R, Lacroix is always a storyline when the series heads to Trois-Rivières. On Saturday he was third in practice and picked up a sixth-place starting position.
When the green flag dropped, Lacroix quickly found himself in the top five. The No. 74 Dodge continued to chip away at his lap times and
After a restart on lap 35, Lacroix briefly took the lead but Tagliani retook it just three laps later. As the race wound down, it was J.F. Dumoulin who began to put some heat on Lacroix for second place.
began picking up positions as the race went on.
With four to go, the race restarted after a caution and Dumoulin was hot on his heels. After battling side by side through multiple turns, the No. 04 Dodge took the position away and Lacroix brought his No. 74 Bumper to Bumper Dodge home in third, picking up his first podium of the season.
Since the NASCAR Pinty’s Series first race at Circuit ICAR in 2011, the track had been dominated by two drivers… Andrew Ranger and Kevin Lacroix.
While Ranger picked up the pole position, Lacroix was right next to him in second.
On lap 11 of the La Fernandiere 75, the No. 74 Bumper to Bumper/Lacroix Tuning Dodge took the lead and despite several advances from the No. 51, Lacroix never looked back.
Leading 73 of the 83 laps and controlling the restart on two NASCAR Overtime attempts, Lacroix picked up his first win of the 2021 season and the 14th of his NASCAR Pinty’s Series career.
— NASCAR Pinty’s Series (@NASCARPintys) August 28, 2021
CANADIAN TIRE MOTORSPORT PARK
As a five-time CTMP winner, Lacroix is always a favourite when the series visits the Bowmanville, Ont. road course, especially since he was coming off a win the weekend prior.
This time out, the series would be running two events at CTMP, a 30 lap sprint race on Saturday and a full 200 kilometre (51 laps) race on Sunday.
For the Olymel Grand Prix of Ontario, while Lacroix had dominated the practice session earlier that day, he finished fourth in qualifying.
Ten laps into the race, the No. 74 Bumper to Bumper/Lacroix Tuning Dodge was up to third but spun the car coming into turn five. The 32-year-old immediately got started to get out of his car, ending his day. Once the car arrived on pit road, the team diagnosed it with a transmission failure and got to work, preparing it for the Clarington 200.
Cars hit the track on Sunday for qualifying and despite finishing last the day prior, Lacroix was wicked fast and picked up his first E3 Spark Plugs Pole Award of the season.
The St-Eustache, Que. native led the first 16 laps of the race but once the live pit stop got underway, he was cycled back. Starting from the rear, Lacroix battled his way through the field, back to third.
In the closing lap, the No. 7 Ford of Kyle Marcelli battled with the No. 74 Dodge for that position, eventually claiming it and Lacroix crossed the finish line in fourth, just shy of a podium.
Heading back to the ovals, Lacroix was looking to pick up some points and improve his third-place spot in the standings, but his day at
Flamboro didn’t get off to a good start.
Before even hitting the track, the No. 74 team needed to replace the engine, which caused them to miss practice and later qualified 14th for the MotoMaster 125.
When the green flag dropped, Lacroix’s bad luck continued. 10 laps in, he spun coming out of turn two and while it didn’t bring out a caution, it did put him a lap down.
A few laps later, he got the free pass and as he started to make his moves forward, more trouble arose. On lap 29, Lacroix brought the No. 74 Dodge down to the pits for a potential motor issue. He later rejoined the field a total of 33 laps down but his mechanical issues weren’t over yet.
After getting into Donald Theetge on lap 101, Lacroix brought the No. 74 down pit road again, ending his day due to a power steering issue and finishing 18th.
Three events remained on the NASCAR Pinty’s schedule as the series headed to Delaware Speedway to finish the 2021 season.
First was the Canadian Tire 125 on Friday night. Starting fifth, Lacroix battled throughout the top-ten all night, eventually ending in fourth.
Two events remained on Sunday, starting with the QwickWick 125. The St-Eustache, Que. native picked up a sixth-place starting position and was battling upfront until about lap 57. While fighting for position with L.P. Dumoulin and Shae Gemmell, Lacroix wheel-hopped his No. 74 Dodge and started to lose positions fast.
After a trip down pit road and some repairs, Lacroix returned to the track to pick up as many points as possible.
On lap 74, he and Sam Fellows spun while going into turn one. The incident caused severe damage to fellows but also ended Lacroix’s race due to a suspension failure. The team worked for the remaining laps to fix the No. 74 Bumper to Bumper/Lacroix Tuning Dodge in time for the final race, the Pinty’s Fall Brawl.
With just one more chance to win in 2021, Lacroix was ready to fight. After starting eighth, he fought forward into sixth, where he stayed waiting for the opportunity to strike.
On lap 43, D.J. Kennington, Brandon Watson and Alex Guenette, who were all in the top-five, got into each other and spun, putting Lacroix in third for the restart.
He battled with Ranger for close to 40 laps, trying to claim second place. On lap 91, Lacroix firmly took hold of that position and then set his sights on the leader, Treyten Lapcevich.
With 20 to go, Lapcevich got it an incident involving some lapped cars, giving the No. 74 Dodge the lead. On the final restart, it was between Lacroix and Ranger and only four laps to go.
After leading the first two laps, Ranger was right on the rear of the Bumper to Bumper Dodge, getting his nose in deep and then taking the lead away. With a lap and a half left, Lacroix was unable to retake it and finish his 2021 season with second place and the sixth spot in the points standings.