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L.P. Dumoulin eyes his fourth NASCAR Pinty's Series Championship in 2022. (Matthew Manor/NASCAR)

NEWS & NOTES: L.P. Dumoulin Chases NASCAR Pinty’s Series History

After winning his third NASCAR Pinty’s Series championship last year, L.P. Dumoulin (No. 47 WeatherTech Canada / Groupe Bellemare Dodge) is poised to take the next step.

A repeat championship in 2022 would put him in the record books for more than one feat – he would become the first driver in series history to successfully defend their title, but more importantly, would tie Scott Steckly with a series-record fourth championship.

And as has been the case for several years, Dumoulin is on the shortlist of championship favourites. The Trois-Rivieres native has finished in the top five in the standings every season since 2013.  His consistency and ability to avoid mistakes almost guarantee him a top-10 finish each week. In fact, Dumoulin has finished in the top 10 in 48 of the 56 races since 2017, an 86% rate.

Dumoulin’s title defence begins Saturday night with the NTN Ultimate Bearing Experience at Sunset Speedway. He won the 2020 season opener at the track in the first race following the COVID-19 pandemic delay. Sunset is one of three oval tracks at which Dumoulin has a win; he has two top-fives and four top 10s in six races.

“I enjoy racing on this type of track,” Dumoulin said. “Our cars are very good and we have continued to improve our equipment this winter. Sunset Speedway has a steep banking and we have a large entry of good cars for the race – all we need to put on a great show.”

A strong Sunset result could put Dumoulin in the championship race driver’s seat early in the season. Race two on the schedule is at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP), a Dumoulin favourite. He earned his first career win at the track in 2013 and has not looked back since, winning three more races and racking up 12 top fives and 14 top 10s in 18 aces.

Success will not come easy for Dumoulin, however, as a deep field of contenders tries to unseat him. No list of title favourites is complete without D.J. Kennington (No. 17 Castrol Edge / Cathcart Trucking Dodge), one of the most accomplished drivers in series history. Kennington suffered through a four-year winless drought but has returned to his winning ways with three trips to Victory Lane in the last two years.

22 Racing teammates Alex Tagliani (No. 18 Viagra / St. Hubert Chevrolet) and Treyton Lapcevich (No. 20 RGC Sports / Qwick Wick Chevrolet) represent opposite ends of the career spectrum and both finished in the top five last year. Expect both the respected veteran and the young up-and-comer to contend throughout the season.

And three-time series champion Andrew Ranger (No. 27 GM Paille Chevrolet) announced a return to the series as part of a growing stable of cars at Wight Motorsports.

Pinty’s Series returns to traditional cross-country schedule

The 2022 season marks a return to normalcy for the Pinty’s Series, in this case in the form of a 13-race country-wide schedule.  The previous two seasons had been cut short with races concentrated in Ontario and Quebec due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to traditional Pinty’s Series races in Toronto and the Western Swing (Edmonton and Saskatoon), the series will make its long-awaited dirt debut at Ohsweken Speedway on Aug. 16. The race was originally introduced as part of the 2020 schedule prior to the pandemic-related consolidations.

The series will also make its debut in Newfoundland and Labrador on June 15 during the province’s Come Home 2022 celebration.  The 13-race schedule will take the series to five different provinces.

Wight Motorsports to Field Five Cars 

Just three years into its existence, Wight Motorsports Inc. (WMI) has put together an impressive collection of drivers, headlined by Andrew Ranger. Ranger, who won the 2019 championship with David Wight as his crew chief, will be led by another series champion – Cayden Lapcevich.

Veterans Mark Dilley (No. 64 Leland Chevrolet) and TJ Rinomato (No. 2 RGC Sports / Delta Bingo / Velamo Chevrolet) both return to WMI for a second season.  They will be joined by two top drivers – Glenn Styres (No. 0 GSR / Ohsweken Speedway Chevrolet), who was recently elected to the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame, and Brandon Watson (No. 9 GMS / Shear Metal Products / APC Chevrolet), the only two-time APC champion.

 

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“It’s been a busy offseason for the WMI team-building and preparing new cars and moving into a larger race shop to accommodate the growth we’ve experienced,” Wight said. “What a team we’ve assembled. To be entering only our third season in the Pinty’s Series and have this group of five drivers together, it’s pretty special what we’ve been able to accomplish.”

Raphael Lessard Eyes Sunset Repeat

Phenom Raphael Lessard may not be running the full Pinty’s Series schedule in 2022, but he does figure to be in contention to win every race he enters.  A look at the results of his brief career in the series will show the same.

 

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Lessard has three wins in his five career starts. The first came at his home track, Autodrome Chaudiere, in 2019 as he was pursuing a full-time entry in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He swept both races at Sunset last season in the No. 80 WMI Chevrolet. This year, Lessard has moved to Ed Hakonson Racing and will pilot the No. 8 RJ Investment / Fast Eddie Speed Wear / Transit Chevrolet at the eight oval races on the schedule.