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D.J. Kennington and Alex Tagliani both get their first wins of the season at Sutherland Automotive Speedway. (Photo by Matthew Manor/NASCAR)

DJ Kennington and Alex Tagliani Earn Twin 125 Victories in Saskatoon

In the NASCAR Pinty’s Series return to Sutherland Automotive Speedway, it was a pair of veterans who came out on top in the Twin 125-lap races.

Series ironman D.J. Kennington and veteran Alex Tagliani won each event, respectively, as multiple late-race cautions wound up making for some exciting action down the stretch.

After a relatively uneventful opening 52-laps in the first race, Andrew Ranger forced his way past polesitter Treyten Lapcevich for the lead. Several laps later, Lapcevich spun after heavy contact with T.J. Rinomato, causing a lengthy clean-up and red flag.

Ranger maintained the lead down the stretch, until more contact while racing inside the top-five collected multiple race and championship contenders.

The late yellow set the field up for another overtime restart, where Kennington nipped Ranger at the line for the win, his third career triumph in Saskatoon and first in 10 years. It continues a good run of form for the Ontario driver, who finished second back in 2019 at the track and has now scored top-five finishes in six of his last seven Sutherland races.

Ranger, Marc-Antione Camirand, Kyle Steckly, making his Pinty’s Series debut, and Lapcevich rounded out the top five with Dexter Stacey, Alex Tagliani, L.P. Dumoulin, Brett Taylor, and J.P. Bergeron completing the top 10.

RACE ONE RESULTS

Around an hour later, Donald Theetge led the field to green in the second 125-lapper over Kennington, who was black flagged for jumping the initial start of the race. The No. 80 Groupe Theetge Chevrolet and the No. 27 GM Paillè Canada Chevrolet were battling for the lead, until lap 42 when Tagliani nudged his way underneath Ranger for the top spot.

Reminiscent of Race No. 1, Ranger got close to doing one spot better in race No. 2 but wound up settling for second, not being able to close up onto the back bumper of Tagliani’s No. 18 on the final restart with eight laps to go.

The win was Tagliani’s first at Sutherland and first of the season, which came at a great time. Earlier in the day, NASCAR penalized Tagliani 12 points for “intentionally wrecking another vehicle” last week in Edmonton, but a checkered flag and trophy wound up putting a bow on a long day and week for the No. 18 team.

Coming into Sutherland, Edmonton winner Marc-Antoine Camirand held the points lead, but the morning of the race was also hit with a 12 championship and owner point penalty due to an infraction of rule 20.E.9.2.G – Exhaust pipes must have mufflers at designated tracks – Only Kooks mufflers will be permitted – from the NASCAR Pinty’s Series rule book. 

In addition, crew chief Robin McCluskey was suspended for the Saskatoon event, but the GM Paillé Racing Team is appealing the infraction. 

Camirand’s second event didn’t go as smooth as the first, as he pulled his No. 96 onto pit road with 65 laps to go with an apparent issue. He went on to finish 20th.

Ranger, L.P. Dumoulin, Raphael Lessard and Brandon Watson completed the top five, with Kennington, Kevin Lacroix, J.P. Bergeron, Mark Dilley, and Theetge rounding out the top 10.

RACE TWO RESULTS

Leaving Sutherland, Camirand remains the points leader, with a seven-point lead (313) over Kevin Lacroix (306).

The NASCAR Pinty’s Series heads next to Trois-Rivières on Sunday, August 7 for Les 60 Tours Rosseau Metal Presented by Julia Wine, the ninth race of the 2022 season.