Four drivers. Two races. One championship.
Eleven races into one of the most noteworthy seasons in NASCAR Pinty’s Series history and Marc-Antoine Camirand (No. 96 GM Paillè / Chevrolet Canada Chevrolet) has a chance to all but end the championship hopes of his fellow competitors.
Standing in his way are three drivers with wins at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP), including the winningest driver in track history.
Kevin Lacroix (No. 74 NAPA / Lacroix Tuning / Valvoline Dodge) is currently fourth in the points standings but has the best chance to put a dent in Camirand’s lead. Lacroix won the Victoria Day weekend CTMP race, his sixth at the famed road course. Not only is that the most for a Pinty’s driver at the track, it’s the series record for wins by a driver at a single track.
Lacroix is currently 28 points back, so a win – and the coveted three bonus points – would go a long way to getting him back in the hunt heading into Delaware. Lacroix is the only three-time winner in the series in ’22 – with all three wins coming on road courses. The only road course race he didn’t win was GP3R where engine issues ended his day early.
“I have no choice but to go for the win,” Lacroix said. “It’s a good thing this is a track that I know by heart and that I always do well on. Some drivers have nothing left to lose and are aiming for the win at all costs; others have to be more careful and strategic about the championship. I’m between those two. I think I’ll only be able to decide during the race if I take risks to go for the win or if I should be conservative.”
Ahead of Lacroix are Alex Tagliani (No. 18 Viagra / St-Hubert Chevrolet), 26 points back and D.J. Kennington (No. 17 Castrol Edge Dodge), 23 points behind Camirand. Both also have wins at CTMP – Tagliani in 2018 and Kennington in 2011.
“There’s so many variables at CTMP you have to be prepared for anything,” Kennington said. “And this amazing Castrol team does that every weekend. Weather can be a factor, strategy changes during the race too. The guys have done everything to set up the car and be prepared for the weekend, now we have to execute and put ourselves in a good position to capitalize during the race.”
Which brings us back to points leader – Camirand. He won the inaugural race in Newfoundland and Labrador in June and then won again in Edmonton. His two wins trails only Lacroix, and he leads the series with eight top-five finishes and nine top 10s.
Despite his 14th place finish at CTMP in May, Camirand showed a lot of speed. He was leading the race early and was in contention until an incident late in the race dropped him three laps off the pace.
And while not to the same degree as Lacroix, Camirand has CTMP success of his own. In addition to his 2021 win, he has three runner-up finishes at the track.