As one of the most memorable seasons in NASCAR Pinty’s Series history comes to a close, one certainty remains – when Marc-Antoine Camirand (No. 96 GM Paillé / Chevrolet Canada Chevrolet) starts Sunday’s Pinty’s Fall Brawl, he will clinch his first Pinty’s Series championship.
Camirand leads the standings by 33 points over Kevin Lacroix (No. 74 NAPA / Lacroix Tuning / Valvoline Dodge) entering the season finale at Delaware Speedway. With 27 cars entered, last place will earn 18 points. The maximum points that can be earned in a race is 48 (43 points plus three bonus points for the win, one for leading a lap and one for leading the most laps), not enough to move Camirand from the top of the standings.
“We knew if we did well, we’d have a good gap for the last race of the season,” Camirand said following his CTMP win. “That’s exactly what happened, and we’re happy to show up to Delaware with a good points lead.”
The fact that the championship has been all-but-clinched after 12 of the season’s 13 races shows the dominance of Camirand and his team. He has three wins, nine top-fives and 10 top 10s, his only two finishes outside the top 10 were due to mechanical issues (tire issues at CTMP and an ignition failure at Saskatoon). Camirand has been fast at every track including winning the E3 Spark Plugs Pole Award the last two races.
One of the keys to Camirand’s success has been reuniting with crew chief Robin McCluskey whom the team hired away from Dumoulin Competition during the off-season. Camirand and McCluskey had previously worked together for parts of three separate seasons, with McCluskey leading Camirand to his first pole position (GP3R – Aug. 10, 2014) and first podium finish (3rd – CTMP – Aug. 31, 2014).
McCluskey joined Dumoulin Competition in 2016 working with J.F. Dumoulin. He led L.P. Dumoulin to the championship in their first year together, 2018, and the duo followed with another championship last season.
McCluskey is set to join Dave Wight as the only three-time champion crew chiefs. He also will become the first crew chief to win consecutive championships and the first to win championships with two different teams.
Series Director Cherie Putnam to Retire
NASCAR Pinty’s Series Director Cherie Putnam will be retiring at the end of 2022, making this weekend’s race at Delaware Speedway her final as the series’ boss.
Putnam first joined the series in 2012 as an official and was elevated to series director in 2017. The Windsor, Ontario native is the fourth person – and first female – to serve as series director. She has been involved in Canadian stock car racing for 37 years.
During her six-year stretch as series director, Putnam oversaw the series’ debut on dirt, helped bring a race to Newfoundland and Labrador for the first time and successfully managed to keep the series racing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished the past six years,” Putnam said. “I was once told to make sure I leave the series in a better place than when I got it, and I feel that I’ve done that.”
NASCAR Pinty’s Series Etc.
With an eye to the future, NASCAR and MBS Motorsports are partnering to test a new Robert Yates Racing Engines motor for potential future use in the series.
- Daniel Bois (No. 31 Sierra Excavating / Beatty Bros Garage / Murphy Motorsports Chevrolet) tested the engine at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park following the recent Pinty’s 200. He will now drive it at Delaware Speedway in the Pinty’s Fall Brawl to ensure the engine is competition-tested. The No. 31 will not be eligible for championship points. …
- Kyle Steckly (No. 22 APC Auto Parts Centres Chevrolet) returns to action for the first time since Saskatoon. The son of four-time series champion Scott Steckly finished fourth in his series debut. …
- D.J. Kennington’s (No. 17 Castrol Edge Dodge) record at Delaware is about as flawless as it gets. In nine career races, Kennington has five wins, seven podiums and nine top five finishes. He has led 484 of the 1,679 laps ever completed by the Pinty’s Series at Delaware.