Canadian Tire Series

NCATS: Pinty’s Presents The Clarington 200 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park Preview

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After a long awaited off-season filled with lots of anticipation, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series is set to kick off their season this weekend with the Pinty’s Presents The Clarington 200 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. The Bowmanville, Ontario oval has played host to the season opener throughout the series’ history and always deliver a top-notch show.

J.R. Fitzpatrick won both events at the road course last year as he is the track’s leader in race victories at five. However, he will not be in competition this year as he is focused on other racing avenues for 2015. With that said, it’s anybody guess who will win this weekend.

Marc-Antoine Camirand is set to run the full schedule this year with White Motorsports, and you could say that anticipation for that to happen kicked off last year with his third place finish at CTMP in September. That finish marked his best career finish and the best career finish for White Motorsports. Given the speed that he showed, it’s quite possible that he could top that performance this year as he has an average start position of fifth in six career road course starts. In his three starts at CTMP, he has a sixth, 19th and the aforementioned third.

L.P. Dumoulin will kick off his title defense this weekend after winning the crown last year. He will look to become only the second driver to back up a championship with a victory in the season opener, joining Scott Steckly. It’s the perfect spot for Dumoulin to win as he is a two-time CTMP winner, sweeping the pair of events in 2013. He is also known for his strength on the road courses, having three wins and an average finish of 10th in 22 career road course starts. In six previous starts at CTMP, he has five top-fives and an average finish of sixth.

His brother J.F. Dumoulin will be in attendance, looking for his 10th career top-10. He has yet to finish in the top 10 at CTMP, but posted a best career finish of fourth at Circuit de Trois-Rivieres last year.

Following a pair of runner-up finishes last year at CTMP, Jeff Lapcevich is hoping that he has the magic ticket to claim his first career victory behind the wheel of the No. 76 Tim Hortons Dodge. The veteran has 23 top-10s with an average finish of eighth in 28 career road course starts, and has finished in the top-10 in nine of his 10 CTMP races. Three of those top-10s were runner-up finishes, giving him an average finish of sixth. With the focus shifting from his career to his son Cayden, there’s no doubt he would want to top it off with a trip to victory lane this weekend.

Long time series veteran D.J. Kennington is hoping to snag his first series championship since 2012. The two-time champion hopes to start off the season on a high note with a victory, which give him his 19th career win and allow him to become the sole all-time win leader for the series. His chances look strong entering the weekend as he is the only drive to finish in the top 10 in all 10 events at CTMP, boosting a series-best average finish of fourth. Perhaps he could return to CTMP victory lane for the first time since 2011.

The other driver who has visited victory lane 19 times in the Canadian Tire Series? Andrew Ranger. Ranger is looking for his first career championship since 2009 and it’d be a great start if he could kick it off with a win this weekend. He has visited victory at CTMP twice (2007 and 2009), holds the record for the most poles with five, and has an average finish of eighth. Ranger is always a driver to watch on the road courses, owning 15 wins and 27 top-fives in 32 career starts.

Three-time Series Champion Scott Steckly is hoping to kick off the year in style after struggling through the first half of last season. In 10 career races at CTMP, he has five top-fives and a best finish of third in 2012. Interestingly, he has won 16 races in the series – but not one of those victories has come on a road courses. He has finished runner-up three times with 28 top 10s in his 35 previous career road course starts.

Jason Hathaway is known for his dominance on the ovals, but has yet to score a victory on the road courses. Still, in 35 road course starts, the driver of the No. 3 Fast Eddie Racewear/Choko Chevrolet has 15 top 10s with an average finish of 14th; his best finish came in Edmonton with a second in 2012.

Kerry Micks will be splitting the schedule with Mark Dilley behind the wheel of the No. 02 Johnsonville/Leland/BDI Ford. In 10 previous CTMP starts, Micks has four top 10s, with a bset result of fifth. He knows what it takes to win on a road course, having a pair of previous road course victories. It’d be a huge story if the veteran could make his return to victory lane this weekend.

Quebec based driver Alex Labbe has ran nine career NCATS races, but they’ve all come in Quebec. He’ll make his first NCATS Ontario start this weekend with his first trip to CTMP. He should adapt well, considering he has three top 10s and a best result of fourth in seven career road course starts.

There are plenty of rookies in the field this weekend, and no doubt each one enters with their own unique story.

Kevin O’Connell will make his NASCAR Canadian Tire Series debut this weekend, but enters with a bunch of NASCAR experience. He raced in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series in 2013, while racing in the NASCAR Mexico Series earlier this year. He has six NASCAR XFINITY Series starts, with a best result of third at Road America in 2014.

Cayden Lapcevich will make his NASCAR Canadian Tire Series debut, following in the footsteps of his father. The younger Lapcevich has spent the past couple of seasons at Sunset Speedway running a super stock, scoring the track championship last year. A lot of eyes will be on the teenager to see how he does, but expectations should be kept at an even level as this marks his first career full-body stockcar road course race.

With 27 drivers entered for this weekend’s event, the season looks to kick off in style with competition at each turn.

 

NCATS CTMP 5/17/15 Entry List

CAR DRIVER/HOMETOWN TEAM OWNER CREW CHIEF
00 Kevin O’Connell, Houston, Texas Gemini Southern Chevrolet Derek White Brandon White
02 Kerry Micks, Mount Albert, Ont. Johnsonville/Leland/BDI Ford Susan Micks Rino Montanari
3 Jason Hathaway, Dutton, Ont. Fast Eddie Racewear/Choko Chevrolet Ed Hakonson Craig Masters
04 J.F. Dumoulin, Trois-Rivieres, Que. Bernier Crepeau Chrysler/Bellemare Dodge Eric Kerub Deny Emond
8 Kevin Poitras, Toronto, Ont. * Post Plastics/TSC Stores Ford Bud Morris Rob White
17 D.J. Kennington, St. Thomas, Ont. Castrol Edge/Mahindra Tractors Dodge Doug Kennington Dave Wight
18 Pier-Luc Ouellette, Montreal, Que. * EpiPen/CGI/CanTorque Dodge Colin Livingston Tyler Case
22 Scott Steckly, Milverton, Ont. Canadian Tire/Mobil 1 Dodge Scott Steckly Randy Steckly
25 Joey McColm, Ajax, Ont. PartSource/Toronto Maple Leafs Ford Bud Morris Ryan Weiss
27 Andrew Ranger, Roxton Pond, Que. Mopar/Pennzoil/Exide Dodge Dwight Kennedy Bill Burns
29 Ray Courtemanche Jr., Montreal, Que. La Cite de Mirabel/Blackshape Dodge Ray Courtemanche Jr. Serge Labelle
34 Cayden Lapcevich, Grimsby, Ont. * Tim Hortons Dodge Jeff Lapcevich Rob McConnell
36 Alex Labbe, Saint-Albert, Que. Lou’s BBQ/VR Victoriaville Dodge Dave Jacombs Randy Smith
37 Simon Dion-Viens, Saint-Joseph-de-Kamouraska, Que. * Bestbuy Pièces d’auto/Castrol Dodge Clement Samson Clement Samson
42 Ryan Klutt, Milton, Ont. * Legendary Motorcar Chevrolet Peter Klutt Luigi Ciarafoni
47 L.P. Dumoulin, Trois-Rivieres, Que. WeatherTech Canada/Bellemare Dodge Martin Roy Mario Gosselin
56 Matthew Scannell, Rockwood, Ont. OMVIC/IGPC Ethanol/Stratafax Dodge Daniel Bray Howie Scannell Jr.
59 Gary Klutt, Halton Hills, Ont. * CTL Financing/Legendary Motorcar Dodge Peter Klutt John Fletcher
67 David Thorndyke, Oshawa, Ont. LubeSource/Thorsons EVT Chevrolet David Thorndyke Kattie Smilovsky
69 Trevor Seibert, Williams Lake, B.C. Lake Excavating/Area 27 Chevrolet Trevor Seibert Al Lebert
74 Kevin Lacroix, Saint-Eustache, Que. * Uni-Select/Pieces D’Auto Lacroix Dodge Sylvain Lacroix Bob Bosisio
76 Jeff Lapcevich, Grimsby, Ont. Tim Hortons Dodge Sherri Lapcevich Don Thomson Jr.
87 Erica Thiering, Sherwood Park, Alta. * #RaceCarByAva/TSC Stores Ford Bud Morris Daniel Bois
94 Dave Coursol, Saint-Jerome, Que. * La Cite de Mirabel/Blackshape Dodge Ray Courtemanche Jr. Andre Coursol
95 Anthony Simone, Holland Landing, Ont. Innovative Plumbing & Mechanical Dodge Peter Simone Jeff Walt
98 Larry Jackson, Oakville, Ont. AMVIC/IGPC Ethanol/B&B Decals Dodge Jim Bray Ron Easton
99 Marc-Antoine Camirand, Saint-Leonard-d’Aston, Que. * Grafoid/Braille Battery Chevrolet Derek White Robin McCluskey
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About Ashley McCubbin

Ashley McCubbin serves as a Contibuting Writer in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series department, and can be followed on Twitter at @ladybug388. A native of Bradford, Ontario, Canada, McCubbin spends a majority of her weekends at local short tracks.

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