Canadian Tire Series

PINTY: 50 Years of Dumoulin Competition

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In more ways than can be discussed here, 1969 was a year for the history books. Some snippets of milestones from that year include: 350k people attending Woodstock, Apollo 11 landing on the moon, PBS being established and the final public Beetles concert. All this is good and well, but, in the world of motorsports, there are also many reasons to hold 1969 in high regard. This whole year is a celebration at Porsche of the 50th anniversary of the iconic 917 race car, and Dover International Speedway celebrated 50 years of racing earlier this month.  As well, there was a trifecta of “50th” motorsport anniversaries in Quebec; the 50th annual Salon Auto-Sport Quebec car show in Quebec City, the 50th running of the GP3R event in Trois-Rivieres and 50 years of the racing family Dumoulin competing in any form of motorsport. Starting with brothers Richard and Gerald, and now to this day with Richard’s sons Jean-Francois and Louis-Philippe, the name Dumoulin has been synonymous with Canadian motorsport.

It is only poetic then, that with this being such a milestone year for the family, that one of the brothers (Louis-Philippe) competing today would be heading into this year’s NASCAR Pinty’s Series season as a defending champion. On top of preparing a title defense, LP & the entire family operation; Dumoulin Competition, has had a very busy off season. In a series of announcements, LP’s brother Jean-Francois announced that he was stepping back from a full-time drive in the team’s second car to focus on more of the business aspects of the team including day to day operations, as well as his duties as an international driver coach for Ferrari and a distributor of Spectra Premium radiators; who have been a big supporter of the team for a number of years. While he will run the road course events, the team will be running a car for rising star and Gander Outdoors Truck series competitor Raphael Lessard at the 1/4 mile Autodrome Chaudiere and a third car at the four road course events for fellow Quebec native and European sports-car stalwart Jean-Frederic Laberge.

In the midst of all this, L.P. and J.F. found time to answer some questions exclusively for the Rubbings Racing readers regarding the upcoming season, seasons past and other miscellaneous topics. The questions and responses have been edited for clarity.

L.P., congratulations on being now a two-time Pinty’s Series champion, so tell me, how has the off-season been/felt as a two-time champion?

“The off-season felt great. I’m very proud of our crew members in the shop; they have been rebuilding my cars and working super hard. Because we won the championship in 2018 does not mean that we did everything perfect, we must keep doing what we’ve been doing so well the same way and, also keep improving the things we had to improve last year. I’m super pumped about the upcoming season!”

Do you prepare for the season any differently as a defending champion, compared to going in just missing out the year previous?

“Not really, you must work as hard as the previous season and don’t want to take anything for granted. Nobody has won the (Pinty’s Series) championship twice in a row and I would love to do it. Everybody is extremely hungry and wants to do well, win races and the championship. This series is competitive and that’s why we are so proud of those two championships (2014 & 2018). We look at the 2019 season as a brand new one.”

L.P. Dumoulin celebrating his 2018 Pinty’s Championship. Credit: Dumoulin Competition FB

Who are you looking to as your biggest threats for the championship this year?

“It is impossible to name only one guy because there are ten guys that have a shot at it. Some drivers won a championship before and will work hard to get another one and others did not win but have been doing so well. It’s a thirteen-race championship and we need to be strong and reliable every weekend, as a driver and as a team.”

Last year, Spectra Premium and Dumoulin Competition partnered with both the NASCAR Pinty’s Series and the Whelen Euro series in a first of its kind driver exchange that rewarded a driver in the Whelen Euro series with a Dumoulin prepared ride at the Pinty’s series GP3R event, while J.F. would compete at the Whelen Euro series finale at Zolder in the Netherlands.  Frederic Gabillon of France won the ride for the GP3R, and finished a very respectable 8th place.

J.F. at the Whelen Euro series event in Zolder, Netherlands. Credit: Motorsport.com

Asking Jean-Francois regarding his part of the deal, and competing in the Whelen Euro event at Zolder; “the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series was a great event. Being in Zolder was very special, obviously because of Gilles Villeneuves (youth idol). We had some problems with the car which prevented us from performing. But other than that, the event itself was amazing and I had a blast driving those cars. Less laps, different rules, it definitely was challenging but fun.” A note on that mention of the Canadian hero Gilles Villeneuve is that Gilles passed away as the result of an accident during time trials for the 1982 Dutch GP Formula 1 race at Zolder. The turn where his fatal accident happened later added a chicane that was named after him.

J.F., if you were to pick one track on the schedule that you circle every year and look to as the one you have the best chance of scoring a win at, which would that be?

“Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres would be my pick for a road course and Autodrome St-Eustache for the oval. The GP3R is in my hometown; I was raised there and have always performed well on this track. I have also raced in many different series on this circuit (Formula Ford, Grand Am, Canadian Super Car Series and others). On an oval track, St-Eustache would be my best chance. This year will be our last race on this circuit before it closes.”

One of the most important aspects for a race driver, as well for those in many sports, is the number that they choose to compete it. In some sports and teams, you do not get much of a choice, but when you own the team, you have a bit more of freedom to choose. I brought both drivers into the conversation to find their answers on how they picked their numbers:

Louis-Philippe: “Marc-Andre Bergeron, a longtime friend and partner within Dumoulin Competition, is a former 10-year veteran of the NHL. When he got involved with us, we chose to use his hockey number, the #47, and here we are today with two championships (2014 & 2018) and a rookie of the year title in 2011.”

Jean-Francois: “I used to run the #07, but went to the #04 because of Vincent Lecavalier, also a friend and former NHL player. At the time, he was supposed to do some races with us. Patrice Brisebois, also a professional hockey player, was already involved with us. We three all had hockey numbers in the team and that was the theme.”

Next we discussed the schedule and if there were any tracks that they would like to see added/re-added to the calendar. This topic has been one of much discussion in the top three series of NASCAR, and such has been made regarding the five year contracts NASCAR and the tracks had, which has resulted in a stagnate schedule for quite a while. The Pinty’s series isn’t bound by these same contracts, and there are a much greater number of racetracks in Canada than many may be aware of. With the series pretty limited to a summer/early fall schedule with 13 races this year, there would still be some wiggle room to add/move dates while keeping series cornerstone events. But, what do the brothers think?

L.P.: “Since we go to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH, I would love to go to Watkins Glen. On oval, definitely Vernon (British Columbia), we go out west during a week for three races, why not adding another one?”

J.F.: “I would love to run the Pinty’s Series at Mont-Tremblay; it’s also like my home track. I have been working there since I was 16 years old with the Jim Russell School and I am still working with the Ferrari program. It’s a great track, I’m used to it and, also I’m more of a road course driver.”

2018 marked the final year of seeing Dodge in any of the top three series, ending with Xfinity. While Dodge had not been around in any official fashion since 2012, the rules had permitted some of the lower-budget teams to run so called “zombie” dodges. The RAM trucks had phased out the past couple of years, even on short tracks. In Xfinity, Mike Harmon Racing and MBM Motorsports were known for running the zombie Challengers throughout the season, all the way up to the 2018 finale at Homestead and gave Dodge its final sendoff. This endeared many MOPAR fans to those teams, as it could be argued that even being several years outdated; those Dodges were some of the more sharp looking cars on the grid.

A common sight in the Pinty’s series: Two Dodges battling for the lead. #27 Andrew Ranger and #47 LP Dumoilin at CTMP. Credit: Moloiiiol Motion & Media

Up North however, it’s a completely different scenario. Dodge, along with Chevrolet are the dominate manufactures, while Ford has a small presence and there are no Toyotas.  The MOPAR brand sponsors DJ Kennington Racing driver Andrew Ranger, and Dumoulin Competition fields Dodges, leading to it being a common scenario to see quite a few Dodges at the front in every event. I asked the brothers what kind of support Dodge gives the teams and series, and the answers were pretty encouraging:

L.P.: “They give prize money and if you run their built engine, you can get more. They have been helping the series for many years now! We are affiliated with a Dodge dealer in Trois-Rivieres (Bernier Crepeau Chrysler Fiat) and proud to run that brand. It’s a bad ass looking car too!”

J.F.: “Dodge is really involved with the series for instance with the top-3 finishers prize money. They have always been supporting the series and also the drivers, just like the sponsorship with Andrew Ranger.”

We have seen over the past few years some intrusions of drivers from the U.S. coming up to the Pinty’s series to gain additional experience at road courses, such as Noah Gragson last year. At the August event at Mosport where the Gander Outdoors Truck series partners with the Pinty’s series for the weekend, it is common to see Pinty’s series competitors double dip and run both series. In 2017 for instance, four drivers; Alex Tagliani, Gary Klutt, Jason Hathaway and D.J. Kennington ran both events. Both J.F and L.P have ran Xfinity races in the past, so I asked them if they had any plans for any additional NASCAR races this year.

L.P.: “My former crew chief Mario Gosselin with whom we won the championship in 2014 is actually racing and preparing cars in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. We have been talking in the past few years and I would love to do an Xfinity race at Watkins Glen, Road America or Mid-Ohio if it fits in the schedule. But again, we will see, and it always depends on the budget. I know Mario has great equipment. Also, if we would get a call from a good team, we would think about it. I would love to jump into one of those cars.”

J.F.: “Right now I’m really focusing on our race team (Dumoulin Competition), my coaching and the races I will run. Obviously, Watkins Glen would be one of the most awesome tracks to run in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. But as we speak, I’m not thinking about it. We will have other drivers joining the team this year and of course, we will focus on trying to get the championship again with the #47 car of LP.”

Dumoulin Competition and the rest of the NASCAR Pinty’s Series will be in action all throughout the summer and fall competing in 13 events that encompass five provinces, two countries, and a very diverse track schedule that includes short ovals, road courses and street courses.  Their season kicks off this Sunday at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, and the race can be streamed live on fanschoice.tv

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About Damin Sawyer

Lifetime motorsports fan from New York. New to the journalism business, but has been doing photo captures for racing events for a few years now. Follow his journey though the motorsports world here, on Instagram @moloiiiiol and on Facebook at Moloiiiol Motion & Media.

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