NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
One may call it the Austin Cindric weekend. The #19 Purple Truck driver celebrated his 19th birthday at the Saturday Qualifying event by taking pole position for the Sunday race and setting a new track record in the process with a blistering average speed of 112.6 Mph, eclipsing the former track record by almost a full second posting a 118.602 second lap time.
On Sunday’s race the pole sitter won the first of the 3 stage event, then after an unfortunate pit stop where Cindric drove away with the fuel can still attached to the truck he had to serve a stop and go penalty. After the penalty, he rejoined the race in 17th position and fought his way back up to 2nd place and in true NASCAR fashion he had the last lap to try and win the race and secure a spot in the playoffs.
Kaz Grala was leading the race and Cindric sped up behind him on fresher tires and rubbed his bumper in turn 3, then as they got to turn 5, the slowest section of the track, Cindric hit Grala’s bumper which spun Grala sideways into the corner allowing Cindric a clear path to the finish line and his first career win. With the victory Cindric clinched a playoff berth.
In the last 3 years of the NASCAR Trucks at CTMP it has always fallen until the last lap in a free for all of pushing and bumping and crashing into each other to decide the victor. Grala said of the bump that it was a dirty move, but it wasn’t much of an incident compared to last year’s finish. This is the kind of wild racing that the fans have come to expect from the trucks running at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) where the grounds were filled to near capacity for the event.
The four Canadians in the race finished far behind the lead pack with D.J Kennington finishing in 14th, Jason Hathaway in 15th, Alex Tagliani in 19th and Gary Klute finishing 24th.
The race Grand Marshall for the event was the sensational Senators Goaltender Craig Anderson, who is a big racing fan. (He has a Corvette painted on his hockey mask!)
NASCAR PINTY’S SERIES – TOTAL QUARTZ 200
The NASCAR Pinty’s Series cars were also on hand over the weekend to race in the Total Quartz 200. Kevin Lacroix swept the weekend starting with the fastest practice time on Saturday and then setting a new track record of 1:22.521 to win the E3 Spark Plugs Pole Award for
the Sunday race. Lacroix has won the last two races at CTMP.
During Sunday’s race the pole sitter led 40 laps of the race and Lacroix finished 26.805 seconds ahead of second place Alex Tagliani. This was Lacroix’s 8th victory and 4th of 2017. This race was a yellow caution free race and the first for NASCAR since 2015. The series leader Alex Labbe started from the back of the pack and battled his way to a respectable 6th position while maintaining a 26 point lead over Lacroix in the series standings. Canadian Alex Tagliani finished a strong 2nd in the race with a good run in the lead pack and taking over the 2nd position on the 47th lap. This was Tagliani’s best result at CTMP with his previous best being 5th in 2008.
The next race in St. Eustache should prove to be a very exciting event.
Canadian Touring Car Championship
It was a busy Labour Day weekend for the Canadian Touring Car Championship (CTCC) with a triple header appearance at (CTMP).
As the season draws to a close, the championship race is reaching a crucial point, results from the three races over the weekend could easily change standings.
Multiple teams added extra cars and drivers to try and create on-track advantage. However, a high level of attrition resulted in several championship hopefuls hanging on with the ultimate objective of finishing the races rather than counting on previously thought out strategies.
Two drivers were able to sweep their class, Bob Attrell (GT Sport Class) and Scott Nicol (Touring Class). In the process, Scott Nicol also set a qualifying lap record of 1:32.519. In the Super Touring class it appeared that class point leader Eric Hochgeschurz was also headed for a sweep when he won on both Friday and Saturday. However, on Sunday he was forced to retire due to mechanical issues and Jean-Francois Hevey won the third race.
With the wins over the weekend, the championship race has seen some shuffling of points leaders with Bob Attrell taking over the points lead in the GT Sports Class and Scott Nicol moving up to second place behind Michael Sallenback. Erick Hochgeschurz retains the lead in the Super Touring Class.
Next, the CTCC will be heading to Circuit ICAR on the Montreal area airport venue for the two race final which will decide the Championship on September 30.
Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama
The Porsche series also ran a triple header at CTMP on Labour Day weekend. The Friday race was rescheduled from Watkins Glen (round 5) due to an incident on the first lap that impeded competition. The Sunday race was the final race for the season.
On Saturday, the #9 of Scott Hargrove in the Pfaff Motorsports/Castrol entry sailed across the finish line to take his 10th season victory, and more importantly, clinching the Platinum Cup Series Championship for 2017.
Sunday dawned with a chill in the air and a drizzle misting over the track that resulted in poor visibility and treacherous racing conditions. Given that the series championship ha
d been decided the previous day, it was expected that we were in for a Sunday afternoon drive. However, Zach Robichon of Ottawa, Ontario had different ideas. Robichon and Scott Hargrove swapped positions throughout the first lap, however with increasing rain; a full course yellow came out in Lap 2 as three cars spun out independent of each other. At this point Robichon was in the lead. A lead he did not give up for the duration of the race ending the day in Victory Lane.
Nissan Micra Cup
Nissan Micra Cup series made its second last outing of the season on Labour Day weekend.
The Micra series kept things exciting with constant lead changes for both races during the weekend. Saturday’s pole position winner (Xavier Coupal) ended in a collision on the very first lap ending his day. Kevin King raced to the finish line three-tenths of a second ahead of Olivier Bédard.
On Sunday, pole winner Kevin King led the first few laps before Olivier Bédard and Stefan Rzadzinski took the lead ahead of him. Eventually, Rzadzinski won.
With the incident on Saturday, Xavier Coupal had to forfeit the race on Sunday knocking him out of the battle for the title. Kevin King with his podium finishes remains in contention for the Championship title against Olivier Bédard who currently is in the lead.
Fan favourite # 20 driven by Austin Reilly who is autistic and races for Autism Awareness raced in the rookie class. Austin finished 18th in the first race and 14th in the second race.
The last race of the season will take place in three weeks at the Circuit Mont-Tremblant, in Québec. This should be an exciting race for the Championship.
Congratulations and best wishes to Paul Piels on his impending retirement. Paul has worked at CTMP and this weekend was his last working with a Pro series. Paul is seen walking ahead of the Highland Creek Pipe Band.
Brian Goldschmied, Neena Channan
Photo credits: Brian Goldschmied, Neena Channan