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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – It wasn’t supposed to be like this at the start of the 2016 NASCAR Pinty’s Series season for Cayden Lapcevich.
The 16-year old rookie driver from Grimsby, Ontario, only planned to compete part-time for his family-owned team. But after they found themselves leading the points following early season success, the teenager, along with his father and former series competitor Jeff Lapcevich, decided to keep racing.
Thanks to their efforts, they’ve moved closer to winning their first series championship. After securing a win at Nova Scotia's Riverside International Speedway three weeks ago and a solid third-place showing last weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park – and due to some bad luck for Andrew Ranger – Cayden Lapsevich is closing in on the title.
The next step in the process will be at Autodrome St. Eustache this weekend for the Lucas Oil 250. Lapcevich enjoys a 30-point lead over Ranger. In the last two races, Ranger has finished 14th or worse due to mechanical issues while Lapcevich recorded back-to-back podium finishes.
Ranger is the defending winner of the Lucas Oil 250 and if he hopes to catch Lapcevich and win his third Pinty’s Series championship, he’ll need to finish strong and hope Lapcevich doesn’t continue his dominating performance on oval tracks. The Josten’s Rookie of the Year points leader has a pair of wins, two runner-up finishes and a third-place showing in the five oval-track races on this year’s schedule.
The final two races, Saturday at ASE and the finale on Sept. 17 at Kawartha Speedway are also on ovals which bode well for Lapcevich.
|RACE:||Lucas Oil National 250|
|PLACE:||Autodrome St-Eustache (Quebec)|
|DATE:||Saturday, September 10|
|TIME:||8:30 p.m. ET|
|TELECAST:||TSN - Sunday, Sept. 18, 1 p.m. ET; RDS - Friday, Oct. 14, 8 p.m. ET|
|TRACK LAYOUT:||.4-mile semi-banked asphalt oval|
|2015 POLESITTER:||Scott Steckly|
|2015 WINNER:||Andrew Ranger|
|EVENT SCHEDULE:||Practice 12-12:30 p.m., Final Practice 1-1:30 p.m., Qualifying 4:15 p.m., Driver Autograph Session 6:45 p.m.|
|TRACK CONTACT:||Buddy Ford, 450-569-3444, firstname.lastname@example.org|
|EVENT TWITTER HASHTAG:||#LucasOil250|
|NASCAR CONTACT:||Tim Southers, 386-235-3634, email@example.com , Twitter: @TSOUTH1968|
The Procedure: The maximum starting field is 22 cars, including provisionals. The first 19 cars will have secured starting positions through two-lap time trials while the remaining three spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 250 laps (100 miles), and is an impound race with two change tires allotted for the event.
The Race: The 2016 NASCAR Pinty’s Series schedule will return to Quebec for the final time this season with the Lucas Oil National 250 at Autodrome St-Eustache. The series has also visited Autodrome Chaudiere, Circuit ICAR and Trois-Rivieres in Quebec.
The Track: The Autodrome St-Eustache racing complex, located west of Montreal, consists of a .4-mile oval, a road course and a drag strip. There is also a karting track on the premises. The track was founded in 1965 as Fury Speedway de Fabreville, and the current configuration has played host to various types of racing since 1970. The track was purchased by Alan Labrosse prior to the 2008 race season.
Pole Winners: The first seven St-Eustache races have produced six different pole winners. Alex Labbe has the track qualifying record at 17.139 seconds (84.019 mph), set in 2014.
Race Winners: D.J. Kennington (2010) and Andrew Ranger (2015) are the only defending race winners at ASE scheduled to compete in the Lucas Oil 250 on Saturday.
Lucas Oil 250 Race Notes
Lacroix Still Looking for First Oval Win: St-Eustache native Kevin Lacroix has already captured an E3 Spark Plugs Pole Award this season on an oval at Edmonton International Raceway and his best finish to date on an oval is fifth at Sunset Speedway in June. Lacroix finished 16th at ASE his only other NPS start at his home track. With his second win in the past three races, Kevin Lacroix returns to his home track still in contention for the championship as he now sits third in the championship standings 38 points out of first place. Lacroix and Lapcevich have combined to give the rookies four straight wins in the series.
Dumoulin Continues Second Half Success: After starting the season with four consecutive finishes outside the top-10 for the first time in his career, Trois-Rivieres, Quebec native L.P. Dumoulin continues his second half resurgence in the NPS. Dumoulin finished second at CTMP for his fourth runner-up finish in the past five races. The strong turnaround has also vaulted him up to fourth in the point standings, just three points behind Lacroix for third place.
Owners Championship Battle Remains Close: While Cayden Lapcevich has opened up a little space between him and Ranger for the driver’s championship, the points battle has also been shaken up in the owner’s standings. Lapcevich’s back-to-back podium finishes has enable Fastline Motorsports, owned by Sherri Lapcevich to move up from third to the lead with 415 points. Colin Livingston, owner of the No. 18 driven by Alex Tagliani sits second, 13 points behind.