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Pinty’s News & Notes: Saskatoon & Edmonton

Lacroix Leads Way To New Look Western Swing

July 24, 2017 - 10:15am

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – After another successful event as part of the IndyCar weekend in Toronto with the running of the Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto, the NASCAR Pinty’s Series competitors are loading up their haulers and heading west.

The annual western swing for the series gets underway this week with a new twist for the drivers this season.

/vpt_twin_100In the previous three seasons, the competitors would travel to Edmonton International Raceway for an event and then drive to Wyant Group Raceway in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for a race. This season the series will stop in Saskatoon first and will run a doubleheader for the first time in the history of NASCAR's national stock car championship in Canada.

The Velocity Prairie Thunder Twin 100s presented by Bayer will be two separate events with points for each event awarded to the competitors. This will give them three races on the trip west versus the two they’ve ran since 2014.

One driver looking forward to returning to WGR is defending series champion Cayden Lapcevich. The NASCAR Next driver scored his first series win at the track last season and will go for his second win of the season in the first of two 100-lap races at the fast .333-mile track.

In Edmonton, their race will be held three days later on Saturday night and Alex Tagliani will attempt to become the first driver to win multiple races at the quarter-mile bullring located just south of Edmonton, Alberta.

edmonton_race_logo_2017While both Lapcevich and Tagliani have reason to be confident returning this season, no driver enters this group of three races in four days hotter than Kevin Lacroix.

The St. Eustache, Quebec, driver has already scored three wins this season including back-to-back wins at Circuit ICAR and Toronto prior to this western swing. While Lacroix has scored all seven of his series wins so far on road courses, he did capture the pole at Edmonton last year and is ready to go for his first oval-track series win.

Another driver looking forward to returning west is 2014 series champion L.P. Dumoulin. Although Dumoulin hasn’t visited Victory Lane since his title-winning season – including a win in Saskatoon that year – he finished second in both western events in 2016.

RACES: Velocity Prairie Thunder Twin 100s presented by Bayer
PLACE: Wyant Group Raceway, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
WHEN: Wednesday, July 27
TIME: Race #1 6 p.m., Race #2 8:30 p.m. (Approx.) (Starting positions for Race #2 will be determined by driver’s fastest lap in Race 1 of the Twins.)
TELECAST: TSN – Saturday, Aug. 5, Noon ET; RDS – Sunday, Aug. 20, 5 p.m. ET
TRACK LAYOUT: .333-mile asphalt oval
2016 RACE WINNER: Cayden Lapcevich
2016 POLE WINNER: Andrew Ranger
EVENT SCHEDULE: Practice 12:30-1:30 p.m., Qualifying 3 p.m., Driver Autograph Session 4:35 p.m.
TWITTER: @wyantgrprace
EVENT HASHTAG: #VPTTwin100
NASCAR IMC CONTACT: Jason Christley, (386) 547-2469, jchristley@nascar.com

 

RACE: LUXXUR 300
PLACE: Edmonton International Raceway, Wetaskiwin, Alta.
DATE: Saturday, July 29
TIME: 7:30 p.m. MT
TELECAST: TSN – Saturday, Aug. 12, 1 p.m. ET; RDS – Friday, Sept. 1, 8:30 p.m. ET
TRACK LAYOUT: .25-mile asphalt oval
2016 WINNER: Alex Tagliani
2016 POLESITTER: Kevin Lacroix
EVENT SCHEDULE: Practice 12:45-1:45 p.m., Qualifying 4:05 p.m., Driver Autograph Session 6:10 p.m.
TRACK CONTACT: Loretta Thiering, 780-497-8262, speedway@syban.net
TRACK TWITTER: @EIRNASCAR
EVENT TWITTER HASHTAG: #LUXXUR300
NASCAR IMC CONTACT: Jason Christley, (386) 547-2469, jchristley@nascar.com

RACE CENTRAL LIVE: EVENT SCHEDULE & ENTRY LIST

Wyant Group Raceway Fast Facts

The Race: The ninth annual Velocity Prairie Thunder Twin 100’s will be the seventh and eighth of 13 events on the 2017 NASCAR Pinty’s schedule, and the lone trip to Saskatchewan and Wyant Group Raceway.

The Procedure: The maximum starting field is 24 cars, including provisionals. The first 21 cars will have secured starting positions through two-lap time trials while the remaining three spots will be awarded through the provisional process. For the second race, the starting field will be determined by the fastest lap completed during race #1. Each race is scheduled for 100 laps (53.6 kilometers – 33.3 miles) and will be held at 6 p.m. and approximately 8:30 p.m., respectively.

The Track: Wyant Group Raceway was constructed as a .333-mile oval with graduated banking in 2005 and opened to stock car auto racing in 2006. The track has welcomed the Pinty’s Series each year since 2009.

Pole Winners: The first eight WGR races have produced five different pole winners, with four, led by J.R. Fitzpatrick, D.J. Kennington and Scott Steckly with two apiece. Andrew Ranger started from the pole here last season. Steckly set the track qualifying record at 14.616 seconds (82.020 mph) in 2014.

Race Winners: Defending series champion Cayden Lapcevich scored his first series win at the track last year. D.J. Kennington leads active drivers with two wins. Retired four-time series champion Scott Steckly owns overall record with three wins. L.P. Dumoulin earned his first oval victory in this race in 2014.

Velocity Prairie Thunder Twin 100s Notes

Looking To End Long Winless Streaks: Two former Wyant Group Raceway event winners – L.P. Dumoulin and D.J. Kennington – are still looking for their first win since 2014 and 2013, respectively. Dumoulin won this event in 2014 and heads into the Velocity Prairie Thunder Twin 100s finishing second in this race last season. Kennington finished sixth here last year and is a two-time winner at the Saskatoon track in 2010 and 2012, respectively.

Can Lacroix Score First Oval Track Victory?: Kevin Lacroix enters this week as the hottest driver on the tour winning three races so far this season including two in a row. He’s owned the road courses picking up his wins at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Circuit ICAR and most recently, in Toronto. All seven of Lacroix’s Pinty’s Series wins have come on road courses and he’s yet to capture a checkered flag on an oval track.

New On Schedule: For the first time in the history of the series, there will be two races in one night with the running of the Twin Prairie Thunder 100s. Both races will feature separate points, purses and bonus awards and be scored as two unique events.

Busy Schedule: Wednesday’s Velocity Prairie Thunder Twin 100s will be the two of three events in four days for the Pinty’s Series during its annual western swing in Saskatoon and Alberta. The competitors will head out Thursday morning for Edmonton, Alberta to compete at EIR on Saturday July 29th. The series will then get a 15-day break before racing at Quebec’s Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres on Sunday, Aug. 13.

Edmonton International Raceway Fast Facts

The Race: The NASCAR Pinty’s Series is set to visit Edmonton International Raceway for the fourth consecutive year. The LUXXUR 300 will be the ninth of 13 events on the 2017 season schedule.

The Procedure: The maximum starting field is 24 cars, including provisionals. The first 21 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 300 laps (121 kilometers – 75 miles) and will have a five-minute midway break at or near the conclusion of Lap 150.

The Track: Edmonton is the second facility to play host to the NASCAR Pinty’s Series in the province of Alberta along with Edmonton City Centre Airport (2007-12). The track was first paved in 1994 and received a new coat of asphalt and other improvements just prior to the 2014 event. Edmonton, under the ownership of Ron and Loretta Thiering for nearly 20 years, has been a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series member since 2005.

The Winners: Andrew Ranger won the inaugural event in 2014 and Scott Steckly won in 2105. Alex Tagliani took the lead on Lap 88 and remained out front the rest of the way to win last year’s caution-filled event.

The Polesitters: Alex Tagliani holds the record in pole qualifying at Edmonton with a fast lap of 12.514 seconds (71.919 mph) in 2014. Kevin Lacroix won his first pole here last year and only one on an oval to date.

Luxxur 300 Notes

West-based Competitors To Make Appearances: The Luxxur 300 will be the second NASCAR Pinty’s Series appearance of the season for Sherwood Park, Alberta, native Noel Dowler. He also competed in the series return to Delaware Speedway in June. Ian Admiraal, also from nearby Sherwood Park, Alberta is also slated to make his first start of the season at Edmonton.

Several Drivers Keep Edmonton Start Streak Alive: D.J. Kennington, the only driver to start every race in the history of the series (125), leads a group of eight other drivers who’ve start the previous three NASCAR Pinty’s Series at the track. Of the drivers to start every race at the track Andrew Ranger and Alex Tagliani have scored wins there.

New Seating Available At Track: For the first time while hosting a Pinty’s Series race, EIR will open a new grandstand section to fans in the Turn 4 area of the track. The seating was in the process of being installed during last year’s event and not open to the general public.

Special Events Scheduled In Edmonton Area: Event sponsor Luxxur and Edmonton International Raceway have partnered to host several BBQ events on Thursday and Friday in conjunction the race on Saturday. The first event will be the NASCAR Pinty’s Luxxur 300 BBQ at Richardson Pioneer on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. and also a BBQ at CTV Studios in West Edmonton from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. On Friday a BBQ will be held at Richardson Pioneer in Camrose from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. For more information contact EIR.

NASCAR Home Tracks: Werner and Thiering Locked In Tight Battle In Provincial Standings

Lee Werner leads Erica Thiering by just four points in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Division I points  standings at Edmonton International Raceway (80-76). Both drivers have won twice and have finished in the top-10 in all five races held so far this season. The difference so far is Werner has scored top-five finishes in all five starts while Thiering has scored four.