The 2019 NASCAR Pinty’s Series season came to a close at Jukasa Motor Speedway this past Saturday. In a race, producing green to checkered flag action, fans were treated to one of the most heart-pounding finishes in nearly a decade.
When the checkered flag fell at Jukasa, it left fans on the edge of their seats, hungry for more. Brett Taylor claimed his first career win during a heated battle with his teammate, Jason Hathaway, while Andrew Ranger would go on to win his third Series title with 11 points over Kevin Lacroix.
Recipe for Success
Ranger’s crew chief Dave Wight has been with the No. 27 MOPAR team since 2017, but in his early days he helped lead D.J Kennington to a pair of championships (2010/ 2012). A good crew chief is an integral part of a race team’s success. Wight, an experienced race veteran, shed some light on the amount of hard work and dedication it took to get to this moment.
"It’s all the resources we get from Mopar and everything they’ve done to get us to this point," said Wight. "The driving talent of Andrew obviously is one of the best in the world and we have a great team here just firing on all cylinders."
Another ingredient to a winning team, is the crew. Wight could hardly express how in sync everyone at the DJK Race shop was. It was the perfect recipe for a successful season.
"You’re only as strong as your weakest link, and I don’t think we had a weak link this year," Wight added. "Our struggles were fifth and seventh place finishes and we just capitalized on everything and we got four wins to build with it."
Second but all Smiles
In the closing laps of the Pinty’s Fall Brawl, Jason Hathaway was in a fierce battle with his teammate Brett Taylor. Despite getting passed in the final corner and finishing second, Hathaway was all smiles following the race.
"Brett was real quick," said Hathaway. "He was getting through the centre better and just gave a little poke at the end which was pretty cool. Guess he must’ve watched me a few times."
Helping Taylor develop during the 2019 season, Hathaway’s leadership definitely seemed to be a positive influence. For the first time in the team’s history, Ed Hakonson Racing placed both of their cars in first and second, following a race.
Upon taking the green flag, Toronto’s T.J Rinomato would claim Josten’s Rookie of the Year honours. The driver of the No. 02 HOLR Magazine Ford ran 11 of the 13 races, finishing the season with a career best finish of 14that both Chaudiere and Toronto.
"It’s just been one great learning experience," said Rinomato. "Driving a racecar with all these fast guys has been unbelievable. I’ve hit 5 walls, destroyed 3 cars, separated my shoulder but I’m having the time of my life and I’m looking forward to the next season."
- Instead of competing in the season finale, Alex Labbe handed his Pinty’s car to Sam Charland for Jukasa. Labbe made the trip to Charlotte, North Carolina to race the notorious Roval in the NASCAR Xfinity Series;finishing witha career best6th place.
- Jason White had some choice words for Brandon White following a mid-race crash at Jukasa."He’s been driving over his head and he’s been doing that for the last five or six races, he came in and lifted me right off the ground. There was nothing I could do."
- Ranger’s 10-yearchampionship gap marks the second longest drought in NASCAR history, second to Terry Labonte’s 12-year gap in the Cup Series.