OBSERVATIONS: Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto
TORONTO, Ontario — The Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto always produces exciting racing for the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, with contact and close racing from the start of the event to the checkered. This year’s edition was no different as we look back at the action that took place.
Alex Tagliani was clearly the man to beat, as he set the quickest lap in qualifying and was set on his own pace from the drop of the green flag. If there wasn’t a late-race yellow flag, he would’ve been celebrating a win in victory lane. However, it wasn’t meant to be.
When you have a Green-White-Checkered on a street course, you’re bound for excitement and the Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto was no different. Andrew Ranger practically put together what will probably be the move of the season, perfecting the crossover as the field headed into turn one, getting the run on the inside of Tagliani to grab the lead and set on cruise control. J.F. Dumoulin tried to follow him through, but contact prevented that from happening.
The damage to Tagliani’s No. 18 Chevrolet from that probably prevented him from making a late-race charge on Ranger and you have to wonder what would’ve happened if he would’ve caught back up to him. But alas, Tagliani got himself a second-place finish while Ranger celebrated the victory. Dumoulin was able to finish third, marking a stellar performance as he continues to get better with more laps under his belt.
The other feel-good stories have to be James Vance and Pete Shepherd overcoming adversity to score top-10’s, with Vance sixth and Shepherd in 10th. Both drivers were involved in separate incidents during the day, but yet never gave up and made their way to the front at the end.
On the flip side, Anthony Simone is probably wondering what if. After pacing the series’ lone practice session, he was biding his time in a top-five when a broken rear axle took him out out of the running just seven laps into the event.
Kevin Lacroix won the event last year, but he started off the weekend on a sour note and it just went downhill from there. During qualifying on Friday, he suffered a crash, with his No. 74 Dodge sustaining heavy damage. He would borrow a car from Scott Steckly and 22 Racing, and tried to battle his way forward on Saturday, but ultimately crashed with five laps to go.
The incident dropped him in the championship standings to seventh, 22 points behind co-point leader Ranger and L.P. Dumoulin. With over half of the schedule to go, it’s anybody guess who will walk away with the title with how close the standings are, and the fact some competitors find strength on ovals, others on the road courses. if you add in the mixture of veterans and young talent, it’s going to be interesting right until the end of the season at Jukasa Motor Speedway.
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