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“They Said What?” NASCAR Pinty’s Series Edition

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Sometimes when you stick a microphone in front of a driver’s face, you have no clue what they may say and a couple of times you’ll hear something that surprises you or gives you a bit of a perspective.

Throughout the 2018 NASCAR Pinty’s Series season, I had the opportunity to speak to a bunch of different competitors. During those interviews, there were some quotes that stood out. So it seems only fitting we take a glance back through the year at what was said.

It’s all kind of small little things that to their extent are important, and we need to evolve and adapt. I think the world right now has shown interest in stuff that is digital, like reality shows are really popular. Young kids like technology, so you need to improve certain things for engagement with the fans, as potentially everything you show on TV has a reality component, not only racing component, to engage in the demographic that has an interest in those type of TV shows. I think we have lots of positives. We have access to a lot of things, but modeling and customizing our series a little bit to get it in a new direction doesn’t mean we’re bad. It means we need to evolve, change, adapt to the new world.

We’re in 2018 now and I’ve seen a lot of very positive comments this year with the cars, with the new body kit, new extension on the side skirt, new nose, new rear skirt on the rear bumper. People have enjoyed to see our cars low to the ground and the updated look of our cars. That was one small change, but it’s not enough; we need more new stuff, and we need to also balance it with being cost effective at the same time. Overall, I would say everybody has really good ideas when we meet with people – owners, drivers. Everybody has good points. I think when you take everybody together and put them around a table and you look into what people need from an owner’s standpoint, driver’s standpoint, marketing standpoint, sponsorship standpoint – if we all put our heads down and bring suggestions before our governing body, that’s how we can potentially a better series in the future. I don’t have all the answers to your question, and I don’t have the truth on everything, but I know I’m listening a lot of different owners and drivers, and I’ve heard some interesting valid suggestions. So that being said, I think getting together and working together as a group and applying some suggestions. – Alex Tagliani when asked for one thing that would improve the series

That’s one big think about the championship. Robin (McCluskey) has been there forever, working on those cars for a long time. I was super proud that we could get the championship this year for our whole team, our sponsors and partners, but as well as a guy like Robin that’s been there forever. I’m super happy for him. This guy works so hard to make things happen; it’s unbelievable.

You don’t want to forget Benoit Laganière; Benoit works really closely with Robin, super hard, and I think he’s pretty much the car chief. Those two guys together do an amazing job and he’s really good on the data, working on set-up. We all work very well together and that’s the big difference there. We do off-season testing and we take the cars apart in the shop during the winter; you should see where the cars are at in the shop already. They’re all apart and we’re working on building another car as well. All in all, it’s crazy that we can make these things happen. – L.P. Dumoulin

Photo Courtesy of Canada’s Best Racing Team

I think they’re a lot different. Obviously how they drive is very different, but there’s similarities. The number of races per year, and how competitive both series are. A couple things that were different are the people who race in Pinty’s Series have been racing there for years so a lot of people know each other well, whereas K&N a lot of drivers spend two years and then move up.

Also, how the car drives is very different as the K&N car, you can attack the corners more as you have better brakes. So it’s a different styles, but the racing is competitive and the races are longer in the K&N Series, so there’s more of a preservation going into there and pacing yourself back. It’s really hard, clean racing in the Pinty’s Series, and I was surprised by how few crashes there were and caution laps there were. – Julia Landaur, comparing K&N Pro Series East to Pinty’s Series

The actual race was a dog fight – I’ve never had a race like it. A street course is one thing, but to do it how it went down for me was the most extreme way it could’ve gone for anyone. I started last because of the mishap in qualifying with another driver, so we had to move our way through the field throughout the race, a couple of moves were really aggressive. By the end of Lap 3, my power steering was gone so I had no power steering in the car so it made it difficult to handle, which made the whole race interesting indeed.

On the first lap, we went from 18th to 11th, so I thought, “Okay, we can do something here.” Then we got to about Lap 15 and I was up to P6 or P7 at that point, and Kerry Micks decided to put me in the wall. I was really bummed. At that point, I was trying to get the car restarted and it wouldn’t fire because everything was so hot, and I was like, “Come on, this can’t be the end of the race.” I was in between despair and anger – it was weird. At that point, I got it restarted and there was a full course yellow because I was sitting for so long, obviously, and I was back to the back again.

At that point, I knew there was only one thing I could do and that was pass as many cars as I possibly could. It’s a tough to do as the car is tough to drive because the car is hot, the tires are wore out, the brakes are wore out. I had to use a lot of my car to get to where I was in the field to get to where I was because I had push to a lot harder to get positions. So the car was not ideal for sure, but the team did a great job and we managed to get to the end. When we came across the line, I wasn’t happy for it to be over, but I was worn out. It was crazy. – James Vance

“I like racing cars and I never stopped loving racing cars; I always wanted to do it, but different stage in my life with work. Now I feel like I’m ready to come back and make a strong run hopefully for a championship sometime soon.” – Pete Shepherd

“The Pinty’s Series – you’re out there with the best guys in Canada, so it was a lot of fun and I was happy with how I adapted with the car throughout the whole day.” – Connor James

Photo Courtesy of Ed Hakonson Racing

Memorable moment – winning the NASCAR Rookie of the Year in the (Whelen All-American Series) Modifieds was a really big accomplishment for us. Traveling to the States every weekend on a very small budget compared to the other teams and actually pulling off the Rookie of the Year, which was our goal, was a pretty big accomplishment and I’m really thankful for that. Another one would be leading the pack around Daytona in an ARCA car. That was pretty cool, just because Daytona is such a historic track and it is Daytona. Leading the pack around there for a lap or two was pretty cool. – Cole Powell

“WeatherTech has been with us for seven years now – and we’re going for three more, which is awesome. You can’t ask for better than that. it’s great for me and for my family and friends, but for my fans and everybody that has been supporting us forever. It’s great for the team – the girls and boys helping us and working like crazy to make it happen know that we will be working hard for the future in adding three years ahead of us.

“I’ve been very pleased to wear the WeatherTech jersey from day one. For a racer that started from nothing, it just means everything. You know how hard it is to be racing cars so it’s just a blessing.” – L.P. Dumoulin

“Pete did just an incredible job. To see what he went through, never seeing this track, not having a chance to qualify after the incident, and to watch him go through the field and get a top-10 – amazing. A Canadian driver at it’s finest. I can’t say enough. I’m excited to be apart of Pete Shepherd and his career moving forward. We have a lot of really interesting things in motorsports, but we’ll have him penciled in everything that we do.” – VRX Simulators’ Robert Stanners

“I missed my high school prom because I was in the shop, but I’d rather not be there – but it’s the easiest way to keep out of trouble. I didn’t meet my wife back then because I couldn’t find dates. I’m not a hands-on guy. That’s why I stick to the marketing side of things.

“I think that is the way the sport is going anymore. Being a diehard racer – that’s not the way to get it done anymore. The marketing is needed to get the dollars and sense to do this. I think if you work on that side first, then you worry about the wrenches because whose going to pay those guys if you don’t have it?” – Pete Shepherd

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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Ashley McCubbin

Currently the Executive Editor for Popular Speed, Ashley McCubbin also runs Short Track Musings, while handling media relations for OSCAAR. Currently living in Bradford, Ontario, she spends her weekend at the local short tracks in the area taking photos.