CARS Late Model Stock Tour
It's CARS Tour Throwback Weekend at Hickory
Jul 28, 2022
It was a newsworthy Wednesday for the NASCAR Pinty’s Series with a potentially championship altering penalty to two contenders in the morning all before a doubleheader won by veterans to close out the night in Saskatoon.
First, the penalties:
Several teams had drawn the scrutiny from NASCAR over the past month and were told to make changes to the rear suspension prior to last weekend’s race at Edmonton International Raceway. NASCAR refused the championship leading No. 96 of Marc-Antoine Camirand in inspection on Saturday until it made changes.
Then, the No. 96 was found to have an unapproved muffler following its victory at Edmonton and received the following penalty:
20.E.9.2.G- Exhaust pipes must have mufflers at designated tracks that will be noted on the Official Entry Blank for that Event. Only Kooks (part number R300-14) mufflers will be permitted. The mufflers must remain as supplied from the approved NASCAR supplier.
Penalty: Loss of 12 NASCAR PInty’s Series Championship Driver and Owner Points;
Camirand went from leading the standings to falling to 10 back of Kevin Lacroix before the doubleheader at Sutherland Automotive Speedway even began, but he wasn’t the only veteran who placed himself in a deficit.
Alex Tagliani was involved in what looked like a pretty standard short track incident with Brandon Watson early in the race at Edmonton but received pretty significant damage. Tagliani spent the remainder of the race running off the pace and pretty obviously intentionally crashed Watson from inside the top-five in the final laps.
Thus, Tagliani was also hit with a 12-point championship penalty:
12.8.1 Member Conduct Guidelines
C-4. Intentionally wrecking another vehicle, whether or not that vehicle is removed from Competition as a result.
Penalty: Loss of 12 NASCAR PInty’s Series Championship Driver Points; Probation through Dec 31, 2022
That, then set up a pair of races that were ultimately won by a pair of veterans in DJ Kennington and Tagliani himself.
The first race was the more chaotic of the two, featuring several multi-car melees and crashes that sent several cars to their backups, including Tagliani and Lecroix. But the finish was a showcase of veteran respect as Kennington and Andrew Ranger raced side-by-side during a green-white-checkers to decide race one.
For Kennington, it was his 24 Pinty's Series win in 182 starts to go alongside seven CASCAR Super Series starts from 1998-2006 before that tour was absorbed by NASCAR. Kennington is the ironman of Canadian national Stock Car races having made every start in the Super Series and Pinty's Series since 1998.
It was also his first victory of the season and one that ultimately propels him in the mix to win a third championship at 44 years old. He was also complementary of Ranger.
"We’ve knocked on the door a couple times this year with podium finishes but it’s nice to get that first win," Kennington said. "I had a couple of really good battles during the race and on that last restart with the #27 car, we raced each other hard but fair."
Then came race two, where Tagliani took the lead from Ranger early and held him on in a fairly procedural race to win for the first time this season as well. It followed a rough first race where Tagliani took damage and survived to a seventh place finish after crashing out of Edmonton.
"I can overlook the fact that the entire 22 Racing team worked so hard on the 18 car after Edmonton because the car was so heavily damaged," Tagliani said. "So, I bought the guys a good dinner, but I can tell you it took a lot of creativity, resources and effort to get this car so competitive. A big thank you to them and to leave the western swing with a win is the best way to say thank you."
That’s to say nothing of the penalty for taking out Watson. After winning Race 2, those are 12 points he might want back.
So all told, Wednesday dramatically changed the course of the Pinty’s Series championship between penalties to Camirand and Tagliani, and the middling performances by Kevin Lacroix and Camirand in the two races.
Meanwhile, LP Dumoulin survived to finishes of eight and third and is suddenly back in the mix as he always is this year even after losing crew chief Robin McCluskey to Camirand during the offseason.
POINTS BEFORE WEDNESDAY
POINTS AFTER WEDNESDAY
Five races remain: The Grand Prix on the Streets of Trois-Rivières on August 7, the first ever since dirt race at Ohsweken Speedway on August 16, a race on a de facto tarmac at Circuit ICAR on August 27, Mosport on September 4 and the finale on the short track at Delware Speedway on September 25.