Kevin Lacroix had one main objective heading into last week’s race at CTMP – gain as many points as possible on Andrew Ranger.
On a beautiful August day, Lacroix accomplished his goal. After winning the pole, he grabbed the checkered flag in the TOTAL Quartz 200, picking up enough points to tie Ranger in the standings heading into Autodrome Saint-Eustache.
And now, Lacroix has home-field advantage.
Despite being a stone’s throw away from his race shop, Lacroix has yet to score a win at Autodrome Saint-Eustache. In four starts, Lacroix has two poles but his best finish is only fourth.
“It feels really good to come back,” Lacroix said. “We always seem to qualify up at the front and we always seem to be really fast there.
“The luck hasn’t been on our side in the recent years,” Lacroix added. “At some point thoough, it’s got to be out turn to finally get some luck and pull off a win.”
On the other side of the spectrum, Andrew Ranger is looking to rebound after a tire failure in CTMP resulted in a cataclysmic points loss. He managed to finish ninth, but saw his 11 point lead disappear.
“The whole tire thing was unfortunate but as a team we have to move forward,” Ranger said. “It’s going to be tough as we are going into Kevin’s home race, but we’ve won there before and been fast in the past so I think it will be a good race for us.”
Ranger has finished in the top 10 in all nine starts there, but his lone win came in 2015.
Another challenge facing the points leaders is the fact that Saint-Eustache is known as a bullring, making it a place where angry drivers choose to enact revenge.
After the post-race fireworks between Alex Tagliani and Kevin Lacroix after CTMP, there is an additional element added to the race. Plus it could be possible for either title contender to get swept up in someone else’s mess.
250 laps will feel like an eternity when a driver’s season is on the line. With the points standings so close this late in the year, every point matters and every race matters just a little more now.
Camirand Returns to the Site of Maiden win
In a race marred by yellow flags one year ago, it was a unlikely suspect taking victory. Known primarily for being a strong road course racer, Marc-Antoine Camirand would claim his first series victory at Autodrome Saint-Eustache.
Now the Saint-Leonard d’Aston, Quebec driver will look to turn his season around by going back to back at Saint-Eustache and getting back to the winner’s circle for the first time in 2019.
One More Time In Quebec
The Lucas Oil 250 also marks the final stop in Quebec for the NASCAR Pinty’s Series. The two previous races saw a pair of Dumoulin Competition drivers take the checkered. At Chaudiere, it was Raphael Lessard outlasting the rain to win in his series debut, while at GP3R it was a fairy-tale ending for LP Dumoulin winning the 50th anniversary of the race.
The Quebec drivers are 2 for 2 in their home province and have one more chance to remain perfect in 2019.
Remembering Autodrome Saint-Eustache
Autrodrome Saint-Eustache will be closing its doors at the end of 2019, an announcement made in 2017. In its nine seasons on the Pinty’s Series schedule, the track has seen five NASCAR champions win as well as two first time winners.
Four-time champion Scott Steckly won four times at Saint-Eustache, his highest track win total in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series. D.J. Kennington, Andrew Ranger, Cayden Lapcevich and Alex Labbe also have wins at the track. Two of Steckly’s wins (2008, ’13) as well as Lapcevich’s and Labbe’s all came in years they won the championship.
With over 21 years of stock car memories, it will be a bittersweet checkered flag come Saturday.