Entering Friday’s Tiffany Gate Grand Prix of Toronto, the eighth NASCAR Pinty’s Series event at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario, only three drivers had ever scored a victory on the 1.755-mile street course.
So, in reality, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to learn that Alex Tagliani, Andrew Ranger, and Kevin Lacroix all played a major factor in deciding the outcome of Friday’s sixth event of the 2023 Pinty’s Series season.
The race’s eventual winner, Alex Tagliani, started Friday’s 35-lap contest from the pole position, after posting a blistering lap in qualifying with his No. 18 NTN Chevrolet Camaro for Scott Steckly’s 22 Racing.
Tagliani, now a six-time winner on street courses in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series – just one behind the all-time leader – led pretty much the entire race, only relinquishing the top spot to the outside polesitter Andrew Ranger under the race’s second caution.
Though on the restart, Tagliani would immediately make his way back around Ranger and regain control of the event. But, just because he was in control, didn’t necessarily mean he was comfortable.
For most of the event, it was Ranger hounding his rear bumper, making sure that the Montreal, Quebec native didn’t make a single mistake en route to his 12th career victory in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series.
However, after Ranger began to fade, Tagliani’s main challenge became Kevin Lacroix, a driver known for his prowess on the street courses, and even more so known for his aggressive nature.
For much of the race’s final run, Lacroix was the fastest driver on the track, and quickly destroyed the one-second advantage that Tagliani was able to build, and by the race’s final five laps, was able to amp the pressure up to extreme levels.
Being a seasoned road racing veteran, Tagliani didn’t crack, keeping both Lacroix and an extremely quick Marc-Antoine Camirand behind him, in order to capture his first NASCAR Pinty’s Series win of 2023.
Kevin Lacroix came home in the runner-up position, a season-high finish for the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge, but also continued a streak of five top-five results in the Pinty’s Series, which leaves him second in points leaving Toronto.
Marc-Antoine Camirand finished in third place, after competing without crew chief Robin McCluskey, who was suspended due to a penalty from Autodrome Chaudiere. Camirand started Friday’s event 18th, after failing to post a time in qualifying.
LP Dumoulin finished the race in fourth, while Andrew Ranger had faded to fifth place by the time the checkered flag had fallen, ending a horrendous streak of finishes for the multi-time champion.
Treyten Lapcevich finished in sixth, retaining a significant lead in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series point standings as the series approaches its halfway mark. JP Bergeron finished a career-best-matching seventh place, while Alex Guenette, DJ Kennington, and Matthew Scannell completed the top-10.
Leaving Toronto, the NASCAR Pinty’s Series will head to Edmonton for the series’ next event on Saturday, July 22. After five of 14 events, Treyten Lapcevich holds a 19-point advantage on Kevin Lacroix. MA Camirand sits third in points, 30 behind, while LP Dumoulin and Alex Guenette round out the top-five.