NASCAR Pinty's Series

JIM BRAY: People Don’t Realize Talent in Pinty’s Series

While everybody knows the NASCAR ranks are full of talent, the Pinty’s Series may just be the most underrated on the home track divisions.

Known as Canada’s premiere racing series, it travels coast to coast throughout the summer, putting on exciting events across the province.

While most of the series are made up are primarily ovals and a couple of road courses, this series is different with seven ovals and five road courses on the docket. The racing has also been close through the years, with plenty of last lap passes being made. The one that many fans still talk about Alex Labbe vs. Cayden Lapcevich, with nine passes in the final 15 laps.

The talent pool of drivers is made up of a bit of the best. Road courses masters Alex Tagliani and Andrew Ranger, find themselves up against short-track standouts like Jason Hathaway and DJ Kennington. Then you throw in the young talent of Labbe, Lapcevich, Gary Klutt and Kevin Lacroix, it’s a combination that can only equal success.

The talent is something team owners recognize, such as Jim Bray, as he made mention of a recent phone call from Daytona Beach, Florida, during the Motorama Custom Car and Motorsports Expo.

“People don’t realize how diverse our series is or how talented the drivers are,” he recalled. “I had a call from a top official in Daytona this week who has a development driver and is looking for rentals for the ovals and wondered if he could give him my phone number. He said, ‘He’s going to run some Pinty’s races, and then move up to K&N next year.’ I said, ‘I beg your pardon? If he’s going from our series to K&N, he would be moving down performance wise.’”

Bray was cited drivers, like Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular Ty Dillon and Daytona Truck Series winner Kaz Grala, who ran in the series in top-tier equipment, posting mid-pack finishes.

“Believe me, competition wise, there’s been cup drivers and a lot of great drivers that have come to our series and thought they’d be great, and they were okay,” he continued. “People in Daytona need to open their eyes.”

Part of the problem has been the TV package which shows races a week later, as well as drivers finding it difficult at times to find marketing partners. 2016 Champion Lapcevich found himself finding sponsorship last minute at times last year to make it to the events.

However, there’s been a recent sign of hope in that regard as Tagliani announced at the show that he’d be sponsored by Lowe’s Canada for this season. The good news for one driver has others hopeful they can find success, as well.

“It’s great to see new sponsorships come on board as they’re what make the sport work,” Kennington said. “Unless you’re really wealthy, you’re not going anywhere without one of those. It’s great to see and hope more jump on board. Alex will do a great job with that as he’s a good sponsorship ambassador, and hopefully, it grows into even more and possibly helps Scott get back behind the wheel. I mean, we need some of these guys back that aren’t able to race right now due to sponsorship.

“I hope we’re on the right track, and I know everybody including NASCAR are working hard to make sure that we are. Hopefully, it’s all turning around.”

Bray is also confident, hoping it’ll help increase the car count this season.

“I think it makes it much easier for teams in the west and east that want to make deals to get sponsorship,” Bray said. “Lowe’s coming on gives them so much credibility in talking about who they are talking about, and boasts the series – DJ running the 500, too.”

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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