With three wins and 12 top-10’s in 13 races, L.P. Dumoulin was able to take home his second career NASCAR Pinty’s Series Championship. POPULAR SPEED recently caught up with the Quebec driver to get his thoughts on the accomplishments.
POPULAR SPEED: What are your thoughts on the championship?
L.P. DUMOULIN: It’s just awesome. It’s been a really good year for us, and we’re super proud of it, and I mean it’s the second championship with WeatherTech. We signed a three-year contract in July during the Toronto Grand Prix and we win the championship the same year so it’s a great way to celebrate the three year contract.
PS: The season didn’t come easy by any stretch. Starting off the finale in 19th, what was going through your mind at that time?
LP: You win as a team and you lose a team. We had some problems during qualifying. We started the pressure too low for qualifying that you usually use for the race, so we had a misunderstanding with that tire pressure so it slowed the qualification lap down a lot itself, but as well it gets the car too low so you can’t go through tech with that. So that’s why we had to start dead last.
Having that said, I knew we had a good car to fight up front so at that point, I was like, ‘Let’s work our way back up and see what’s going to happen’. As I told a lot of people, the championship was a big fight with the 18 (Alex Tagliani), but within the top-six or seven in the championship, there was a lot of fighting. It wasn’t just about me and the 18; there were a lot of people on track fighting, so we had to deal with all those guys. So I mean, starting dead last was one thing, but I thought let’s be fast and smart, and be there for the end of the race.
Tagliani, at one point, I saw he didn’t have the speed and we had the speed, so I thought we were in good shape to fight with this guy and that’s what we did. At one point actually, my car was fast enough to finish on the podium, so I give it to my team for giving me a car to fight with. So one point I saw Tagliani was in trouble and I had the car to finish on the podium, but all I had to do was manage the race and finish in front of him and that’s what I did and got the big trophy.
PS: What was the biggest highlight for you?
LP: All the wins for sure. I think the western trip knowing we had a strong oval car and we were in good shape to win races was probably the biggest highlight. Every weekend we showed up, whether road courses or ovals, we knew we were capable of being steady on the podium and steady contending for the win. Once we went to Saskatoon and Edmonton, we came to Trois Rivieres leading the championship knowing we were strong on both ends and that made me feel pretty confident.
PS: One of the landmark moments were the New Hampshire race. What are your thoughts in seeing the series head south of the border for the first time?
LP: I loved it. I mean, my car wasn’t fast. We weren’t fast enough over there, but I loved it. It’s great to go to Loudon and I wish we keep going there every year. Being a road course guy, as well, I wish we could go to Watkins Glen as well. We could do something like that in having one road course, one oval as that’d be awesome. Who knows what’s going to happen in the future, but I’m very happy about it. It’s a fast track. My car was loose there, and I had a big fight with Tagliani and it was clean, and it was fun.
PS: The relationship between you and crew chief Robin McCluskey seems to be right on point. Describe that to me.
LP: That’s one big think about the championship. Robin 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.
PS: You mentioned the extension earlier this season with WeatherTech. What does it mean in having their support?
LP: It means the world to us. We’ve done seven seasons together with myself, Dumoulin Competition, Bellevue, and WeatherTech and we’ve got two championships. It means the world for me, but the team as well. All those guys that work on the car all year round, but it’s fun for them and their family to know that there’s three years ahead of them. You know in racing that it’s hard to get sponsorship and it’s hard to have long run partnerships.
It’s really cool, and again it means the world for me. We’ve been doing that forever, and we’ve worked really hard to be there; it’s just proud of the relationship that I have with WeatherTech and I. I always wanted it to be a win-win relationship; they have to get something out of it, and I think WeatherTech has proved that you can get a good fall back with the investment on the car.
PS: Two-time champion in the Pinty’s Series as you mentioned. But is there a chance in seeing you drive a truck or an XFINITY car one day?
LP: I mean, yes, I would like to do it, but I would like to do it with a good car and a good team. I’ve been talking with Mario Gosselin and we’ve looked at a couple possibilities of doing something together on a road course. We’ll see how it goes, maybe it’ll happen, maybe next year, but nothing is done yet. There’s no talking right now, but yes, I would like to do it for sure.
PS: The Pinty’s Series has so many positives right now. But what is one change you feel they can make to improve the series even more?
LP: I don’t know. It’s a tough one. I’m very happy with what we’ve got right now. There’s a couple things we could do on the cars, but they always try to keep it as low cost as possible so everybody can afford it. As long as we keep going to nice tracks with a good show going, I think it’s going to be great. The cost is what always keep the good racers away. I would like to go to Mount Tremblant, as well, but again very happy with what we’ve got. The schedule this past season was awesome.
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