By: Ashley McCubbin
After going through a transition season last year in getting used to his new crew chief, there’s no shying away from the excitement that L.P. Dumoulin has for the upcoming NASCAR Pinty’s Series season. He recently spoke with NEWS FROM THE PITS about his thoughts, and more.
What are your thoughts as we look forward to the 2023 NASCAR Pinty’s Series season?
Oh I’m really looking forward to it. I can’t wait to get going again. We have a lot of good things happening on the team right now and it’s very positive for next season. It was a lot of work done on the cars to improve the speed over the winter, and then it was a lot of other good things going on as well.
We have a car now on the Glory Road in the (NASCAR) Hall of Fame for the 75th anniversary of NASCAR. We worked on that after last season, but there are a lot of good things happening on the team over the winter and that really builds some good momentum for the 2023 season.
It has to be a big honor for you to be apart of the Glory Road as it’s neat to see someone from up our way recognized by NASCAR for the Hall of Fame.
Oh yeah. It’s just amazing. The feeling to see your car there among all the legends and all the top names in the NASCAR industry. It’s just amazing to be chosen to be there and it’s a big deal for us, our sponsors, and our partners and the people that have been helping us forever. It means the world for us. The car is one thing, but the big picture is another thing.
When you stop and just process the thought of having your car there and where we’re from and where we started, and now being there, it’s epic. It’s one thing to win races, it’s one thing to win championships, but this is the pinnacle I guess. It is amazing.
You had some solid runs last season, but certainly with the fact that you’re a past champion, it probably wasn’t the year that you were looking for. So what’s it going to take to being a regular championship threat that we’re used to?
I don’t know if it’s the curse of the championship, but last season was really tough. I mean, we had to change a lot of stuff in the shop. My crew chief (Benoit Laganiere), it was his first year being a crew chief because the crew chief I had before that was Robin McCluskey and he went to another team. So we had to get that going. Honestly, this past year was – yes, the final result on the chart about the championship doesn’t show all the positives that were around the team the whole season. We had a lot of speed at a lot of tracks, and then had some serious bad luck, serious crashes that we got involved in with some shitty situations.
Obviously, that hurts on the points. So you learn from that and for me, nothing is different in my head for 2022. It’s just we’re still right there, we were up front, leading laps, on the pole, done a lot of good stuff during the season, but we had some stuff to learn and work as a team. We had some new people on the team, as well, and in my book, it’s part of the team. It’s a very competitive series so you cannot have bad luck more than two times – sometimes two times is too much – for that type of racing.
We had Newfoundland (Eastbound Speedway) – a bad crash for us, and then after that, what happened at Trois-Rivieres was a bad situation; we were leading the race there and you know, a couple other things here and there. Then here you are out of the point standings. For me, we’re just moving forward. We’re going for a championship and ready to win races.
I know each year you have Trois-Rivieres circled as the track that you’re most excited for. So what’s the second most favourite track for you on the schedule?
The most exciting one, or the one that I really want to knock off? There’s one race that I want to do in front of my sponsors, and that’s the Toronto Grand Prix (Exhibition Place on the same weekend at the Honda Indy). We’ve done well there. We’ve finished on the podium, top-five many times, and my sponsors are from – obviously, WeatherTech is based in Chicago, but the main office / headquarters in Canada is in Toronto – in Burlington. It’s a home race for WeatherTech so I really want to get that one done from that point of view. I have a good feeling that we’re getting closer each year, so I want to win that race a ton.
And you know what? I want to redeem myself in Newfoundland. There’s a couple races that I want to win. It’s really hard to say which one that you want to win the most because you want to win them all so bad. Let’s put it that way – I really want to win Toronto Grand Prix in front of them on their home turf.
I gotta say, that’s always got to be a big event every year for the drivers because it’s one of the big events that you can have a lot of sponsor executives there. There’s also a new twist on the schedule this year, as Ohsweken Speedway is now two races instead of a single race. Does that change your strategy going into that week, or is nothing changed as we go into year two on dirt?
Yes, and no. I mean, it does change the strategy, but on the other end, it’s racing. You have to be up front, you have to do well. So strategy wise, I like the dirt – we didn’t do well on dirt last year. I think we were really off on the set-up there on the dirt and we’ve learned a lot since then. We’ve worked with people that have been helping us for a long time, and we think we have a better set-up for the dirt. To be honest, that’s not going to change my strategy. We have to be up front. We have to do well everywhere we go and improve.
I know there’s good dirt drivers out there. I respect that, but on the other end, I have to be up front and do my own job as well. Now, the other thing for us, as a team, it just brings a lot of work and a lot of – we need another car. It’s another oval car that we run for that dirt race. It just brings a lot of work around it, but that’s more on the team part – well, let’s put it more on the manager part when I put that on. On the other end, as a driver, I like it. It should be fun to see.
You’ve been racing a long time now. What continues to drive that passion to continue to do this as you head into another season of racing?
I don’t know. It’s the only thing I know. Honestly, it’s just as a kid, we didn’t have the money to do karting or go up the ladder like other drivers. We’ve worked our way up. We’ve worked really hard in the racing industry and I don’t know. I feel blessed to have WeatherTech and all of my sponsors with me and I feel blessed to have the people around me that have been helping since day one, and I just want to do well.
I want to keep proving that they were right to get involved with me and that is one thing. As well, I love it. I just love it. I love the competition. I love the challenge. I love the preparation behind it. It’s a lot of work but I like that, too. It’s a big challenge. It’s hard and when it’s hard like that, you want to do well, and it gets really additive. That’s what we do. Then you wake up, eat it, dream it, and just keep doing it. For me, I want to keep doing it as long as I can.
One of the neat things that I find is how you speak of WeatherTech and they’ve been with you like a long time ago, like 10 years, dating back to your first career Pinty’s Series win at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
Yes. They’ve been with me since 2012, so 11 years now. First of all, the way it happened and the way we started working together with the leaders at WeatherTech with David MacNeil, Tony Page – it was a bit of surreal story. It was just too good to be true at the beginning. I was like, “Wow, this is huge, having WeatherTech full-time for the full season,” and the way things happened at the beginning. They knew I was very serious about my career and wanted to represent well. Yes, as a driver, but making sure it’s a win-win deal with my sponsors.
They super quickly realized we were a great team as well on the marketing and business side and we wanted to make sure that WeatherTech not only putting their name on the racecar, but you win on the Sunday, sell on the Monday. That’s a big deal. It has to be a win-win deal, and that’s what I want to keep every year I go racing. I want to represent well. I want to keep them up front and they don’t have any doubt that they put their money on the right guy.
As you look back at your first career series win, what stands out from that for you?
Wow. That first win was amazing. I was waiting for that for a long time. It relates to the fact that I always want to do well, compete up front with the best drivers, with the best teams, and wanted to show that I was able to win within the most competitive series and people. So it was not just one win in a low competition series. It was a top deal for me, and it was just showing WeatherTech here you are. The first year, we didn’t pull anything, but the second year, we win the race. I think it was the right way to show them that they were on the right path with me. It was huge. It was a big deal.
I want more wins. I’ve done a lot of wins, a lot of top-five’s -65 I think in all the races that I’ve done so far. I want more wins, but at the same time, when you go for the win all the time, sometimes you risk more and it hurts you in the championship. So there’s always that in-between that you have to work with to go get championships and for me, that’s a big deal to get the trophy at the end of the year.
I’m working on more wins and championships now.
Categories: ashley asks...., Feature, Interview, NASCAR Pinty's Series, NASCAR Roots
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