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Car FYI’s Revved Up Weekend Review: July 30-August 1, 2021

Photo Credit: Stellantis


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NASCAR Pinty’s Series: Frontline Workers 125


A hard-hit 2021 for Canadian motorsport fans, the Canadian Grand Prix, Honda Indy Toronto as well as the IMSA race and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park have been cancelled to better facilitate the country’s battle against COVID-19. NASCAR’s only national series in Canada, the Pinty’s Series postponed the start of their stock car racing season from its initial May 23rd opener. The end result is a crowded stock car racing schedule where 11 races will take place in a 9-week span starting with a twin-race at 0.333-mile Sunset Speedway in Innisfil, Ontario. On August 1st, the thrilling roar of V-8 engines brought motorsport life to the short oval and to the country as the NASCAR Pinty’s Series ran the Frontline Workers 125.


Though the start of the race was pushed later due to rain, the show went on at Sunset Speedway. Peter Shepherd took the pole for the season opening event that attracted a field of 18 cars. As the green flag fell, Shepherd’s #7 APC Chevrolet Camaro battled fellow front row starter Treyten Lapcevich and the rookie’s #20 RGC Sports/Qwick Wick Chevy for the top spot through the early stages of the 125-lap distance. The duel between the two drivers for the lead ended on lap 85 when the #20 car spun after contact heading into turn one. Lapcevich would finish the race in ninth place.


Of the eight cautions that slowed the Frontline Workers 125, the first was for a very brief rain shower and the last came with a battle for the lead. In a late-race skirmish resulting from a restart after a recent caution, Peter Shepherd fought with former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Raphael Lessard. Driving the #80 Chevrolet for Wight Motorsports Inc., Lessard would take the lead on lap 107. Shepherd continued to retake the front spot but late-race contact between the #80 car and #7 car resulted with the APC Chevrolet spinning out.


Raphael Lessard went on the win the season-opening round for the 2021 NASCAR Pinty’s Series winning the first-ever event for David Wight’s team. Andrew Ranger (running his first race with a Rick Ware-owned Dodge Challenger), Alex Tagliani, Kevin Lacroix and rookie Shae Gemmell rounded out the top five. With the conclusion of the first race of the season, the Canadian stock car drivers and teams had no time to decompress as the General Tire 125 immediately followed the Frontline Workers 125.


NASCAR Pinty’s Series: General Tire 125



The second of two races for the opening weekend of the 2021 NASCAR Pinty’s Series meant any glory and disappointment of the first 125-lap event could be short-lived for competitors.


The General Tire 125 at Sunset Speedway started with Andrew Ranger on pole alongside the winner of the first race Raphael Lessard. Ranger’s Dodge led the first lap of the race but Lessard promptly stepped forward to take the position.


Just like the Frontline Workers 125, the General Tire 125 featured a fair share of caution laps. Of the race’s 125 laps, 41 were spent under six caution periods. Peter Shepherd, Treyten Lapcevich, T.J. Rinomato and Marc-Antoine Camirand were among the drivers attached to some of those yellow flags. Andrew Ranger’s chances at victory in the second NASCAR Pinty’s Series of the season were dashed by a broken front suspension on his #51 Dodge concluding with a 16th place finish in the event.


At the chequered flag following an overtime that pushed the lap count to 130, Raphael Lessard crossed the line first to sweep the doubleheader at Sunset Speedway. Unlike the previous race, the #80 Chevrolet spent almost the entire event at the front leading 126 laps. Finishing behind the St.-Joseph de Beauce, Quebec native in the runner-up spot was D.J. Kennington’s #17 Dodge. L.P. Dumoulin, Treyten Lapcevich and Brett Taylor rounded out the top-five of the General Tire 125.


NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series: Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals Presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com


Originally slated on the NHRA schedule for early April but postponed due to health-related restrictions due to COVID-19 at the time, the NHRA’s Winternationals on the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona was held in the middle of summer. An event with 60 years of drag racing history behind it, the 2021 Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals Presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com proved to be a very hot affair with the heat affecting the outcome one of the main events of the weekend.


In Top Fuel, an anticipated final round between the Mopar Dodge dragster of Leah Pruett and 2020 NHRA Rookie of the Year award winner Justin Ashley concluded before pre-match tire burn outs. Ashley, suffering from heat exhaustion, withdrew from competition leaving Pruett with a bye run to take the overall victory in the class. In the uncontested run, Pruett posted a leisurely 4.021-second ET and top speed of 247.61 miles per hour to take her first win of the 2021 season.


Another NHRA star also scored their first win of the season in the Funny Car category. After defeating John Force in the semifinal elimination round with stunning 4.158-second ET and 300.06-mile per hour top speed on the hot asphalt, Ron Capps moved to the finals with opponent J.R. Todd. While Todd had the reaction time advantage in his DHL Toyota Camry, Capps pressed his NAPA Auto Part Dodge Charger down the drag strip to victory with a 4.151-second ET. The final round victory is Ron Capp’s 67th career NHRA win shared between Top Fuel and Funny categories.


The Pro Stock action at the 2021 Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals Presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com featured some of the tightest competition through the elimination rounds on Sunday. In the semifinal match between Aaron Stanfield and Erica Enders, the margin of victory was only 0.006 seconds for Stanfield. For the finals in the class, 60-year-old Greg Anderson’s Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro faced 26-year-old Stanfield and his Camaro. This match was won at the starting tree as the younger driver shot away with a 0.016-second reaction time compared to Anderson’s 0.042-second time. The Winternational’s crown is Aaron Stanfield’s second consecutive win in NHRA Pro Stock.


The 2021 edition of the Winternationals served as monumental one for the Pro Stock Motorcycles being the first time the two-wheeled category would participate in the event. Taking the historic first pro stock motorcycle trophy at the NHRA Winternationals was four-time class champion Matt Smith. The rider of the Denso/Stockseth Racing Buell took the final round win after beating the Suzuki of Angelle Sampey with a superior reaction time and an ET of 6.828 seconds.

 


W Series: Flag-To-Flag Win For Jamie Chadwick


As the W Series arrives for the 2021 season’s fourth round in Hungary, Jamie Chadwick and Alice Powell have shown themselves to be the primary championship contenders. Even as the season started off slow for Chadwick at the opening race at the Red Bull Ring, the 24-year-old 2019 W Series champion would win from pole in the next event and take third at the Silverstone Circuit round.


Jamie Chadwick took pole for the W Series’ Hungaroring race driving her #55 Veloce Racing vehicle to a 1-minute, 42.735-second session best time in qualifying. Chadwick drove brilliantly throughout the 30-minute plus one lap event leading every lap following a great launch at the start. The green #55 car crossed the finish line with an interval of more than 10.3 seconds ahead of the second place machine.


As Jamie Chadwick maximized the amount of points for the drivers’s championship, Alice Powell loses the point lead but her second place finish on the Hungarian track keeps her within a point of Chadwick. Nerea Marti of Spain crossed the finish line in third place followed by Irina Sidorkova and Beitske Visser.


Two of the most compelling on-track battles for position late in the event were for sixth place as well as twelfth place. Japan’s Miki Koyama spiritedly fought to take the twelfth place from Abbie Eaton while the #7 car of Emma Kimilainen defended the sixth place spot from Marta Garcia’s charging #19 car during the dying minutes of the race.

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