When the checkered flag falls on the season finale Pinty’s 250 Saturday at Kawartha Speedway, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series will have a first-time titlist as either L.P. Dumoulin or J.R. Fitzpatrick will take home the championship trophy.
Dumoulin enters the season-ending event with a 16-point advantage on Fitzpatrick, 418-402.
The Trois-Rivieres native and former Canadian Formula Ford 1600 series’ champion can become only the second driver from Quebec to capture the championship in series history, joining two-time titlist Andrew Ranger.
In the point-per-position scoring format that also includes bonus points for winning the race, leading a lap and leading the most laps, there are a number of combinations that would see Dumoulin crowned the champ. Simply put, however, the championship hardware would head home with Dumoulin’s No. 47 Dodge Weathertech team with a finish of 11th or better at Kawartha, a .375-mile oval in Fraserville, Ontario.
|Photo: Dumoulin Competition|
Dumoulin has posted a pair of wins and a series-high nine top-five finishes through 10 races this year. His only result outside of the top five was a sixth-place run at Nova Scotia’s Riverside International Speedway. Nothing is guaranteed at Kawartha, however, where Dumoulin has posted an average finish of 16th in three previous starts.
A two-time championship runner-up, Fitzpatrick has a tough hill to climb for his first crown. Not only does he have the 16-point deficit to overcome, but he’s not fared much better at Kawartha through the years than Dumoulin, with an average finish of 15th across seven starts. The Ayr, Ontario, native does bring plenty of momentum into the finale, however, with finishes of first and second the last two times out this year.
Dumoulin or Fitzpatrick will become just the fourth different champion since the Canadian Tire Series began competition in 2007. In the seven previous seasons, Scott Steckly has captured the title three times with two apiece from D.J. Kennington and Ranger.
|Louis-Paul Dumoulin and JR Fitzpatrick. (Photo: NASCAR)|