Known primarily as an oval racer, Jason Hathaway would avoid the chaos in the final laps to score the victory in the Pinty’s Presents the Clarington 200 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
“(It’s) pretty exciting,” Hathaway commented post-race. “We probably had a fifth place car by the time things shook out but keep track position and was able to see the front and get a couple of late cautions to give ourselves a shot at winning.”
Pole sitter Andrew Ranger would lead laps early in the event, though through the middle, road course veterans Alex Tagliani and Jeff Lapcevich would both make their way to the front. It looked as though the pair would settle it for the win when the caution would fly with 14 laps to go when Matthew Scannell blew up while running third, with a pair of cars spinning in the fluid.
The restart would come with 10 laps to go, setting up the battle between Tagliani and Lapcevich. Lapcevich grabbed the advantage through one, but Tagliani was able to keep close, making door-to-door contact with Lapcevich in turn three. The result would be Tagliani snatching the lead while Lapcevich fell back to fourth behind L.P. Dumoulin and Hathaway.
Dumoulin would then grab the lead the next lap, but Tagliani remained right on his bumper in search of a way by. Though as the battle started to heat up, the caution would once again, this time with eight laps to go, for an incident between Alex Labbe and Gary Klutt down the backstretch. The incident was caused by contact between Klutt and Spencer Gallagher, leaving Labbe nowhere to go.
Dumoulin would then choose the outside of the restart as that is the preferred line through the turn one-right hand corner. This would place Tagliani on the inside, right in front of Lapcevich who had worked his way by Hathaway. Lapcevich took advantage of the positioning on the restart, getting into Tagliani in turn one, causing Tagliani to go out wide and drop back a couple spots.
Meanwhile, Dumoulin would make a slight mistake off of turn two, which opened the door just enough for Hathaway in turn three to snatch the lead.
“L.P just didn’t get the run off of turn two there, and I got a good run off there – it’s been a good corner for me all day – and just capitalized on it,” Hathaway commented.
The driver of the No. 3 Fast Eddie Racewear/Mustoka Aircraft Center/HGC Chevrolet would then lead the rest of the way en route to scoring the victory.
“I knew it was going to get exciting up there when Tag was there – it always is,” he added. “It’s great for my car owner, Fast Eddie and everybody involved on the team.”
Beyond being his first road course victory, it helps his chances at possibly scoring his first career series championship, closing the gap from 19 to nine points behind Scott Steckly with just one race remaining.
Dumoulin would cross the finish line in second, which marked an impressive run for the defending series champion after having to start the race from the tail of the field due to changing the engine.
“At one point we were leading the race with the WeatherTech/Bellamare car and hoping for a win. But, if you look at what happened yesterday and the hardwork from the team at King Autosport to put that car back together – changing the engine – they did their job and we had a solid car today,” he commented post-race. “I thought I slowed the car enough for corner two and still, I rolled too much RPM and got wide there, and Jason took advantage of it. After that, it was a fair fight with Jeff Lapcevich and his Tim Hortons car and we had fun out there.
“Of course, it tastes a little sour to finish second, but if you look at what happened, we’re proud of it and it’s good for my team and WeatherTech and Bellamare.”
Lapcevich would finish third to complete the podium, calling the day eventful after seeing his shot at victory vanish in the closing laps in what he is calling the last start of his Canadian Tire Series career.
“I think we had a really good car,” Lapcevich commented. “We led a bunch of laps and I was disappointed to see that caution come out. I knew it was coming but it sucked that it came out. Unfortunately, it got a little rough out there on the restart and we got pushed out of the groove. It could’ve been a lot worse, but we got a podium out of it. Disappointing in that regard.
“I really feel it’s the one that got away from me. We’ve been good here before, but never could win before. It’s a little hard too take.”
D.J. Kennington would finish fourth after having to also start at the rear for an engine change, followed by J.F. Dumoulin. Andrew Ranger finished sixth after leading the most laps, followed by Steckly. Tagliani, Cayden Lapcevich and Kerry Micks. Cayden started the race from the rear of the field after missing qualifying yesterday due to running a Super Stock at Sunset Speedway in Innisfil, Ontario.
Kevin Lacroix, who picked up a pair of road course wins earlier this year, saw his day come to an end as a result of clutch issues. Marc-Antoine Camirand, who finished on the podium last year, also finished deep in the field after spending time behind the wall fixing a mechanical issue.