The NASCAR series makes its debut Tuesday night when its drivers compete on a dirt track.
Twenty-three participants have confirmed their attendance at this historic event, which will be held on the Ohsweken Native Reserve, approximately forty kilometers southwest of Hamilton, Ontario.
In addition to the pilots who are dedicated full-time to the Canadian series, some big names in the specialty converged there for the tempting $25,000 prize money awarded to the winner.
Among them we find Stewart Friesen, who is considered one of the serious contenders for victory, even if he has never driven a car from the Pinty’s series. A native of Niagara-on-the-Lake, he has been a full-time competitor in the Camping World Truck Series since 2018 and one of his three wins (from 133 starts) came in 2019 at the dirt track of Eldora, Ohio.
Friesen has turned this underground into a veritable playground where he can compete in up to five races a week despite his busy schedule. He also has the advantage of knowing the Ohsweken circuit.
Also making the journey are two distinguished guests and fellow clay court specialists, Christopher Bell, full-time NASCAR Cup driver, and 67-year veteran Ken Schrader, who ended a 29-year NASCAR Cup career.
Among the nine Quebecers present at Ohsweken, Raphaël Lessard wants to use his experience on clay to join the favourites.
The driver from Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce excelled in the 2021 NASCAR pickup series on this surface in Bristol, Tennessee, finishing third.
“It’s an advantage to have raced on clay, Lessard said, but it’s still a big challenge. To be competitive you have to find the right way. During the course of the event, the conditions of the track will change. »
It’s a race into the unknown for the pilots, as most have virtually no experience on this type of road.
“It’s good for visibility,” said Marc-Antoine Camirand. I don’t think we can keep up with Friesen and Bell, but we regular drivers are all in the same boat. »
The same story by Louis-Philippe Dumoulin.
“We want to prove that we can compete with the best and the presence of these renowned drivers will increase the profile of the series,” he said. We’re in a race for the championship, so the first thing we have to think about is collecting valuable points. »
An observant spectator, Dominic Lussier, co-owner of Autodrome Granby, will make the journey to Ohsweken. “We’ve been in discussions with NASCAR since 2015 to host a Pinty’s Series race on clay,” he said. If the experience proves successful, the file could move forward over the next few months. We live in hope for next year. »