Alex Tagliani did not have the kind of day he was hoping for in the opening round of the 2019 NASCAR Pinty's Series held at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP). Disappointing, was the word that came to mind when he crossed the finish line in 11th place, 10 seconds back of race winner Kevin Lacroix. The Montreal native had a day full of ups and downs in Sunday's Clarington 200, running among the leaders at the start of the race after qualifying third on Saturday.
A race contact in the last corner of lap 3 on the 3.957-km famed Ontario road course sent Tag into the pits with a right rear shredded tire and causing him to rejoin the field in 23rd and last place. But, he fought back to lead the race on lap 17 of 51 when the leaders pitted to change their General Tire rubbers. The Team 22 Racing #18 Chevrolet EpiPen-RONA/St Hubert led for the next eight laps but since Tag was off sequence with the leaders, he now had to choose the moment to pit. He did at the start of lap 36, but just as the track was going green.
"This is not the kind of situation we were looking for to start the 2019 championship hunt," said Tagliani, "but in the end, it could have been much worse with everything that went wrong today. In the opening laps, I was involved in a racing incident that shredded my right rear tire that tore parts of the body of my Chevrolet Camaro on my way to the pits. We made a few stops to repair the damage and I finally rejoined the field in last place, but still on the leader's lap.
Twenty-three cars started the Clarington 200 with 20 cars running at the finish, all on the lead lap. The race was under full course caution five times for a total of 23 laps. There were six lead changes among five drivers; Tagliani led eight laps.
The Clarington 200, the opening round of the 2019 NASCAR Pinty's Series, will air on TSN on Saturday, May 25 at 11:30 p.m. ET.
The APC 200, round 2 of the 2019 NASCAR Pinty's Series will be held June 1 at 8 p.m. at Jukasa Motor Speedway oval track located in Hagersville, near Hamilton, Ontario.
In the Drivers Championship, Tagliani is 14 points behind the leader. In nine NASCAR Pinty's start at CTMP, Tagliani has a pole, one win, three top-five and four top-ten finishes. In 72 NASCAR Pinty's starts, Tag has collected nine poles, won 8 times, finished 30 times in the Top-5 and 48 times in the Top-10.