ST. EUSTACHE, Que. – Sometimes a driver needs a good car and a good call by his crew chief to win a race.
Cayden Lapcevich got that and more Saturday (Sept. 0) at Autodrome St. Eustache to win the Lucas Oil 250. The 16-year-old’s third win of the season also moved the Grimsby, Ont., driver one step closer to winning the 2016 NASCAR Pinty’s Series championship.
The rookie was the last driver to pit for tires on Lap 213 and that decision by his dad and crew chief Jeff Lapcevich paid off.
The younger Lapcevich restarted seventh and quickly moved up through the field and took the lead on Lap 241.
After contact between Jason Hathaway and Alex Labbe in Turn 3 brought out the caution flag to set up the green-white-checkered finish, Lapcevich held off veteran D.J. Kennington and Mark Dilley to the checkered flag.
With the victory and Andrew Ranger’s eighth-place finish, Lapcevich will carry a 41-point lead over Ranger entering the season finale at Ontario’s Kawartha Speedway next weekend. Lapcevich can become the youngest series champion in the history of NASCAR series by starting the race at Kawartha.
While Lapcevich ended up celebrating in Victory Lane, it appeared during the second half of the race either Kennington or Dilley would end long winless droughts and celebrate a win.
Kennington, a two-time series champion who hasn’t won since 2013, led a race-high 90 laps and appeared to be the car to beat before the late cautions. Dilley, who last won in 2011, led 24 laps and finished third. Adam Martin fourth and Alex Tagliani rounded out the top five.
Larry Jackson, Gary Klutt, Ranger, Labbe and Hathaway completed the top 10.
Labbe started on the pole after rain washed out qualifying and the field was set per the rulebook. Labbe and Kevin Lacroix traded the lead during the first 57 laps of the race.
Kennington passed Labbe for the lead on Lap 57 and Labbe retook the lead before rain brought out the red flag on Lap 62 for nearly an hour.
Once the race resumed, Labbe led until Dilley passed him for the top spot on Lap 108.
The Lucas Oil 250 will air TSN, Sunday, Sept. 18, at 1 p.m. ET, and also on RDS, Friday, Oct. 14, at 8 p.m. ET.
The Kawartha 250 will complete the 2016 season for the NASCAR Pinty’s Series on Saturday, Sept. 17.