The NASCAR Pinty’s Series Bumper to Bumper 300 lived up to its name at Riverside International Speedway.
It was a bumper-to-bumper finish on a scorching Sunday afternoon (Aug. 20) in James River, Antigonish County, with Alex Labbe taking the checkered flag in dramatic fashion.
On the last corner of the final lap, the Victoriaville, Quebec driver executed a bump-and-run pass to overtake Kevin Lacroix, who led – sometimes by a wide margin – for the lion’s share of the race
“I went to his bumper – was patient – and waited for the right moment, and gave him a little bump,” an exhausted Labbe said, between sips of water, during a trackside interview.
“If he [Lacroix] would have been behind me, he would have been all over my back bumper for 30, 40 laps. I just gave him one bump.
“It was at the right time, so I don’t know what he is complaining about,” he added.
Lacroix, who finished second, showed his displeasure with Labbe’s strategy with actions, rather than words.
After they crossed the finish line, Lacroix sent Labbe spinning after ramming into his driver’s side door, while his own car went airborne.
When he climbed out of his vehicle, Lacroix stormed to the pits and did not participate in post-race interviews at the finish line.
“It is just a shame he did that to our car at the end of the race,” Labbe said.
The driver praised the performance of his crew.
“I can’t thank them enough – we had a very fast car again today,” Labbe said.
D.J. Kennington, who started from the pole after rain washed out qualifying drive and postponed the main race for one day, raced to third place.
“He is a great racer. You can’t do it any nicer than that,” Kennington said of Labbe and his winning strategy.
As for Lacroix’s post-race actions, he didn’t mince words.
“He wrecked him for no reason – that’s ridiculous,” Kennington added.
Mark Dilley, Andrew Ranger, Alex Tagliani, J.F Dumoulin, Adam Martin, Cayden Lapcevich and Donald Theetge rounded out the top-10 finishers.
Antigonish native Donald Chisholm, driving his Nova Construction/Keltic Ford #89, bowed out after 246 laps and finished 13th.
Chisholm, who started fourth, and was solidly in the top-six early on, could not get his car back on track after almost colliding with a competitor who spun out in front of him.
During the same race weekend at Riverside, in the Farrell’s Excavating 50 for the Maritime League of Legends, Shubenacadie’s Braden Langille took top spot, with Newfoundland’s Waylon Farrell and Adam Meehan, Rawdon Gold Mines, finishing second and third, respectively.
Meehan and Shane Lively won the legends’ heat races.
A couple of days after the Bumper to Bumper 300, officials announced NASCAR Truck champion Matt Crafton will drive in the upcoming Lucas Oil 150 for the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour.
The final race of the Riverside season is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 9.
“I want to win. I want to take the trophy home with me,” Crafton said in an Aug. 22 press release.
“We have been close at Riverside, but haven’t got it done. I’ve won the pole and led a bunch of laps but I want to go to Victory Lane.”
This Riverside appearance will be the fourth for Crafton, with the first three as a participant in the prestigious IWK 250.
“The fans are incredible,” he said.
“And Riverside is one of the nicest short tracks I’ve ever been to. It worked out that this event is an off weekend for the Truck Series, so when I found out there was a car available for me to drive I didn’t hesitate.
“I look forward to it,” Crafton added.
The native of Tulare, California will drive the #88 for the Nova Racing team, which will include veteran Donald Chisholm and rookie Braden Langille.
Crafton is the only driver in the 31-year history of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series to win back-to-back championships.
The Lucas Oil 150 is round 11 of 12 on the road to the championship for the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour.
Advance reserved and general tickets for the Lucas Oil 150 are available using the Order & Pay Online system at www.RiversideSpeedway.ca.
General admission tickets will be available at the gate on September 9.