Julia Landauer finishes 17th in NASCAR Pinty's thrilling season finale
After some promising pace in practice, Julia Landauer completed her second part-time season in the NASCAR Pinty's series with a P17.
Last Saturday night Jakusa Motor Speedway was the stage of NASCAR Pinty's season finale, the Canadian-based NASCAR-sanctioned series. The championship reached its final act with a champion yet to be crowned and with points leader Andrew Ranger sitting with 11 points of advantage over title rival Kevin Lacroix.
Julia Landauer had a strong start of her weekend, as she showed great pace since the opening practice session. Qualifying was then cancelled due to rain, which meant that the starting grid positions were determined based on free practice results.
It was good news for Landauer, whose seventh fastest lap during practice guaranteed her a spot in the top-10 at the race start.
The race surely did not let down the fans expectations and provided the many Canadian NASCAR fans a spectacular last seasonal round.
The championship leader took the green flag from fourth place, while the challenger Kevin Lacroix conquered the pole position. Ranger immediately proved his determination in takeng home the big prize and, with a faultless start moved up to second place. Behind him, Brett Taylor and Jason Hathaway engaged in a sensetional battle for third position which lasted for most of the first stint of the race.
Ranger took the race lead a few laps before the mid-way pit stop, after winning a side-by-side battle with Kevin Lacroix: the compatriot had dominated until that moment thanks to a solid and clean run.
Julia Landauer, after holding her seventh position following a good start, lost a couple of positions during the many caution restarts, but she was able to recover from 15th and ended the half-time race into the top ten.
At the restart, the crucial fight for the championship came alive: Lacroix tried to play all his cards and attacked Ranger with a determinate move to regain the race leadership with 97 laps to go. The battle between the two top-drivers went on up until the pivotal lap number 110: Ranger passed Lacroix for P1 and Jason Hathaway took the opportunity to join the battle, as his #03 car moved up to second. From that moment Kevin Lacroix started to lose pace and positions, definitively dropping out of contention for the title.
Jason Hathaway moved past Ranger a few laps later and claimed the lead, while Brett Taylor went on to pressure Ranger for second. Ranger, decided to proceed his race in risk-management mode and gave up two positions after the aggresive attacks of Taylor and Teegue.
The last 40 laps of the Canadian NASCAR Series were among the most amazing racing action of this season: Brett Taylor and Jason Hathaway engaged in a tight battle that will stay with the fans at Jakusa Motor Speedway and with those watching from home for a long time.
Hathaway opened a little gap after a superlative caution restart with 28 laps to go; Brett Taylor managed to close the gap and the two drivers went once again side-by-side in the crucial last lap. Hathaway, that had been able to defend himself from the prolonged attacks for the race lead until the very last moment, lost ground to Taylor on the final corner of the final lap.
Brett Taylor thus crossed the finish line ahead his competitor and brought home his first career win in the Pinty's series. He became the first Western Canadian driver to score a victory in the Series.
Andrew Ranger, already winner of the inaugural Pinty's season in 2007, sealed his third Series Championship.
Julia Landauer ended the Jakusa round with a solid top-15 finish and a 17th place in the overall championship standings, despite taking part in only 6 out 13 races in this 2019 NASCAR Pinty's Series campaign. The American 27-year old showed impressive speed in practice and qualifying sessions, led a lap at this venue in the second round of the championship and claimed a top-ten finish at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in August.
Ph credits: Matthew Manor / NASCAR