It was a challenging event for Thomas Nepveu at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park this weekend as he attempted to complete his first NASCAR Pinty's road course race commanding the #24 Evirum | Pétrole Bélanger | Home Hardware Nepveu machine.
It was a new track for Nepveu, who had never raced at the iconic Ontario facility, sometimes called Mosport. "I was looking forward to racing on this track," said Thomas. "I had tested there a few weeks ago, and I was confident we would have a good race.
Thomas was helped by Alex Labbé this weekend, as the veteran and 2017 NASCAR Pinty's champion was tasked with spotting the young rookie.
The event went differently than planned, as inclement weather brought an early end to Saturday's activities. With the qualifying session cancelled and the 2022 championship points used to build the starting grid, drivers had the option of taking to the track late in the day for practice. However, most teams closed shop instead, not wanting to take an unnecessary risk, and such was the case for the Jacombs Racing crew.
Not having competed in 2022, Thomas started 19th, at the back of the grid, in Sunday morning's race. From the start, Thomas wasted no time and began making his way toward the pointier end of the field. However, at the beginning of the second lap, a competitor used Thomas' car to make a turn. This dangerous maneuver resulted in a flat right front tire, which sent the young driver into the outside wall in turn two.
"I have to say I'm not happy about this situation," said Thomas. "We had a great race ahead of us, and if that competitor had been patient, we could have gone up the field together. He ruined my race before it even started.
Nepveu was forced to retire, leaving valuable championship points on the table. The next event will be held at Autodrome Chaudière in Vallée-Jonction. This is a familiar oval for Thomas, who tested there last fall.
Thomas Nepveu PR