ANTIGONISH, Nova Scotia — When Jason Hathaway returned to the NASCAR Pinty’s Series full-time, he had one goal in mind – win.
Hathaway accomplished his goal in dramatic fashion, winning the Bumper to Bumper 300 at Riverside Int’l Speedway in a thrilling overtime finish.
For the third year in a row, Kevin Lacroix had the car to beat. He dominated the race, leading 195 laps and appearing all but untouchable. Despite the sizable lead, Hathaway and D.J. Kennington closed in lap after lap.
A pair of late race cautions set up a thrilling pair of restarts. Hathaway’s No.3 Kubota Canada/Choko Chevrolet was given the chrome horn by Lacroix once the green flag dropped for the two-lap overtime shootout.
The Appin, Ontario, driver repaid the favour in the exact same corner, this time on the white flag lap. The contact sent Lacroix up the track and into the side of Andrew Ranger.
Hathaway held on for his 10th career win and first since the 2016 season finale at Kawartha Speedway.
“That was really crazy. I wasn’t even sure we were going to get the lead, Kevin was really good,” said Hathaway. “It was a battle, Lacroix got into the back of me in turn three and four and I paid him back in one and two. I was expecting it and I’m sure he was expecting it too.”
“It’s a good way to get a win,” continued Hathaway. “Ed Hakonson’s 70th birthday; car owner and father-in-law, so I gotta keep him happy.”
Kennington led 20 laps and managed to sneak through the last lap wreck for a runner-up finish. The two-time champion had two prior wins at Riverside and was in position for a third until losing the lead Hathaway on lap 289. The No.17 Castrol Edge team would celebrate their second podium in five races.
“The restarts were really crazy. One way to sum it up, it sucks if you were on the outside, you just couldn’t get a run,” said Kennington. “We’re looking better every week, we’re knocking on the door and we’ll get back to Victory Lane by the end of this season, I’m sure.”
The last lap fracas enabled Alex Tagliani to score a surprise podium finish, in third. The Rona/EpiPen team found themselves stuck in the pack during the final restart. The contact between Lacroix and Hathaway enabled Tagliani to sneak through and bring his relatively clean No.18 home for his third podium of the season.
L.P. Dumoulin’s race was eventful to say the least. After suffering a mechanical problem just before the halftime break, Dumoulin fought back for a fourth-place finish. Alex Labbe, who also suffered mechanical issues, rounded out the top five.
Jason Hathaway, D.J. Kennington, Alex Tagliani, L.P. Dumoulin, Alex Labbe, Kevin Lacroix, Andrew Ranger, Mark Dilley, Donald Chisholm, Marc-Antoine Camirand, Brandon White, Brett Taylor, Donald Theetge, Kerry Micks.