DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Sunday will mark the 45th running of the prestigious Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres, a history that the Dumoulin family has long shared with the city and the famed street circuit.
Trois-Rivieres natives Louis-Philippe and Jean-Francois Dumoulin will take the green flag Sunday in the JuliaWine.com Le 50 Tours NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 race 43 years after their father, Richard, did the same for the first time during the 1971 event.
L.P. and J.F. are the second generation of Dumoulin racing brothers. Similar to this being the 45th running of the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres, the Dumoulin family is celebrating 45 years of racing, as Richard started in 1969. Their uncle, Gerald, has also raced alongside Richard, and both continue to race today in Formula 1600.
The Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres – or GP3R for short – is not only a premiere annual festival in the city nestled along the Saint-Laurent River, it is one of the most-anticipated dates on the Canadian Tire Series schedule. The uniqueness of the temporary circuit through the streets of Trois-Rivieres, combined with tremendous fans support from Quebec, creates a high level of interest from Canadian racers.
Perhaps no competitors in the field on Sunday will be more motivated than Trois-Rivieres residents L.P. and J.F. Not only do they desire to perform well in front of the home crowd, but L.P. enters the race as the championship points leader on a run of four-consecutive podium finishes.
“Every year we want to be as good as possible,” L.P. Dumoulin said. “Our team is from Trois-Rivieres, we are proud and bound to our Grand Prix. There is always a lot of action and we are very busy. We have the support of everyone and we want to celebrate this when we race. A podium at the GP3R would be fantastic.”
For J.F., who runs a partial Canadian Tire Series schedule of road course events, Sunday’s JuliaWine.com Le 50 Tours will be more about the enjoyment of racing than anything else. He has participated in the GP3R for nearly two decades across a number of different racing series.
“I love driving in the streets of Trois-Rivieres city all these years, I am always looking forward to seeing everyone,” J.F. Dumoulin said. “I am proud to be part of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series again, especially as it is most prestigious to compete in at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres.
“Above all, through all these years of participation in the GP3R, the most important thing is the 19 years where partners, media, fans, friends, and family stayed with us and continued to give us their support. It is for them that I proudly race in our hometown.”
Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres festivities get underway on Thursday. The Canadian Tire Series loads in on Friday for inspection day and on-track activities will begin for the series with practice and qualifying on Saturday.
The Race: The JuliaWine.com Le 50 Tours will be the seventh of 11 events on the 2014 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 schedule, and the final of four dates in the province of Quebec.
The Procedure: The maximum starting field is 34 cars, including provisionals. The first 29 cars will have secured starting positions through NASCAR Road Race style group qualifying and the remaining five spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 50 laps (76.5 miles/123 kilometers). At 50 laps, this is the longest scheduled distance in the eight-year history of the race.
The Track: The temporary street course of Circuit de Trois-Rivieres is an 11-turn, 1.53-mile circuit. In Trois-Rivieres – differing from many road course tracks – the cars race in a counter-clockwise motion as on oval tracks. The track’s trademark is the Porte Duplessis, a narrow concrete gateway the cars pass through in Turn 3.
The History: The Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres (GP3R) began in 1967 while racing-passionate members of the Club Autosport Mauricien decided to organize a race in the streets of the city. Inspired by the Monaco race, Mr. Jean E. Ryan, Leon Dufour and Yves Girard, plus a committee of about thirty people, organized the event that has now become a unique event in North America. It is the oldest street course in North America and this year is the 45th edition of the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres.
Pole Winners: The first seven Trois-Rivieres races have produced four different pole winners. Alex Tagliani set the series’ track qualifying record a year ago at 67.080 seconds (82.111 mph).
Race Winners: Andrew Ranger has won four of the seven all-time Canadian Tire Series events in Trois-Rivieres, including three in a row from 2008-10. D.J. Kennington is the defending race winner.
Trois-Rivieres Race Notes:
Villeneuve Returns for GP3R: A former Formula One competitor and veteran of 20 NASCAR national series starts, Jacques Villeneuve will look to make his first NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 appearance of the season in the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres (GP3R). Villeneuve finished third in this event a year ago, his best result in three career series starts. He also finished fourth there in 2009.
NASCAR Debut for Gittin: Formula Drift Series superstar Vaughn Gittin Jr. will attempt to make his NASCAR debut in the JulinWine.com Le 50 Tours. A native of Maryland, Gittin is entered in the No. 9 Monster Energy Drink Ford of Micks Motorsports. Gittin, who was named Formula Drift’s “Ace Driver of the Decade” in 2013, is a three-time World Drift Series champion and the only American to win a D1 Grand Prix event.
Ranger Dominant at GP3R: Quebec native Andrew Ranger has about as perfect of a record as one can have at Trois-Rivieres. The road course ace has won four of the seven all-time Canadian Tire Series races on the 1.53-mile street circuit, and finished second in the other three races. Ranger has led 83 of 306 all-time event laps, a rate better than one out of every four contested.
Steckly Back Up Front: Reigning Canadian Tire Series champion Scott Steckly has exhibited championship form the last two times out. On July 16 at Saskatoon’s Auto Clearing Motor Speedway he captured the pole and led 153 laps on his way to a third place finish, then last time out he led 202 circuits en route to a dominant victory at Quebec’s Autodrome St-Eustache. He’s now up to a season-best fourth place in the standings. This week at Circuit de Trois-Rivieres the 16-time race winner will vie for his first career road course checkered flag.
Kennington Looks to Defend Win, End Drought: D.J. Kennington will look to defend his 2013 win at Circuit de Trois-Rivieres, and in the process end a 10-race winless drought. The winningest driver in Canadian Tire Series history, Kennington’s most-recent victory came in last year’s Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. The 10-race drought is tied for the second-longest of his career, exceeded only by a 16-race span from 2007-09, and matched by a 10-race stretch in 2009.
Last Time Out: St-Eustache
The sixth race of the 2014 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 was contested on July 26 at Quebec’s Autodrome St-Eustache. Here are some highlights from the National 250:
• Reigning series champion Scott Steckly defended his St-Eustache victory in dominant fashion. The veteran led a career-high-tying 202 laps en route to his fourth victory in six all-time St-Eustache events.
• Alex Guenette ran second to Steckly at St-Eustache for the second year in a row to match his career-best finish.
• Points leader L.P. Dumoulin crossed the line third for his fourth straight podium finish.
• Alex Labbe captured his first career pole prior to the event, but suffered a failure in the suspension midway through the race.
Next Time Out: Riverside
Following the JuliaWine.com Le 50 Tours, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 will return to action on Aug. 16 with the Wilson Equipment 300 at Riverside International Speedway in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. The Canadian Tire Series has visited the high-banked .333-mile oval each year since 2007. Jason Hathaway is the defending race winner.
– NASCAR IMC press release. Photo credit: Matthew Manor/NASCAR