Shantel Kalika eager to return to Pinty’s Series this season
Shantel Kalika wants to be known for more than just being a female driver in the Pinty’s Series and she’s ready to continue her quest in Canada’s only national NASCAR Touring Series.
The former Wyant Group Raceway 2016 Pro Truck and 2018 Sportsman champion debuted with the series last July in the doubleheader at her home track and also at nearby Edmonton (Alberta) International Raceway. She will return to compete in those events later this year as well as adding the season finale at Jukasa Motor Speedway.
“I’m very proud of what my team accomplished last season,” said Kalika. “Coming off of three solid finishes in 2018, I look forward to seeing what we can do in 2019. It takes hard work, determination and having the right people behind you to get to this level and my family has always supported me, but I also wouldn’t be able to do this without all the sponsors who have and continue to support me.
“For us, we are out of the “mainstream” being in Saskatchewan and it is a bit harder to get our foot in the door, but we are getting there.”
Kalika and her family-owned team are open to competing in the series full-time if partnership can be secured with sponsors due to the amount of travel that would be required to compete in all 13 races. However, she has obtained support for her four-race schedule with cars prepared by Busch Racing.
“I can’t thank AGI makers of Batco, Westfield and Westeel, Jay Summers Service Centre, Mayeda Motorsports and many others enough for coming on board with us to help us continue to grow our NASCAR Pinty’s Series program,” said Kalika.
“Everyone in the sport knows that part of a successful program is the combination of a dedicated driver, team and partners and fortunately for everyone associated with Busch Racing we’re off to a great start again this season.”
Canada’s Best Race Team returns
It’s been a busy offseason for Canada’s Best Race Team (CBRT) General Manager Joey McColm. After moving operations into a new shop, bringing in new partners and driver in series veteran Anthony Simone.
Simone will join reigning Pinty’s Series Rookie of the Year Brett Taylor on the team during the 2019 campaign.
“We couldn’t be happier to join Team Mopar,” said McColm who will also act as crew chief for Simone. “We’ve monitored the development of this engine for the last several years, the performance is there, it’s a proven winner. DJK Racing will be preparing the motors so when the opportunity came to be part of the family we jumped at it.”
The addition Simone is another reason for CBRT fans to be excited about the upcoming campaign according to McColm.
“Anthony is the complete package as a driver,” stated McColm. “He’s able to get the job done on road and street courses plus ovals. He’s had some impressive showings in the Prototype series and we’re thrilled to have him join our group.”
After making positive strides last season the CBRT group are more determined than ever to keep the momentum going in 2019.
“Moving to the new shop where Wight Motorsports can prepare our cars, the new motor program and having Anthony with us all adds up to a winning combination,” said McColm.
Raphaël Lessard to make Pinty’s Series debut
Lessard will compete in his first Pinty’s Series race when the series visits Autodrome Chaudière for the Pinty’s 300 on June 29. The track, located in Vallée-Jonction, Quebec, will host the series’ third race of the season.
This event represents a return to his racing roots as Lessard started racing at the track at the age of 11 in 2013. His No. 04 race car will be prepared by the team of series reigning Dumoulin Competition with sponsorship from Louis Jacques Investment Company Ltd.
"I'm so happy to be returning to my home track this year to Autodrome Chaudière,” said Lessard, who has been racing almost exclusively in the U.S. for the last three seasons.
"This is the first track I've ever driven on and it still is one of my favourites. I am really grateful to all the people who are working to make this all happen, and especially to Mr. Louis Jacques.”
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