Derek White Motorsports
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Série NASCAR Canadian Tire – Velocity Prairie 250
Marc-Antoine Camirand 5th in his best race yet this year
Saskatoon (SK), July 16, 2015 – Marc-Antoine Camirand finished a fighting 5th in the Velocity Prairie 250, run on the quick Auto Clearing Motor Speedway oval, near Saskatoon, the second race of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series (NCaTS) western tour. This was a repeat of the result of the previous race held at Edmonton last weekend. The double performance is testimony to the rise in experience and performance of both the rookie NCaTS driver and the White Motorsports-Grafoid-Braille Battery team.
Camirand confirmed the improvement: "We now arrive at the track with a competitive car right from the start. Crew Chief Robin McCluskey and the whole team work incredibly hard and effectively at the shop and at the track to give us the car we need to win. As a team, we are learning and improving quickly and the whole team is super motivated."
The car was quick and steady right from the first practice session, when it could go for 15 to 20 laps within a tenth of a second on used tires. Camirand was not happy with 14thposition in qualifying, even if he was just 0.3sec slower than pole position: "In qualifying, the more experienced drivers are really good at finding a better line and working with the colder tires. I need to get much better for these two-lap qualifying sessions. Starting at the back like I did here forces me to use more brakes and tires to get back to the front. This leaves me with less resource for the end of the race, when it really counts."
At the start, Camirand put his head down and started to move up from his 7th row starting spot. "I was patient as I had 250 laps to get the job done." He reached second place on lap 186, right behind eventual winner Scott Steckly, and fighting with the quickest drivers in the series: Andrew Ranger, LP Dumoulin, Alex Tagliani and Jason Hathaway.
The battle for the lead amongst five drivers was intense but clean. "The race was a long one, and I took my time working my way back to the front. That left me with good brakes and tires for the last part of the race, when I think I had the quickest car in the lead group. On the other hand, I kept messing up the restarts (There were 9), losing two or three spots each time and forcing me to claw my way back every time. Unfortunately, the last restart with 5 laps to go did not leave me with enough time to get back up to the leaders. I need to get much better at this quickly."
The team did get some good luck at the end of the race as the drive belt for the power steering and water pump broke with three laps to go. A Camirand put it: "The engine was overheating. Three more laps and it would have blown. But it didn't and we ended up 5th!"
Camirand then added that "We are all learning every time out, and we all look forward to coming back home for the races at St-Eustache and Trois-Rivières."