FRASERVILLE, Ont., Canada — By Jason Christley, NASCAR — Matthew Manor/NASCAR photo — JR Fitzpatrick is putting the pressure on LP Dumoulin.
Fitzpatrick won his 16th career pole award in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 Saturday in qualifying for Saturday evening’s Pinty’s 250.
Fitzpatrick enters the race trailing Dumoulin, the championship points leader, by 16 heading into the season finale. Dumoulin qualified 15th. He needs to finish 11th or better to secure the title if Fitzpatrick wins the race and leads the most laps.
The pole gave Fitzpatrick sole possession of the most career poles, breaking a tie he had been in with Andrew Ranger. Fitzpatrick, who won the pole at Kawartha in 2012, became the first driver to win the pole twice at the .375-mile oval.
Fitzpatrick’s fast lap in the No. 84 Equipment Express/Autism Speaks Chevrolet was 17.726 (76.159). Ranger was second fastest at 17.741 (76.095), followed by Scott Steckly at 17.777 (75.941).
Alex Tagliani and Steve Mathews were fourth and fifth, respectively.
Anthony Simone qualified sixth, followoed by Joey McColm, James White, Mark Dilley and Donald Chisholm.
Dumoulin’s top time was 18.144 (74.405).
Green flag for the Pinty’s 250 is scheduled for 5 pm ET.