Posted on 02 December 2014.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 1, 2014) – L.P. Dumoulin’s racing career came to a crossroads. If he wanted it to continue, he had a choice to make. Six years after he decided on a new direction, he’s reached the pinnacle of stock car racing in his native Canada.
On Sept. 20, 2014 at Ontario’s Kawartha Speedway, Dumoulin hoisted the massive trophy emblazoned with “National Champion” that is annually bestowed to the titlist of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1.
Dumoulin grew up in a racing family. His father was a racer. His brother is a racer. It’s what they do. But when it became more and more of a challenge to sustain his career in sports car road racing due to a challenging environment for sponsorships, he decided to make the move to NASCAR and the Canadian Tire Series.
“We’ve always been involved in racing,” Dumoulin said. “We have the love and the passion for it, but we had to find sponsorship (to continue competing). I knew that NASCAR was a big family. They take care of their drivers and their teams, they have a good marketing plan and good TV coverage.
“I knew that if I wanted to make a living out of racing, I needed to go towards the type of racing that will give you a good support base to get some sponsorship. That’s why I went toward NASCAR.”
The Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, native made the decision to go to NASCAR in 2008. Dumoulin and his brother, J.F. Dumoulin, attained equipment and started a team they dubbed Dumoulin Competition.
Dumoulin knew right away that he had made the right decision with the new endeavor.
“Coming from Formula cars and road course racing, as I got into NASCAR I realized how much fun it was and how much involvement you needed to get with these cars,” Dumoulin said.
Dumoulin stuck to what he knew – road course racing – in his first Canadian Tire Series appearances in 2009 and 2010 before running two-thirds of the schedule in 2011. He finished sixth in points in his first full season of 2012.
“We’ve worked really hard to bring the cars up front,” Dumoulin said. “The competition is very high-level in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, the drivers are awesome, the teams are very professional, and that’s why we thought it was the right way to go.”
The effort really started to pay dividends in 2013 when he won both Canadian Tire Series events at Ontario’s famed Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, his first checkered flags in the series.
“The main reason I kept going in racing was to win races and win championships,” Dumoulin said. “That’s why we do it. I love racing, but I otherwise could do some low level racing if winning didn’t matter. I’ve always wanted to be up front with top teams, top cars and top drivers.”
Dumoulin then made another career decision. In the offseason prior to 2014, he moved his team’s affiliation from the Ontario-based 22 Racing – a nine hour drive from his Trois-Rivieres home – to nearby King Autosport in Quebec.
“The team is based much closer to my place, so I was able to go there more often,” Dumoulin said. “I’ve always been very hands-on with my cars my whole career. To be close to the team this year – with my boys and with my cars – everything moving the same way this year helped out a lot.”
Yet another choice that proved to be successful. Dumoulin registered a pair of wins – including his first oval track triumph – and finished outside the top five just twice en route to the 2014 championship.
With a background of road racing success, Dumoulin needed to enhance his ability and skills in the discipline of oval racing to become a championship contender. In 2014 he won at Saskatoon’s Auto Clearing Motor Speedway and finished in the top five in five of seven circle track events. The two oval races in which he didn’t finish top-five included a pre-race engine change at Nova Scotia’s Riverside International Speedway where he rallied from the rear at the start to finish sixth, and the finale at Kawartha where he admits to being overly cautious with the championship in the balance.
“To win on the oval was one thing, but to get multiple podiums on the ovals really got me thinking that I had a chance at the championship,” Dumoulin said. “Staying up front on the ovals as well as the road courses really made it possible.
“The last race I just got really careful and cautious about not making any mistakes, but being top five all year on the ovals in addition to the road courses brought the confidence level really high.”
With race wins and a championship in hand in the Canadian Tire Series, Dumoulin is very interested in branching out in NASCAR, specifically in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.
“I would really like to do some XFINITY Series races on road courses, and even ovals, but I want to do it the right way with a good team,” Dumoulin said.
Despite his rise in the Canadian Tire Series, Dumoulin has not completely walked away from sports car racing. The 35-year-old continues to serve as a private Porsche and Ferrari driving coach. He also winters in Florida with his wife, where he is active in the offseason at the Daytona International Speedway and Sebring International Raceway circuits.
But as far as his No. 47 WeatherTech Canada/Bellemare Dodge efforts in the Canadian Tire Series are concerned, Dumoulin is all-in to repeat as champion in 2015.
“We’ve worked really hard to make this happen, and we’re not ready to give it up,” Dumoulin said. “We’re ready to keep it going and get more championships.”
Dumoulin’s accomplishments will be recognized at the NASCAR Touring Series Awards on Dec. 13 in the Charlotte (North Carolina) Convention Center at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
CHAMPION CAR OWNER: Marc-Andre Bergeron
Pucks in the winter and race cars in the summer. This is the life of Marc-Andre Bergeron.
An 11-year veteran of the National Hockey League, Bergeron now plays in the Swiss-A League for the Zurich Lions in Switzerland, where he won his first professional hockey championship during the 2013-14 season. He’s also the 2014 championship car owner for L.P. Dumoulin in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1.
One might ask how those two worlds intersected. The answer is: the city of Trois-Rivieres, Quebec.
Bergeron is a native of the riverside city in central Quebec, as is Dumoulin. They did not grow up knowing each other, but a series of connections and encounters brought them together.
Bergeron’s hockey agent, Paul Corbeil, is acquainted with Dumoulin and his brother, J.F. Dumoulin, also a racer. Bergeron met the Dumoulins on various occasions around Trois-Rivieres for karting events and Ferrari driving experiences. Bergeron quickly caught the racing bug.
“It really hooked me,” Bergeron said. “Instead of just watching, I decided I wanted to drive myself as well, so that’s how I got involved with the Dumoulins.”
In addition to getting behind the wheel himself, Bergeron joined the Dumoulin’s racing organization, Dumoulin Competition, as a co-owner. He also added a personal touch to the team, bestowing his longtime hockey jersey No. 47 to Dumoulin’s stock cars.
Although Bergeron says his connection to auto racing is first and foremost as a competitor and team owner – he also races part-time in the Canadian Touring Car Championship – he has a great interest and appreciation for NASCAR competition, from the Canadian Tire Series in which he’s involved, to the U.S.-based national series.
“I’m a pretty big fan, I’ve been to a few races (in the United States),” Bergeron said. “My first experience going to Daytona [International Speedway], I was actually at the 2012 Daytona 500 when the jet dryer exploded, so that was memorable.”
“I watch a lot of the races. I’m a NASCAR fan all the way around.”
Although he is officially the owner of the No. 47 WeatherTech Canada/Bellemare Dodge that Dumoulin drove to the title, Bergeron gives credit for the championship season to Dumoulin’s King Autosport team and its primary owner, Martin Roy.
Bergeron was able to take in a handful of Canadian Tire Series race in 2014 and support Dumoulin en route to the championship.
“I’m very happy for L.P., he worked hard,” Bergeron said.
CHAMPION CREW CHIEF: Mario Gosselin
A championship driver in his own right, Mario Gosselin has joined an elite group of stock car racers that have become title-winning crew chiefs.
In 2014 Gosselin led L.P. Dumoulin and the No. 47 WeatherTech Canada/Bellemare Dodge team to the championship of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1.
Gosselin, originally from Sainte-Marie, Quebec, moved to Florida nearly three decades ago and launched his career as a driver in various late model, super late model and stock car touring series. He won multiple championships under the Hooters banner in late models and pro cup.
Gosselin’s career behind the wheel took him to the top levels of NASCAR. He made 47 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts between 2008-12 and even has three NASCAR Nationwide Series and a pair of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts to his credit.
Outside the occasional spot starts, Gosselin has transitioned to a primary role of crew chief in recent seasons to continue his career in racing. After building cars for Canadian Tire Series driver Martin Roy in 2011, Gosselin joined as the full-time crew chief in 2012.
When Dumoulin brought his No. 47 team to Roy’s King Autosport team for 2014, Gosselin joined forces with Dumoulin for the first time as professionals after many years as friends.
“I had talked with him a lot before, and we knew at one point we would work together,” Dumoulin said. “He’s a friend as well as a partner. Mario is a big key in why things work well. He’s been there and done that. He’s a very good driver, but he’s also a very good crew chief as well.”
Expectations were elevated for the team right from the start.
“The mindset going in was top fives every week,” Gosselin said. “That would put us in a position to contend for a championship. We ended up real close to that.”
Gosselin counts the team’s dominant winning performance in front of Dumoulin’s hometown crowd in the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres as the moment he felt that the championship was within their grasp. There were trials along the way, however, and Gosselin credits his driver and crew members with staying the course and accomplishing the goal.
“With any championship, all of the elements have to come together,” Gosselin said. “Every season you’re going to have some days that are tough and you have to stay focused and make good days out of those bad days. L.P. was able to do that.
“We were fortunate. We had a good crew, good spotters, and we were able to keep our heads down and keep working to meet our goal of a championship.”
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