EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a continuing series of off-season profiles on NASCAR Pinty’s Series drivers as a lead-up to the 2018 opener at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Sunday, May. 20.
Alex Gallacher: What sparked your interest in racing in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series?
Marc-Antoine Camirand: Well in 2014 I had a chance to race in the Sportsman series and the winner of that race won a chance to race in the Canadian Tire Series at the time. I won the race in Sportsman and I got to race in NASCAR the next day and at that time I knew that I wanted to race in that series for a couple more years.
AG: You race in the #22 made famous by Scott Steckly, do you feel any pressure racing with such a historic number?
MA: Well first it’s a big honour to race for 22 Racing and Scott Steckly and to race the 22 number means a lot but puts a little bit more pressure on me maybe, to keep up the tradition of winning some championships and races.
AG: What was it like growing up in Saint- Léonard- d’Aston, and what was the racing scene like?
MA: Well, Saint- Léonard is a very small town, there’s only about a thousand people living around here. I started doing some go-karts around the shop of my dad, as my dad owned a mechanic shop and I started from there. On that time when I started racing go-karts, we were racing in a parking lot of a shopping mall so it was kind of different that most people are used to.
AG: Who was your biggest influence growing up?
MA: Greg Moore definitely, he was in the Players development when I was there and he was a very gentleman guy and I enjoyed watching him race in Indycar.
AG: What is your favourite Pinty’s Series track to race at and why?
MA: I will say GP3R, I live only about three minutes from the circuit. When I was younger during the night sometimes I would do some laps over there. Also, I like to drive on the street circuits because there is no room for mistakes.
AG: You have a very strong partnership with GM Paille. How did that partnership start?
MA: It started in 2016 at GP3R, he was sponsoring me only for that race and I did pretty well so after that I was in contact with Jean-Claude Paille the owner of the GM dealer and we started from there. Last year I did four races with them and this year they decided to go full-time and I’m very proud to represent the GM dealer and also the Chevy brand.
AG: You’ve raced all over the place in all sorts of different cars. How do Pinty’s Stock cars compare to other cars you’ve raced?
MA: I started my racing career with the formula cars and I’m mostly a road course driver. It’s hard to compare those things because the 1600 car is a lot lighter than the NASCARs and over the years when I started to do NASCAR I had to change my driving style because the NASCARs are a lot heavier cars to drive than the formula cars.
AG: 2018 marks your first full time season since 2015. How much does it mean to you to finally be back racing full-time? What are more most looking forward to in 2018?
MA: I’m really happy to be back full-time in 2018, it’s always fun to compete in the whole schedule and go for the championship. With the package we have right now, I got a good sponsor, one of the best teams in the series and we want the championship. I know this is a competitive series but I know I got everything to go for a championship for sure.
AG: How long have you been interested in racing and how did you become a fan?
MA: Well I’ve been a fan for easily over 25 years, my dad has been in racing not on the driver’s side but more for preparation and preparing the car for someone else. I was involved in racing at a young age following him on the circuit, that’s how a became a fan right there when I was around 6 or 7 years old.
AG: If you could race against any driver living or dead, who would it be and why?
MA: Ayrton Senna. I grew up watching him in Formula 1 and I do love his driving style and the passion he brings to the sports.
AG: If you could race on any racetrack, anywhere in the world which track would it be?
MA: Monaco because it’s a prestigious track and also because it’s a street circuit which is like Trois-Rivières a little bit which is my track.
AG: Do you follow any other sports besides racing?
MA: Yeah of course, I like to follow hockey during the winter and baseball and golf during the summer.
AG: When you’re not racing, what are your hobbies?
MA: During the winter I like to play hockey, I play like twice a week. I like doing some snowmobiling also. During the summer when I’m not racing, I play golf and baseball and play with my kids a little bit as well.
AG: What has been your favourite racing memory over the course of your career?
MA: 1997 because I won the championship in Formula 1600 and it was kind of a battle with the family because my dad was preparing the car and was a mechanic and that year I became the youngest champion ever in that series.
AG: What makes racing in NASCAR so special?
MA: NASCAR Pinty’s Series is the highest series in Canada right now and racing against the best drivers like (Andrew) Ranger, Tag (Alex Tagliani), (D.J) Kennington and being able to compete against those guys is pretty special to me.
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