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Stock car racer Cayden Lapcevich, the youngest national racing champion in Canadian history, has been named the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame's Rising Star Award winner for 2017.
Lapcevich, of Grimsby, Ont., became the youngest ever NASCAR national champion when he took home the 2016 NASCAR Pinty’s Series Canadian stock car championship at the age of 16 years, 10 months and 16 days.
“I'd like to be able to say that young Cayden Lapcevich is a future champion in our sport, but he beat me to it,” said CMHF chairman Dr. Hugh Scully.
“The first driver to win a NASCAR Pinty's Series championship and be the Josten's Rookie of the Year in the same season is certainly a deserving recipient of the CMHF Rising Star Award. I get the feeling Cayden will likely be back in about 20 years or so to be inducted into the CHMF.”
Lapcevich followed his championship success by being selected to be part of the prestigious NASCAR Next program for 2017-2018, designed to help young drivers develop professional skills to grow their marketability.
Lapcevich has five wins and 16 top-5 finishes in 28 NASCAR Pinty's Series starts since 2015. He joined the series full-time in 2016, racing on a shoestring budget and often not knowing if he had the funding to continue from weekend to weekend.
The 16-year-old shook off all the pressure and made his mark by showing incredible speed and poise to capture the Pinty's Series title as a rookie. Driving as his team raised funds to keep his season going, Lapcevich took three wins, one pole, and nine top-fives, and was the only driver to finish in the top-10 in all 12 races. He took the 2016 title by 54 points, a margin of more than a race win.
The now 17-year-old just completed his sophomore NASCAR Pinty’s season; he is third overall in points with two wins and six top-five finishes in 12 starts heading into Saturday's finale at Jukasa Motor Speedway.
Lapcevich will receive the CMHF Rising Star Award during the 23rd CMHF Induction Ceremonies at the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.'s Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto on Oct. 14.
The CMHF's class of 2017 announced earlier this year will also be inducted on Oct. 14: Builders Dr. Jacques Bouchard, Dr. Ronald Denis, Chris Pfaff, and Sid Priddle and competitors Terry Dale, Peter Lockhart, Dave Mathers, Major-General Lewis McKenzie (retired), and John Powell. The 2017 inductee in the International Category is the Legendary Motorcar Company.