St-Eustache: Series round three preview

Ranger On The Move In 2010 It certainly wasn't what he had in mind last September after winning his second NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 title in three seasons, but crisscrossing two countries this summer may provide the ...

Ranger On The Move In 2010

It certainly wasn't what he had in mind last September after winning his second NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 title in three seasons, but crisscrossing two countries this summer may provide the break Andrew Ranger seeks.

Just as the 23-year-old from Roxton Pond, Que., was accepting the trophy for last year's championship campaign, Ranger's longtime sponsorship program with Walmart and Tide was disintegrating, leaving the talented wheelman's future in limbo.

"I thought everything was good," said Ranger. "It was going great, but business is business, I guess."

While his management team was scrambling looking for a new deal in Canada, seemingly out of nowhere came an offer from NASCAR K&N Pro Series East car owner Robert Torriere to take the reins of his Waste Management-sponsored Chevrolet after he had decided to replace Derek Ramstrom two races into the season.

His series debut at Iowa Speedway was less than impressive, but he rebounded for a fifth-place effort at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway which set the stage for an outing at California's Infineon Raceway on June 19, a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West event. He out-dueled two-time Infineon winner Jason Bowles and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular David Gilliland for his first victory on U.S. soil.

The Infineon event was in conjunction with the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visit to Northern California which is an opportunity for up-and-coming drivers to showcase their talents for the power brokers in the sport. Having already turned in strong showings in Montreal in both NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Canadian Tire Series cars, Ranger just competed at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where he finished ninth, and will get further chances to impress top NASCAR teams in Montreal and at Dover International Speedway in Delaware later in the season.

"To do well in those races in front of those people is very important to me," Ranger said. "I just need someone to give me a chance. That's all I can ask for."

Committed to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule, Ranger still wants to participate in as many NASCAR Canadian Tire Series events as possible, despite not being able to compete for another championship, already having missed a race.

"I like racing in Canada. It's home. I like all the tracks and the fans," he said. "So, I will do as many races as I can."

Saturday, July 3, will be an interesting day for Ranger. He will race at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn., in the afternoon, then try to make his way to Autodrome St. Eustache (Que.), his adopted home track, for the National 250.

"If it all goes well, it will work, but it's going to be tight."

It's an opportunity for an unprecedented multi-national doubleheader sweep.

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Fast Facts

The Race: National 250
The Place: Autodrome St. Eustache (Que.)

The Date: Saturday, July 3
The Time: 8:05 p.m. ET

The Distance: 250 laps / 100 miles
Race Purse: $81,450 CAD

TV Schedule: TSN, July 10, 11:30 a.m. ET

2009 Winner: Dave Whitlock
2009 Polesitter: Scott Steckly

Schedule: Practice 1-2 p.m.; Qualifying 4:45 p.m.

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White Bursts Onto Scene

Just prior to the 2009 season opener at Autodrome St. Eustache, many in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 garage area were wondering who Derek White was.

Coming out of relative obscurity, the driver out of Kahnawake, Que., not only made his NASCAR Canadian Tire Series debut last season, but also logged his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start last October at Martinsville Speedway. He also made a second start later in the season at Phoenix International Raceway. And they were not locked-in starting positions on points; he had to race his way into the show.

Between the two series, White made seven starts in 2009 with a season-best finish of 11th in his NASCAR Canadian Tire Series debut event.

This year, however, White is set to participate in all the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series events on the schedule and run for Rookie of the Year honors, for which he is still eligible.

After just two races this year, the experience in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is showing through as he and his team are operating at a higher level.

After the first two races of the year, White currently occupies the 10th spot in the championship points standings, and is just 17 points out of the fifth position.

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ASE News & Notes

The Race: This event is the third of 13 races on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 schedule and the second of eight oval-track events. It is the fourth visit to the track for the series.

The Procedure: The starting field is 22 cars, including provisionals. The first 19 cars will be determined from two-lap time trials. The remaining three spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 250 laps (100 miles).

The Track: The Autodrome St. Eustache racing complex, located northwest of Montreal, consists of a .4-mile flat oval, a 1.7-kilometer road course and a .125-mile drag strip. There is also a karting track on the premises. The track was founded in 1965 as Fury Speedway de Fabreville, and the current configuration has been hosting various types of racing since 1970. The track was purchased by Alan Labrosse prior to the 2008 race season.

The Records: The one-lap qualifying record for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series at the track is 17.210 seconds (83.672 mph), set by DJ Kennington on July 12, 2009. The 250-lap race record is held by Scott Steckly at 1 hour, 52 minutes, 11 seconds, established on July 5, 2008.

Last Time In St. Eustache: There were two visits to the track a year ago. In the season opener, Dave Whitlock, just days after announcing he would retire at the close of the season, earned his first career series victory by edging Kerry Micks and Ron Beauchamp Jr. The second visit in July was pushed back a day due to rain, but the highlight of the event was Jacques Villeneuve's series debut. It was Steckly, however, who took the checkered flag for his second series triumph in St. Eustache in holding off Kennington and John Gaunt.

Busy Night: Joining the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series on Saturday night will be the Ippersiel Sportsman and Lucas Oil Sport Compact classifications of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Additionally, the ANCA Modified Legends and Challenge 4 cars, as well as, the REVSTAR sprint cars and Quebec Vintage cars will be on hand to round out the busy day on the track.

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NCATS Notebook: Vortex Brake Pads 200 Wrap-Up

Road Course Guy: Despite being weaned on short-track racing, four of JR Fitzpatrick's (No. 84 Schick Hydro Chevrolet) five series wins have come on road courses. Now with two wins at Mosport Int'l Raceway and single wins at Edmonton and Montreal, his only oval-track victory came in 2007 at Motoplex Speedway, formerly SunValley Speedway, in Vernon, B.C. Additionally, he now has wins in four consecutive seasons.

Double Take: Sitting behind the wheel of a red Dodge was an odd sight. Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Lou's BBQ) is no longer in that familiar blue and orange-colored Ford with new sponsors and a new manufacturer on board in 2010.

Expected Nothing Less: In his NASCAR Canadian Tire Series debut, Jason Bowles (No. 11 Triad Racing Technologies Dodge), the reigning NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion, led seven laps en route to a third-place finish.

Mobil 1 Command Performance Driver of the Race: For winning the Vortex Brake Pads 200 at Mosport, Fitzpatrick collects $1,500 from Mobil 1 as the Command Performance Driver of the Race.

Autolite Time To Change Your Position: New to the lineup this year is the Autolite Spark Plugs Time To Change Your Position Award that goes to the driver who improves his finishing position the most over the previous event. Don Thomson Jr. (No. 4 Home Hardware Chevrolet) earned the $1,500 prize by rebounding from a disappointing performance in the season opener at Delaware Speedway.

Dodge-Mopar Fast Five: This program rewards the top five finishing Dodges in the race eligible for the award. In the Vortex Brake Pads 200, race runner-up Ranger was the top-finishing Dodge and earned $2,000. Scott Steckly (No. 22 Canadian Tire/MotoMaster Dodge) placed second among the Dodges with his fourth-place effort and earned $1,500. DJ Kennington (No. 17 Castrol Edge Dodge) grabbed the third spot and $1,000. Mark Dilley's (No. 9 Part Source/Exide Dodge) performance ranked him fourth among the Dodge entrants and netted $750. Jason Hathaway (No. 3 Snap-On Tools/Vortex Brake Pads Dodge) finished 10th overall and was the fifth highest-finishing Dodge and collects $500 in the process.

Coca-Cola Move of the Race: Improving his position the most over the course of the race was Bowles. He started from the 11th position and finished third, thus earning the $1,000 award from Coca-Cola.

MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Race: The driver who compiles the most points in a specialized system involving qualifying, race finish and leading laps collects this $1,100 award. Fitzpatrick netted the most points in this event.

VTech Free Pass: In another new award this season, VTech is honoring the driver who logs the highest race finish after receiving a 'free pass' during the event with a $1,000 award. Joey McColm (No. 50 UltimateDrivers.ca Dodge) made the most from losing a lap at Mosport.

***

Home Tracks Spotlight: Autodrome St. Eustache

The main storyline in 2010 at Autodrome St. Eustache, a member of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series family of tracks since 2008, unfortunately has not been about the racing, but rather the raining.

Weather has impacted the schedule greatly--postponing all but one event through the middle of June. While many NASCAR Home Tracks have upwards of 10 starts in the books, the Autodrome St. Eustache management is wondering how to make the schedule fit into a short calendar window now that July is at hand.

In the season opener for the Ippersiel Sportsman, the premier division, Steve Côte, out of Île Bizard, Que., started on the pole and led 95 of 100 laps en route to a dominating win and a got jump on the rest of the field in the ever-important points standings as he is on a mission for his first track title.

Jonathan Bouvrette, the defending track champion in the division and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series provincial title winner for Quebec, led the other five laps and finished in the runner-up position.

A season ago, Bouvrette claimed wins in 12 of 22 starts while Côte took the checkered flag two times while finishing third in the final points standings.

Last season, second-place finisher in points Andre Coursol, a part-time NASCAR Canadian Tire Series competitor, got off to a bit of a rocky start by recording an eighth-place finish.

With just the one race, no one is out of the championship mix and so much depends on how many of the postponed events can be made up. And in what format they will be inserted into the schedule.

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Up Next: Toronto

The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 next heads to the Streets of Toronto for the Jumpstart 100 on Saturday, July 17. It is the second of five road-course events on the 2010 slate.

This will be the series' first time to participate in the Honda Indy Toronto event and take on the 1.755-mile temporary street course at Toronto's Exhibition Place.

Expected entries for the race include Andrew Ranger, JR Fitzpatrick, Kerry Micks and Jason Bowles--all accomplished road racers and winners of NASCAR road-course events.

The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series will be alongside the Indy Car Series for this weekend, as well as, the following week in Edmonton for the Honda Indy Edmonton.

Canadian Tire Jumpstart is a community-based charitable program that helps kids aged 4-18 participate in organized sports and recreation, such as hockey, dance, soccer and swimming, to develop important life skills, self-esteem and confidence.

-source: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Canada
Drivers Dave Whitlock , André Coursol , Ron Beauchamp Jr. , Kerry Micks , Don Thomson Jr. , Scott Steckly , Andrew Ranger , Jason Bowles , Jason Hathaway , John Gaunt , Derek White , Joey McColm