CJM Racing gets back on Track with a Season High Finish of Third in Montreal (August 30, 2009) Montreal, QC & ...
CJM Racing gets back on Track with a Season High Finish of Third in Montreal
(August 30, 2009) Montreal, QC NASCAR went international over the weekend and with the trip north of the border, CJM Racing turned their luck around. Native Canadian driver, Andrew Ranger was enlisted to drive the No. 11 RIDEMAKERZ Toyota and the young driver would not disappoint. With top speeds in practice, a top-10 qualifying run and the team's first top-five finish of the season; the trip to Montreal proved to be a success and a long awaited one.
The end of the 2009 NASCAR season is slowly coming to a close as the NASCAR Nationwide Series headed to their final road-course race of the season. This road-course race is unlike any other as it adds some international flair to it. Just outside of the downtown Montreal district, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve sits on a man-made island which was once the site of the World's Fair. Surrounded by water and extreme architecture, drivers buckle in for a 2.7- mile, 15 turn road-course race at its best.
CJM Racing recruited the help of young Canadian driver Andrew Ranger for the NAPA Auto Parts 200 in Montreal. Ranger is a household name north of the border as he is the 2007 NASCAR Canadian Tires Series champion and the current point's leader of the series. He has recorded five wins, and 10 top-10 finishes in 10 races thus far this season. Ranger also has one win at the famed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve which came last year in the Canadian Tire Series.
With a strong desire to get out of a three week slump and a driver capable of running up in the top-five, CJM Racing was aware that Montreal might be the turning point. It was evident that their expectations were right on track, as Ranger got behind the wheel of the No. 11 RIDEMAKERZ Toyota and posted the fastest time right from the start of practice. Within two laps, the No. 11 was the fastest on the board. Inclement weather threw practice strategy out the window and by the end of the first session Ranger posted the fourth quickest lap time.
Rain continued to wreak havoc on Saturday's schedule of events. Final practice was cancelled and when it came time to qualify the rain continued to fall from the sky. NASCAR again made history in Montreal when they declared that 45-cars would qualify in the rain using rain tires.
The No. 11 RIDEMAKERZ Toyota was in the last group to go out and qualify. Under dark and rainy skies, Ranger placed the CJM Racing machine ninth on the starting grid.
Teams sighed with relief Sunday morning as they entered the track. The sun was shining and the temperatures were perfect. The NAPA Auto Parts went green with the stands filled to capacity at 2:30 pm (EST).
Ranger showed signs of a veteran road-course racer right from the start. He did not let anyone gain track position on him in the opening laps and was displayed in the sixth position as the competition caution flag flew on lap 10. Crew chief Paul Wolfe decided to take advantage of the caution and the RIDEMAKERZ Toyota was brought down pit road for four tires, fuel and no adjustments.
When the race got back underway, Ranger continually remarked that the car was good. In fact on lap 20, the No. 11 found itself leading the field. Ranger would lead a total of 10 laps on Sunday behind the wheel of the RIDEMAKERZ Toyota.
After relinquishing the lead to Marcos Ambrose, an old friend returned to the scene on lap 57 as rain moved back into the area. NASCAR mandated that all teams come to pit road for a five-minute pit stop for rain tires and windshield adjustments (wipers or Rain-X).
Ranger restarted in second and began the battle to maintain valuable track position in the closing laps. After several caution flags, a battle with a failing clutch and aggressive moves by veteran NASCAR drivers such as Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards and Marcos Ambrose; Ranger held his ground and was able to give the RIDEMAKERZ team their highest finishing position of the 2009 season, third place.
"I had a great run today. Finished third, it was fantastic," car was amazing. The pit stops were great. The battle with the big guys was pretty impressive. I was definitely impressed about myself. I'm really happy," exclaimed Ranger. "Thanks again for the team, to give me a ride like that was just fantastic. We've been fast all weekend long. It's great to finish third in the Nationwide the big race here."