ANDREW RANGER HONORED AS CHAMPION AT CANADIAN TIRE SERIES AWARDS CEREMONY TORONTO (October 13, 2007) - Racing is not easy and winning a championship is even more difficult, but the hard work paid off for Andrew Ranger (No. 27 ...
ANDREW RANGER HONORED AS CHAMPION AT CANADIAN TIRE SERIES AWARDS CEREMONY
TORONTO (October 13, 2007) - Racing is not easy and winning a championship is even more difficult, but the hard work paid off for Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Wal-Mart/Tide Ford Fusion) Saturday night at the Hilton Toronto/Markham Conference Centre. He was honored as the 2007 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio champion at the season-ending awards banquet.
The native of Roxton Pond, Quebec accomplished a couple of firsts by earning the title. He became the first-year Canadian Tire Series' inaugural champion in his first year of stock car racing after having moved over from the open-wheel ranks last winter.
The 20-year-old Ranger is not a stranger to success in a race car. He finished 10th overall in the CHAMP Car World Series standings for both the 2005 and 2006 seasons. Prior to that, he won a Fran-Am championship in 2003. Ranger's championship earned him a starting spot in next week's NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, where he will represent the Canadian Tire Series.
The Canadian Tire Series points lead had been held by Ranger since the season's second race which he won, but it was hotly contested all season. He held off charges from no less than five drivers to take the title. The championship came down to the last race where Ranger and D.J. Kennington (No. 17 Castol Dodge Charger) entered separated by just 41 points. However, Kennington lost a motor during the event and conceded the title to the well-deserving and talented youngster.
So this night belonged to Ranger and his entire team as they officially accepted the trophy while the driver collected the coveted NASCAR championship ring.
"This is really a special night for not only me, but also my entire race team," said Ranger. "The whole year, everything just came together."
Not to be lost in any championship season is the crew and Ranger was quick to dish out the accolades to his including car owner Dave Jacombs and crew chief Billy Burns.
"Dave, Billy and the whole crew did a super job all season," Ranger said. "Every race the car was good. They were definitely a big part of this championship."
Having raced at some of the highest levels, the young driver recognized the accomplishments of his fellow competitors and the series in its first year.
"I want to congratulate the rest of the drivers and teams for a great season. Everyone worked extremely hard," he said. "I think it was a great first season for the series, too. The races were all exciting and the crowds were awesome."
It was also a strong season for runner-up Kennington's team. Peter Gibbons (No. 1 Canadian Tire/Master Craft Chevrolet Monte Carlo) picked up third-place honors followed by Don Thomson Jr. (No. 4 Home Hardware Chevrolet) and Derek Lynch (No. 77 Allied Steel Buildings/Canadian Shield Dodge Charger) in fourth and fifth, respectively.
In addition to honoring the drivers in order of their finish in the championship point standings, several other special awards were bestowed upon deserving drivers.
J.R. Fitzpatrick (No. 84 Milwaukee Electric Tools Chevrolet Monte Carlo) earned the season's Bud Pole Award by virtue of winning three poles over the course of the 12-race season. Fitzpatrick started seven races from the front row.
Fitzpatrick's teammate, Thomson, earned the famed crystal Pegasus award from Mobil 1 for winning the most "Command Performance Driver of the Race" awards in 2007. Thomson won a series-best two races this year along with Fitzpatrick, Kennington and Kerry Micks (No. 02 Beyond Digital Imaging Ford Taurus), but was the highest-finishing driver in the point standings who participates in the Mobil 1 program which served as the tiebreaker.
The top-five finishing Dodge teams were honored and the Mopar Cup was also awarded to the top-finishing Dodge team. The fifth-highest finishing Dodge team was that of Scott Steckly (No. 22 Erb Group Dodge Charger) followed by Jason Hathaway (No. 3 Snap-on Tools/Super 8 Dodge Charger) in fourth. Mark Dilley (No. 9 Dodge/Leland Industries Dodge Avenger) was third highest while Lynch finished second among the teams driving a Dodge. Kennington took the top prize of $5,000, as well as, claiming the Mopar Cup. Dodge cars won five races in 2007 while Chevy earned four victories and Ford collected three.
Three other special awards from NASCAR were handed out, as well. Kent Nuhn (No. 09 The Fuel Genie/Nuhn's Auto Recyclers Pontiac Grand Prix) was selected by series drivers as the recipient of the Sportsmanship Award for his work both on and off the track.
Lynch was tabbed for the Driver Achievement Award for a progressive improvement in performance throughout the season which culminated in a win on September 1 at Cayuga Speedway Park.
Fitzpatrick collected Most Popular Driver honors in balloting done online at www.nascarmembers.com. The 19 year-old always received a big cheer from the crowd regardless of the venue.
It was a special night for Canadian Tire Series drivers, teams, car owners, sponsors, officials and all their families. The event was emceed by Vic Rauter from TSN, Canada's home for NASCAR.