Edmonton: Round five preview



*   Adjustment Coming Quick For Andrew Ranger

* Going Fast Is Jason White's Game

* HittingThe Road Again

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 18, 2007) -- The ease of which Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Wal-Mart/Tide Ford Fusion) has made the adjustment from open wheel to the NASCAR style of racing has surprised many, including Ranger himself.

Four races into the inaugural season of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio season, Ranger leads the championship point standings. He has a victory to his credit, as well as two other top-five finishes and has finished inside the top 10 in all four events. Including the 2007 events, the 20-year-old from Roxton Pond, Quebec has just five stock car races under his belt.

Racecar drivers, as a whole, are a confident bunch and Ranger is no exception, but even he didn't expect to do this well.

"To be honest, I am a little surprised," said Ranger. It's gone very "well so far."

Ranger made the fulltime move to NASCAR and stock car racing this past off-season after two seasons on the CHAMP Car circuit. His time in the open-wheel cars was not without success -- he finished 10th in the final point standings a season ago.

This early success in stock car racing has had its learning experiences. The heavier Canadian Tire Series car has taken some getting used to -- the car doesn't turn with slight movements of the steering wheel like he's used to.

"These cars are so much heavier than anything I've driven before," said Ranger. "Also, CHAMP cars have so much downforce that it is really pretty easy to make them turn."

Three of the first four races this season have been on oval tracks, which has brought a new dimension to Ranger's racing repertoire, the art of rubbing.

As Harry Hogge said in the movie Days of Thunder, "No, no, he didn't slam you, he didn't bump you, he didn't nudge you... he rubbed you. And rubbin', son, is racin'."

"There's not any bumping and pushing cars around to pass in open wheel racing," Ranger said. "I don't really like to do it, but it's what you have to do sometimes."

Ranger was expected to come into the series and be a force on the road and street courses and with four on the 12-race schedule, it certainly couldn't hurt his cause.

The season's second race came on the road course of Mosport International Raceway. In that event, Ranger showed his prowess and experience at making both left- and right-hand turns. He overcame a penalty for jumping the initial start of the race, and his own mistake of stopping too close to the wall on a pitstop -- making it difficult for his team's jackman to get the car in the air -- to win the race. He flowed seemingly effortless around the track all race long.

"First off, I have a great team and they gave me an awesome car that day," Ranger said. "But I am very comfortable with road racing because that is what I have done the most of."

Next up for the Canadian Tire Series is the 1.973-mile, 14-turn street course of Grand Prix Edmonton. A year ago on this very same track, Ranger finished seventh in the CHAMP Car World Series event. He knows the track well, but he will have to adjust to a far different handling machine.

"I like this track a lot. It's really like three tracks in one," Ranger said. "The first part is very technical with many turns. The middle section is very aerodynamic and the last part is very fast and speed is the key.

"But, I'll have to see how this car handles on it. It'll be quite a bit different."

While the cars are heavier -- they lack downforce and other drivers are beating and banging at every turn -- but Ranger is enjoying every minute.

"I'm having fun here in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series," Ranger said. "It's a great program. The other competitors have been great to me. I can't say that I had this kind of fun in CHAMP Car. It's really business- oriented there."


* The race ... This event is the fifth race for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio in 2007. It is the second of four road/street-racing events this season. It is the only visit by the series to the province of Alberta this year. This event has grown since Tony Novotny of the former CASCAR Super Series initiated racing at Edmonton's City Centre Airport. Now, it is a five-day extravaganza involving both NASCAR and CHAMP Car.

* The track ... The 14-turn, 1.973-mile street course created from the tarmacs, taxiways and runways of Edmonton's City Centre Airport is 50 feet wide in most places, but has sections where it expands to a roomy 75 feet wide. It is certainly a fan-friendly environment with 80 percent of the track visible from anywhere in the grandstands, a rarity at many events of this nature.

* Cushioning the blow ... A total of 22,230 tires will be used as a protective barrier around the track to "cushion" cars leaving the track in an unconventional manner.

* Jason White switching gears ... NASCAR Canadian Tire Series driver Jason White (No. 21 Mormak Equipment Chevrolet), out of Sun Peaks, B.C., spent three years as a member of the Canadian National Speed Skiing Team. While competing around the world, White has reached a speed of 200 kilometers per hour (kph) on a set of snow skis. He has been racing cars for 14 years and finally went faster in a car (205 kph) in last year's CASCAR event at the Grand Prix Edmonton. For those not in tune with their conversion tables, both of those speeds are in excess of 120 mph.

* Ticket information ... Ticket information for the Rexall Grand Prix Edmonton can be obtained by calling (780) 488-8882 or by logging on to www.grandprixedmonton.com.


What: NASCAR Canadian Tire Series 100
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Race #5.

Where: Grand Prix Edmonton, Edmonton, Alberta.
When: 4:45 p.m., Saturday, July 21.

Track layout: 1.973-mile street course.
Distance: 32 Laps, 63.136 miles.

Posted Awards: $56,044 CAD

Records: To be established in inaugural event.

Pre-race schedule: Friday -- Practice, 8 a.m.-12:20 p.m. Qualifying, 3:15 p.m. Note: All times subject to change.

NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Top 10: 1.Andrew Ranger 638; 2. Peter Gibbons 626; 3. Mark Dilley 623; 4. D.J. Kennington 599; 5. J.R. Fitzpatrick 598; 6.Don Thomson 585; 7. Ron Beauchamp 570; 8. John Gaunt 570; 9. Kerry Micks 564; 10. Jason Hathaway 540.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Canada
Drivers Jason White , D.J. Kennington , Mark Dilley , Kerry Micks , Andrew Ranger , Jason Hathaway , John Gaunt