Ranger Wows Home Fans In Quebec MONTREAL -- After narrowly missing the victory a season ago, Andrew Ranger sealed the deal this season in the NAPA 100 after passing J.R. Fitzpatrick on the white flag lap for his first win of the 2008 ...
Ranger Wows Home Fans In Quebec
MONTREAL -- After narrowly missing the victory a season ago, Andrew Ranger sealed the deal this season in the NAPA 100 after passing J.R. Fitzpatrick on the white flag lap for his first win of the 2008 season.
Ranger (No. 27 Wal-Mart/Tide Ford) got to Fitzpatrick's (No. 84 Fitzpatrick Motorsports Chevrolet) rear deck lid going into the Turn 8 and 9 combination at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio event when Fitzpatrick left a small opening and Ranger was able to drive his Ford through it.
"He opened the door a little and I was able to stick my nose in there and get past," said Ranger.
After Ranger completed the pass, Fitzpatrick, in an effort to make up the lost ground, drove deep into the corner and was left spinning out of contention.
"(Fitzpatrick) was really driving hard the whole race," Ranger said. "His car was really fast and I was pretty fortunate to get around him."
The grandstands were full and fans cheered wildly as the 21 year-old driver out of nearby Roxton Pond, Quebec assumed the lead and began chanting for the victor as Ranger pulled into Victory Lane.
"It was really great to win in front of the great race fans here in Quebec. It didn't work out for us last year, but this time we were able to give them a win," said Ranger.
It was Ranger's second career win in the Canadian Tire Series. The defending series champion had not gone to Victory Lane since June 2007, a span of 16 races.
After Fitzpatrick made contact with the wall heading into the Turn 10 hairpin, current points leader Scott Steckly (No. 22 Tow Truck in a Box/Schick Dodge) moved into to second place, but was not in position to apply any pressure on the victor.
"I would have liked to have been able to get to (Ranger) and challenge for the win, but he wanted it really bad and was pretty smooth all day. It turned out to be a good points day and we'll keep going from here," Steckly said.
Last year's winner Kerry Micks (No. 02 Beyond Digital Imaging Ford) finished third after starting the race on the pole, but was happy with the performance.
"We came here with the goal of finishing on the podium and we were able to do that," Micks said. "Those guys up front were really going at it. I was hoping to possibly sneak in there if they got over aggressive, but we just never got the opportunity. We're happy with the finish, though. This is such a great track to race and the all the fans make it fun."
D.J. Kennington (No. 17 Castrol/NPP Dodge) and Don Thomson Jr. (No. 4 Home Hardware Chevrolet) finished in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Jeff Lapcevich, Mark Dilley, Robin Buck, Dave Whitlock and Brad Graham rounded out the top 10.
The race was slowed by caution just two times for a total of three laps and had three lead changes between two drivers.
Unofficially, in the championship point standings, Steckly, with his seventh consecutive top-five finish, stretched his lead over Thomson to 146 points. Kennington and Ranger rank third and fourth and are both within 24 points of Steckly.
The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series is in back on an oval track next week at Mosport Speedway in Bowmanville, Ontario for the Full Throttle Energy Drink 200.