Two-time NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 champion more equipped for success this time around DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 25, 2010) -- Andrew Ranger, the 2009 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 champion, will ...
Two-time NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 champion more equipped for success this time around
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 25, 2010) -- Andrew Ranger, the 2009 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 champion, will utilize his secured starting position -- earned as a NASCAR Developmental Series champion -- in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown on Jan. 29-30 at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.).
The annual all-star event attracts the top drivers from across North America to what has become the pinnacle of short-track racing in the U.S. and is often referred to as the 'Daytona 500 of short-track racing.'
The 23-year-old Ranger, out of Roxton Pond, Que., will pilot a car out of the Steve McGowen stable. McGowen fields the Chevrolet driven by David Mayhew, who won a pair of NASCAR K&N Pro Series West events in 2009. Mayhew, too, has a secure spot in the starting lineup as a NASCAR K&N Pro Series race winner.
"I'm really excited about this opportunity to race against all these talented drivers," said Ranger.
In 2009, Ranger won his second Canadian Tire Series championship in three years on the power of a single-season series record six wins and outdistanced frequent NASCAR Nationwide Series competitor DJ Kennington by 167 points for the crown. Among those six victories, three came on oval tracks while the others were a result of his tremendous prowess on road courses.
It was through his road-course ability that he caught the attention of the U.S. stock-car media last August in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event in Montreal. Ranger staged a race-long battle with Carl Edwards and Marcos Ambrose before settling for a third-place finish in the race.
His first stock-car victory on an oval track came last July 18 at SunValley Speedway in Vernon, B.C., where he dominated on the half-mile tri-oval by lapping every car in the field but one. This win validated his skills behind the wheel of a NASCAR race car after making the switch from open-wheel racing where he was a top-10 performer in the Champ Car World Series, which since has reunified with the Indy Car.
"That victory was huge for me," said Ranger. "If I was going to be racing in NASCAR, then I had to be able to win on ovals. Everything clicked that night. All of the things that Dave Jacombs (car owner) and Billy Burns (crew chief) had taught me fell into place."
This will be Ranger's second appearance in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown having competed in the event following his first Canadian Tire Series championship in 2007. That outing lasted just 31 laps, leaving him with a 39th-place finish.
However, this time around, a much more confident and experienced Ranger will be on display. At the time of his first NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown outing, he had a grand total of 13 stock-car races under his belt with just a single victory -- on a road course. Now, he has three full Canadian Tire Series seasons with two titles and nine wins, six NASCAR Nationwide starts and a handful of other stock-car events to his credit.
"I think this time I will be a lot more comfortable with everything," he said. "Last time, I had never seen the track before and the car was totally new to me. It's still not going to be easy, but it all won't be so new."
Virtually all of the drivers in the race will have the home-field advantage on Ranger as the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 competes in different equipment than the NASCAR K&N Pro Series cars used in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown.
"Most of the other drivers are more familiar with the cars, but I've had a few starts in the (NASCAR Nationwide Series) cars which are pretty close. So, we'll see what happens. I'm definitely looking forward to it."
In addition to eligible 2009 race winners and series champions, the starting lineup for the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown will be determined through time trials, limited provisionals for NASCAR K&N Pro Series regulars, and the last-chance "Open" race that provides drivers one final chance to make the grid.
The 2010 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown schedule also includes 100-lap Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model and 75-lap Late Model races.