“Getting that first win was really amazing,” said Ranger (No. 27 Dodge/GC Motorsports Dodge). “I really didn’t know how to drive these cars yet.”
The Roxton Pond, Que., driver did not win again in 2007 but went on to claim his first series title on the power of three runner-up finishes in the other road-course events and solid performances in the oval races.
Two more road-racing wins came in 2008, but it all came together the next year for Ranger as he earned his second series championship. Unlike the path to his first title, Ranger’s 2009 campaign included a single-season series record six triumphs with three of those on road courses. A J.R. Fitzpatrick (No. 84 Equipment Express Chevrolet) win at Montreal kept Ranger from sweeping the four road-course events on the schedule.
While not a full-time competitor in the Canadian Tire Series in 2010 and 2011, Ranger still was able to fit select events into his schedule that included the NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR K&N Pro Series and ARCA Racing Series presented by Mendards. Over the two seasons, he picked up five wins – all on road courses – in eight outings.
The 2012 season brought a full-time return to the Canadian Tire Series and a chance at another championship. While things have not gone as well as planned this season, Ranger occupies second-place in the championship point standings – 37 points in back of D.J. Kennington (No. 17 Castrol Edge/Mahindra Tractors Dodge), who rode a five-race winning streak to the top of the charts.
Still, Ranger has taken the checkered flag twice this season – June 3 at Circuit ICAR in Mirabel, Que., and Aug. 5 at Circuit de Trois-Rivieres (Que.). His other two road-course starts this season resulted in top-10 finishes, but an ill-handling race car prevented him from contending for the win on both occasions.
“I’m really comfortable on road courses,” stated Ranger. “I don’t know if it’s my background in karting or what. I can feel the balance in the car and get out of it all I can get.”
Ranger has 13 victories in 24 Canadian Tire Series starts on road courses with eight of those coming in his native Quebec. He is currently tied with Kennington atop the all-time wins list for the series at 16.
“Racing is really popular in Quebec and it’s always fun to win in front of the home fans,” said Ranger.
Ranger gets another chance to win at home on Saturday, Aug. 18 in the NAPA AUTOPRO 100 at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, where he is already a three-time victor and winner in each of the last two seasons at the famed track.
RACE: NAPA AUTOPRO 100
PLACE: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve – Montreal, Quebec
DATE: Saturday, Aug. 18
TIME: 9:30 a.m. ET
TV SCHEDULE: RDS, Sat., Aug. 18 9:30 a.m. ET (Live); TSN, Sat., Aug. 18, 12:30 p.m. ET; RDS2, Wed., Sept. 19, 9:30 p.m. ET RADIO SCHEDULE: NASCAR Home Tracks Radio internet audio stream, Sat., Aug 18 at 9:15 a.m. ET, at www,NASCARHomeTracks.com.
TRACK LAYOUT: 2.709-mile temporary street course
2011 WINNER: Andrew Ranger
2011 POLESITTER: Andrew Ranger
EVENT SCHEDULE: Thursday, Aug. 16: Practice 4:50-5:50 p.m.; Friday, Aug. 17: Qualifying 2:35 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18: Pre-Race Ceremonies 9:15 a.m.
EVENT TWITTER HASHTAG: #NAPA100
The Race: This is the ninth event of the 2012 season for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 and the fifth of five road-course events on the schedule. This is the series’ sixth visit to Île Notre-Dame in Montreal.
The Procedure: The starting field is 34 cars, including provisionals. The first 29 cars will qualify through NASCAR road race style qualifying. There will be two qualifying groups based on practice times. The remaining five spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 23 laps covering 100 kilometers (62.137 miles).
The Track: The 2.709-mile, 14-turn temporary road course is located in Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Notre-Dame, a man-made island on the St. Lawrence River. The track was originally named Île Notre-Dame Circuit, but was renamed in 1982 following the death of legendary Canadian racer Gilles Villeneuve.
The Records: The one-lap qualifying record for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series is 104.900 seconds (93.003 mph) set by Andrew Ranger on Aug. 19, 2011. The race record also is held by Andrew Ranger at 54 minutes, 57 seconds established on Aug. 2, 2008 for an average speed of 68.058 mph.
The History: The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 has joined the NASCAR Nationwide Series in Montreal every year since 2007. In its previous five visits to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, three drivers have visited the Canadian Tire Series’ Victory Lane – Andrew Ranger has three wins while J.R. Fitzpatrick and Kerry Micks have one each. A year ago, Ranger led every lap and beat Micks to the finish line by 2.734 seconds with Jason Bowles finishing third.
MONTREAL RACE NOTES
International Flavor: With the Summer Olympics just completed in London the spirit of international competition continues in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 NAPA AUTOPRO 100 at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Two U.S.-born drivers are on the entry list – Austin Dillon and Timmy Hill. Dillon, who was last season’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion and 2010 Sunoco Rookie of the Year, will be driving a Fitzpatrick Motorsports entry. Hill, last season’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year, will pilot a car out of the White Motorsports stable.
Race Crazy: Led by three-time Montreal winner Andrew Ranger, out of Roxton Pond, Que., the entry list for the NAPA AUTOPRO 100 includes 14 competitors from the Province of Quebec.
Expanded TV Coverage: RDS, the French-language sister to TSN, will carry the NAPA AUTOPRO 100 live with Didier Schraenen, Éric Descarries and Marc Cantin handling the action. Meanwhile, the race will be recorded and shown in its entirety on TSN at 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Aug. 18 preceding NASCAR Nationwide Series coverage from Montreal. Vic Rauter, Dave Bradley and Billy Rowse Jr. will have the call with Todd Lewis reporting from pit road.
Crowded House: With 37 cars officially entered into the race that equals the series record for entries into an event established a season ago in Montreal.
LAST TIME OUT: TROIS-RIVIERES
Kick The Habit: After three seasons of perfect summertime weather in Trois-Rivieres, Que., each of the last two NASCAR Canadian Tire Series events there have been impacted by rain. The rain began to fall during driver introductions last year and persisted into the race, but, this year, the storm packed more of a punch sending competitors and fans searching for cover. While it never rained once the race got underway, the cars competed with rain tires installed for the entirety of the race. The series has used rain tires under race conditions three times – Trois-Rivieres in 2011 and 2012 and at the Road Course at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ont., in 2008.
Home, Sweet, Home: Louis-Philippe Dumoulin (No. 47 WeatherTech Canada/Bellemare Dodge) continued his acclimation to stock-car racing with his first career pole win in front of his hometown fans and followed that up with a runner-up finish to Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Dodge/GC Motorsports Dodge) in the race to establish a career series-best finish. Dumoulin finished fourth on two occasions (2011 and 2102) at Circuit ICAR in Mirabel, Que., for his previous best finish.
All Good Things: Coming to an end in the JuliaWine.com 100 at Circuit de Trois-Rivieres was the five-race winning streak compiled by D.J. Kennington (No. 17 Castrol Edge/Mahindra Tractors Dodge) leaving him tied with Ricky Craven (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East), Herschel McGriff (NASCAR K&N Pro Series West), Richie Evans and Mike Stefanik (NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour) for the longest modern era winning streak for a NASCAR touring series among currently sanctioned series.
Good Start: Francois Lessard, out of St. Joseph, Que., stepped into the No. 10 Ispeedzone Chevrolet at Trois-Rivieres with no NASCAR Canadian Tire Series experience and finished 13th – the highest-finishing rookie in the race.
NEXT TIME OUT: BARRIE
From the expanse of Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 moves to the cozy confines of Barrie (Ont.) Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 8 for the Wahta Springs 300. The .333-mile tri-oval always provides exciting action on the track in front of an enthusiastic crowd. Last year, hometown product Mark Dilley collected the win after some late-race fireworks between J.R. Fitzpatrick and Kerry Micks. Points leader D.J. Kennington paces the series with three Barrie wins while Scott Steckly has two.
From Shon Sbarra / NASCAR IMC