After starting on the pole for the third consecutive year at Edmonton’s Rexall Speedway, Andrew Ranger picked up his first victory in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 at the track in the Canadian Tire 100 on Saturday afternoon.
Ranger, 22, led the entire way, but had to hold off a hard-charging JR Fitzpatrick in a three-lap sprint to the finish after a late caution flag. On the restart, Fitzpatrick made every attempt to get past Ranger as the two headed into Turn 1 of the 14-turn, 1.973 temporary road course. Fitzpatrick tried again in Turn 11, but to no avail. He was able to get alongside Ranger as they drag raced to the finish line, but Ranger was able to find enough horsepower to beat Fitzpatrick to the line by .481 seconds.
Ranger’s wire-to-wire win was the first in series history. The Roxton Pond, Que., native now has six wins in his series career which places him in a tie with Scott Steckly for the all-time series lead.
Steckly finished third after trailing Ranger and Fitzpatrick for most of the race. He took several looks along the way to try and work past Fitzpatrick, but was never able to complete a pass.
Finishing fourth was Trevor Seibert. He qualified 10th, but had to drop to the rear of the field due to a post-qualifying engine change. The veteran road-course racer quickly charged through the field for his best series finish since a third-place effort at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres (Que.) in 2007.
Hamilton’s Don Thomson Jr., who is off to a rocky start this season, finished fifth and will look to jump start his season after his first top-five finish in 2009.
Rounding out the top 10 were Ron Beauchamp Jr., Jason Hathaway, Mark Dilley, Joey Hanssen and Anthony Simone.
The race was slowed by caution just two times for six laps.
Unofficially in the championship point standings, Ranger extended his lead to 74 points over Steckly, who moved into the second spot with his third straight podium finish. Beauchamp currently sits in third place just 11 points behind Steckly.
The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series get right back into action on Wednesday night at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway in Saskatoon, Sask., for the Velocity Prairie Thunder presented by Bayer Crop Science. The 250-lap event is not only the series’ first visit to Saskatchewan, but also the first NASCAR-sanctioned event in the province.
Lap length: 1.973 miles
(Start position in parentheses)
1. (1) Andrew Ranger, Roxton Pond, Que., Ford, 32 laps, 66.343 mph, $7,150.
2. (3) JR Fitzpatrick, Cambridge, Ont., Chevrolet, 32, $3,800.
3. (2) Scott Steckly, Milverton, Ont., Dodge, 32, $5,300.
4. (10) Trevor Seibert, Williams Lake, B.C., Ford, 32, $3,000.
5. (7) Don Thomson, Jr., Hamilton, Ont., Chevrolet, 32, $2,400.
6. (4) Ron Beauchamp, Jr., Windsor, Ont., Dodge, 32, $3,200.
7. (9) Jason Hathaway, Appin, Ont., Dodge, 32, $2,550.
8. (11) Mark Dilley, Barrie, Ont., Dodge, 32, $2,000.
9. (12) Joey Hanssen, Venray, Holland, Dodge, 32, $1,900.
10. (6) Anthony Simone, Holland Landing, Ont., Chevrolet, 32, $1,800.
11. (21) Jarrad Whissell, Calgary, Alb., Ford, 32, $2,600.
12. (18) Pierre Bourque, Ottawa, Ont., Dodge, 32, $1,500.
13. (16) Dave Whitlock, Petrolia, Ont., Dodge, 32, $1,400.
14. (14) Daryl Harr, St. Albert, Alberta, Chevrolet, 32, $1,350.
15. (13) Jason White, Sun Peaks, B.C., Chevrolet, 32, $1,325.
16. (5) DJ Kennington, St. Thomas, Ont., Dodge, 31, $1,300.
17. (20) Dexter Stacey, Kahnawake, Que., Pontiac, 31, $1,250.
18. (19) Todd Nichol, St. Albert, Alb., Chevrolet, 29, $1,225.
19. (8) Kerry Micks, Mt. Albert, Ont., Ford, 27, suspension, $1,200.
20. (15) Kent Nuhn, Williamsford, Ont., Chevrolet, 25, transmission, $1,125.
21. (17) James Van Domselaar, Ft. Sask., Alb., Chevrolet, 11, accident, $1,100.
Time of Race: 0 hours 57 minutes 6 seconds
Margin of Victory: .481 seconds
Fastest Qualifier: A.Ranger (87.753 mph, 80.941 seconds)
Caution Flags: 2 for 6 laps.
Lead Changes: 0 among 1 drivers.
Lap Leaders: A. Ranger 1-32.
Standings: 1. A. Ranger, 1037; 2. S. Steckly, 963; 3. R. Beauchamp, Jr., 952; 4. D. Kennington, 920; 5. K. Micks, 866; 6. A. Simone, 866; 7. D. Whitlock, 855; 8. J. Hathaway, 822; 9. M. Dilley, 789; 10. D. Thomson, Jr., 784.