Said captures Montreal race

DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

It was the largest contingent of Canadian talent ever assembled for a NASCAR Nationwide race, but at the end there were only three who would leave any mark on the NAPA 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.

Jacques Villeneuve, whose famous father the track honours, finished third in the No. 32 Toyota behind Boris Said and Max Papis.

And young J. R. Fitzpatrick gave the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet the drive of the season, taking home seventh spot — the best finish in months for the Dale Earnhardt Jr.-owned team.

D.J. Kennington, a last-minute sub in the No. 24 Ford, finished a respectable 11th.

But it was Said, who up until Sunday had never won at any track, anywhere in Nationwide, who survived the carnage that left much better cars and drivers on the sidelines.

Four-time NNS winner Ron Fellows finished behind the wall in 30th place after the engine expired on the No. 88 JRM Chevrolet.

And Patrick Carpentier, another pre-race favourite, also lodged a DNF after his No. 00 Michael Waltrip Toyota broke a rear track bar.

As for Andrew Ranger — who started the day with a win in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series — he also had an engine failure and finished 39th.

Said’s win came after late lap leader Robby Gordon ran out of gas on a green-white-checkered-flag finish that sent the race three laps past its scheduled distance of 74 laps.

“I don’t think we had the fastest car today,” Said admitted, “but we definitely had the smartest race strategy.”

Home-grown hero

Ranger of Quebec may be only 23 years old, but he has a long memory and on Sunday he put it to good use in winning the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series NAPA 100 at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in the No. 27 Dave Jacombs Racing Dodge.

Ranger lost the same race in 2007 when Kerry Micks punted him aside on the final hairpin of the final lap.

Sunday, Jason Bowles of California, driving the No. 11 Dodge attempted to do the same thing but Ranger was having none of it. He turned into the American interloper sending him into the wall and effectively out of the race.

“We got to the hairpin and he came really hard and hit me hard in the back,” Ranger said. “I was mad. This is my home race. Kerry Micks did that to me here in 2007. I wasn’t going to let it happen again so I came hard into the chicane and I hit him a bit, yeah.”

Don Thomson Jr. finished second in the No. 4 Chevrolet with Robin Buck third in the No. 66 Ford.

Finish lines

At the start of the 2010 Formula One world championship many commentators were falling all over themselves over German driver Sebastian Vettel.

He was being beatified as the next Michael Schumacher.

Well, I wonder how many are still aboard that bandwagon after Vettel’s karting move that all but took Jenson Button out of the running to repeat as F-1 champion on Sunday at the Belgian Grand Prix..

Button, who should have been more livid than he was that all Vettel got for the bone-headed driving mistake was a drive-through penalty, put it best.

“I don’t know why he did that — he just banged into me and it is a massive blow to the championship. I’m really disappointed,” he said.

On the penalty, Button said: “What else can you give him? It was a racing incident, he didn’t do it on purpose but what else can you do?”

dean.mcnulty@sunmedia.ca


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