'Finally a win' for Ranger

CRASH CAMERON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:35 PM ET

It was a nostalgia race. That's if your idea of "the good old days," is two years ago.

Just like 2007, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race at Edmonton Indy yesterday was a 32-lap showdown between the series' top pair of young guns Andrew Ranger and J.R. Fitzpatrick.

Unlike 2007, it was Ranger who ended up standing on the podium.

It was the Quebecer's first win here in NASCAR's northern series after starting on the pole in all three at this event since the series was formed.

"Finally a win," Ranger said, who fell off on the last lap against Fitzpatrick and was second to then-teammate Alex Tagliani last year.

TOUGH GOING

"We tried hard to save the car. In the beginning, my car was really good at the long runs; the short runs were tough for us."

In '07, a combination of a missing gear, ground-down tires and Fitzpatrick hard on his bumper on almost every corner of the last lap, kept Ranger's No. 27 Walmart/Tide Ford out of victory lane.

This time around, Fitzpatrick was actually happy to take second in his No. 84 Schick Chevy.

"All weekend the car's been brutal, handling poorly. The car definitely got better (yesterday), but every time we got a caution, the car would get tighter and snap from me.

"I think we did well for what we had. We were trying to drive past what the car had."

Fitzpatrick made dramatic attempts to swoop past Ranger on the sharp but wide Turn 1 on both of the last two laps.

"I like to make last-lap passes and that's what I was aiming for," said the Ontario second-generation driver who may not run another Canadian Tires race this year, depending on his schedule with Kevin Harvick's team in the NASCAR's Nationwide and Truck series.

"I tried going underneath, I tried going on top, I tried to make it stick, but I just didn't have the drive coming off the corner to make it stick."

Ranger knew his rival was going for it even if he wasn't 100% sure how or even from where.

"I saw him right in back of me and I need to stay tight and be smooth in that corner," said Ranger, who backed up last week's win in B.C. to stay on top of the standings. "It's so wide (in Turn 1), so it's tough to see where guys are.

"I knew he was on the outside of me and I thought he'd probably square me in the corner. I tried to be tight (through the inside of the corner) because he'd probably (try to) come on the inside of me. I tried to be smooth and relaxed."

And it's easy be relaxed when you're on the top of the podium.

READY TO POUNCE

Meanwhile, in position to pounce should there be any fireworks between the young pups was defending series champ, Scott Steckly in his No. 22 Canadian Tire Chevy.

"We were running hard to keep up with those two in front of us, basically waiting for something to happen -- and hope that something happens -- but we've also got to race smart, race for points for the championship."

LOCALS LOOKING IN: IT WAS NOT A GOOD DAY FOR THE LOCALS. DARYL HARR SPUN ON THE GRASS ON LAP 25, BUT COLLECTED TO FINISH IN 32ND. TODD NICHOL FELL FOUR LAPS SHORT AND JAMES VAN DOMSLELAAR TORE UP HIS NO. 14 IN TURN 7 FOR THE DNF.

DAVID.CAMERON@SUNMEDIA.CA


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