Ranger outruns vet Thomson

DEAN MCNULTY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:49 AM ET

BOWMANVILLE -- His name is not on the wall yet, but five-time Canadian stock car racing champion Don Thomson Jr. is a sure Motorsports Hall of Fame nominee the minute he hangs up his fire suit.

But last night at the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Mosport Speedway 200, all of his experience could not stop Andrew Ranger and his No. 27 Dave Jacombs Racing Ford.

Thomson started from the pole and led on three separate occasions, including flying past Ranger on a restart with 12 laps to go.

Ranger, however, took the lead back for good for his fourth win of the season and his second on ovals.

"I think I'm finally learning to race on ovals," Ranger joked in the winner's circle.

The 22-year-old Roxton Pond, Que., native solidified his championship lead with the win.

Defending series champion Scott Steckley finished second in the No. 22 Canadian Tire Dodge with D.J. Kennington third in the No. 15 Castrol Dodge.

Thomson lost ground on the final laps to fall to fifth.

Thomson was coming off an impressive second-place finish at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway in Saskatoon last week but sat an uncharacteristic ninth in the championship before last night's race.

On his second qualifying lap, Thomson put the No. 4 Chevrolet on the Mosport pole with a time of 21.893 seconds.

He figures it was about time his season started to turn around.

"We've had good cars all season," he said, "but it seems just as we're about to win or get a top five finish somebody gets in to us. And then there was the race on the Mosport road course where we blew a motor, that just doesn't happen to us too often."

Thomson is aware that in the rough and tumble world of NASCAR racing, everybody goes through those periods.

"I can't remember having a season like this year," he said. "But there are still races to run and races to win."

Thomson said he still has the passion it takes to race at the top levels of the sport in this country and even with five titles already on his resume he still hungers for more.

"What I really want is a championship in a series that starts with - (NASCAR)," he said.

Thomson admits that when he was king of the track in the Canada there were not the opportunities to go south to race with the best.

"I have no regrets, though," he said.

Thomson also has tutored up and coming NASCAR star J.R. Fitzpatrick, who finished 18th yesterday in the Nationwide Series Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen, N.Y.

"He's a good kid and he is going to be a great driver," Thomson said of his protege.

DEAN.MCNULTY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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