Andrew Ranger has won this year in the U.S. on the East Coast and the U.S. West coast and on Saturday he won in Canada by dominating the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Jumpstart 100 at the Honda Indy Toronto.
With the largest crowd of the weekend so far looking on, Ranger, driving the No. 27 Dave Jacombs Racing Dodge, fought off a race-long threat from J.R. Fitzpatrick in the
No. 84 Fitzpatrick Racing Chevrolet.
On the final lap, however, Fitzpatrick’s brakes failed sending his Chevrolet into the run-off area and ending his hopes of catching Ranger on the final circuit around Exhibition Place’s 2.82-kilometre temporary street course.
“I fought with him for the whole race,” Ranger said of Fitzpatrick. “He is such a good road-course driver and he’s very aggressive. He got into me once and almost turned me around but I managed to stay ahead of him.”
But the battle took its toll on the No. 84 Chevrolet, with Fitzpatrick finally losing his brakes.
Fitzpatrick also had to deal with some back markers, particularly, that of the No. 00 of Pierre Bourque, who banged doors with Fitzpatrick even through Bourque was a lap down at that time.
“I was lucky I managed to get by (Bourque) without any problem,” Ranger said.
Fitzpatrick’s problem was the opening Jason Bowles needed to pick up second spot in the No. 11 Gaunt Brothers Racing Dodge.
“I don’t think I finish second if J.R. doesn’t have his problems,” Bowles said.
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series points leader D. J. Kennington finished third in his No. 17 Castrol Edge Dodge.
Not known as a road- or street-course racer, Kennington was more than happy with his podium finish.
“In the big picture this was just like a win for us,” he said. “We are concentrating on winning the championship this year and these kinds of finishes go a long way to making that happen.”
Both Ranger, who is racing full time in he NASCAR K&N East series this season, or Bowles who is in the K&N West series, are only running select races in Canada.
And Kennington, who ran almost a full NASCAR Nationwide series schedule last season, is racing only in Canada in 2010.
“We want to win our first NASCAR championship really badly,” he said.
“And this year is our best chance.”