MIRABEL, Quebec, Canada — By Jason Christley, NASCAR — Matthew Manor/NASCAR photo — Andrew Ranger is pretty close to unstoppable at Circuit ICAR.
The two-time champion of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 led the final nine laps Sunday to take the checkered flag in the Jiffy Lube 100 presented by La Petite Bretonne.
It was Rangers’ third straight win at the 2.113-mile, 16-turn road course on the grounds of Montreal-Mirabel International Airport. And it was Rangers’ 18th career win; 15 of which have come on road courses.
Ranger took the lead from Alex Guenette on Lap 21 and wound up beating last year’s series rookie of the year to the line by 3.682 seconds in his No. 27 Mopar/Exide Dodge.
“He [Guenette] was pretty quick, he gave me a lot of pressure, and I was a little tired of that so I let him go,” Ranger said of Guenette’s pass on Lap 7. “I was behind him for a couple laps and right at the end I decided to make a move and I was able to take a nice gap.”
L.P. Dumoulin finished third, followed by rookie Alex Labbe and Alex Tagliani. J.R. Fitzpatrick, Scott Steckly, rookie Gary Klutt, Jason Hathaway and Peter Klutt rounded out the top 10.
With the win, Ranger moved up to one behind Kennington atop the Canadian Tire Series career list. On Saturday at ICAR, he also tied Fitzpatrick for the series poles record with his 14th.
Ranger led a race-high 16 circuits on Sunday, and has paced the field for 60-percent of the laps turned in competition in four all-time Canadian Tire Series races at Circuit ICAR.
“I’m very happy about my car, the guys did a really good job,” Ranger said. “First win for Mopar [as Ranger’s sponsor], it’s unbelievable, and first win for [car owner] D.J. Kennington too. It’s great.”
Guenette’s runner-up effort tied a career-best, and was his best run in five career road course starts. He also led a career-high 14 laps.
“I pushed hard at the beginning and then I kind of backed off when I passed him [Ranger], and so did he,” Guenette said. “I guess he was just overall quicker than me. I’m glad I finished second to one of the best, but next time we’ll setup the car better and I’ll think about trying to have a better race and try to beat him.”
Fitzpatrick maintains the edge in the season standings after three races, two tallies ahead of Dumoulin and 14 ahead of Kennington, who finished 12th Sunday.
The race was slowed by just one caution for two laps. One caution tied the series record set twice previously while the two laps established a record for the fewest under yellow. Sunday’s caution came in Turn 1 of Lap 1 and involved six cars.
The Jiffy Lube 100 will air on TSN on Sunday, July 13 at 11 a.m., and on the French-language RDS on Thursday, July 17 at 9:30 p.m.
The Canadian Tire Series’ next race will be contested on July 11 with the inaugural Alberta Has Energy 300 at Edmonton International Raceway in Wetaskiwin, Alberta.