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There are tracks that suit perfectly to some drivers and have been, over time, largely dominated by one of them. For Andrew Ranger, ICAR could be one of these tracks.
In six career starts, he won four times, and led 104 of the 184 laps completed there. And he came close to win the inaugural race in 2011, before he was served a penalty.
Ranger likes the concrete road course, located on the grounds of the Mirabel Airport, and he is eager to race on the new 1.1-kilometer layout, on Saturday night. “I liked the track, and I have been successful on the former layout. But I can’t wait to see how we will do during the 75-lap race. It may be a closer race, and we could expect some yellows to happen. It sure will be good for the show,” said Ranger.
Another fellow Quebec driver, Kevin Lacroix, is primed to end Ranger’s domination once and for all. He created surprise, in 2015, when he won his first career victory at ICAR, but two years later, it would be a mistake not to consider him as a contender for the victory.
Second in the drivers’ standings, Lacroix wants to extend his road-course-win streak to four. He has won every road course race since GP3R last year, another event that has been successful to Ranger, and yet who hasn’t won there since 2012.
Ranger wants to bounce back after two difficult oval races. He suffered power steering issues at Delaware. At Chaudière, he spun and went off track late in the race—incident for which he blamed Lacroix.
“We are on each other’s back since the beginning of the season, and honestly, I don’t know how it’s going to end. I still haven’t come to grips with him,” Ranger said.
This growing rivalry could reach a new high at ICAR, a track both are conformable with.
“ICAR has place to fight a little harder, not like Toronto or Trois-Rivières. Yet, I don’t focus on one driver. I won’t risk crashing the car at every turn just to pass Andrew, or anybody else. But yes, I want to win. Road courses are easier for me, and I think the bonus points that come with a win will make the difference at the end of the championship,” Lacroix said.
A decade after his first title, Ranger also sets his sights on the top of the standings.
When he came back racing full time in the NASCAR Pinty’s series, his goal was clear: to win a third drivers’ championship. At his fourth season with Mopar as main sponsor, he is willing to achieve it, but has to admit that his rivals are fast, too.
“There are almost 10 drivers that could win each weekend. Competition is fierce, and more and more fellow Quebec drivers are legitimate contenders to the win. For our fans and our sport, it’s a great thing,” Ranger declared. Sitting fifth in the standings, he could use a win at ICAR to kick off a strong — and busy — month that will lead the Pinty’s Series to Toronto Indy, then west for three races.