For La Cité de Mirabel Inc. Dodge in NASCAR Canadian Tire Race
This was the strongest ever starting field in a NASCAR Canadian Tire Series (NCaTS) race, with a former World Champion, a confirmed Indycar driver, and multiple former Cascar and NCaTS champions, plus several local hot-shoes in very good cars.
The 28-car field was assembled for the 44th running of the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières, where the eighth race of the 2013 NCaTS season was held, the JuliaWine.com 100.
For this race, the La Cité de Mirabel Inc. had added a second car to the team, prepared by Dave Jacombs and driven by 2012 Trois-Rivières winner Andrew Ranger. To complicate matters, Andrew was racing in the NASCAR Nationwide race at Watkins Glen (NY) on the Saturday and would start the NCaTS race on Sunday afternoon from the absolute back of the pack. He had 42 laps in which to drive through the middle runners and then tackle the lead pack of the race, where none of the quick qualifiers were planning on making it easy for him to get by. He would have to scramble by pole-sitter Alex Tagliani, former world Champion Jacques Villeneuve, local quick siblings LP and JF Dumoulin, and veteran oval racers like Scott Steckly, JR Fitzpatrick, DJ Kennington, Kerry Micks and Jason Hathaway, all of which are now quick road racers. Andrew would also have to deal with another local hero, Marc-Antoine Camirand who had qualified third on his first outing ever in an NCaTS car.
Early and mid-race caution periods helped Andrew close on the leaders, while those incidents eliminated some big players such as pole sitter Alex Tagliani, front-row starter LP Dumoulin, and a determined JR Fitzpatrick. Andrew put on a show as he clawed his way up to second place behind Villeneuve, the 4th place started who had managed to grab and stay in the lead despite a car that was a little off on settings Ranger had also paid a price for his aggressive drive through the field. Classic outbraking moves were now pretty much out of the question.
DJ Kennington had kept contact with the lead group and worked his way into the lead for the last restart with two laps to go. The battle over these last two laps was memorable. Everybody gave room to everyone else, and Villeneuve dropped to 3rd behind Andrew in the exchange. All three knew that they had taken the most out of their car and were accepting the result.
Ray Courtemanche Jr. ran a very busy race in the middle pack, fluctuating from 14th to 20th as the caution periods went, and ending up 19th with a good-handling car slowed down by a weakening engine in the latter part of the race. “I had a ball, fighting for position and concentrating on not losing any time as guys like Andrew and Tagliani went by me on their own mission. I stayed on the lead lap, which pleases me no end.”
Daniel Proulx, one of the Principals at La Cité de Mirabel Inc. was more than satisfied with the day’s outcome. “We gave Andrew Ranger an opportunity to display his talent and he put on a great show, on the track as well as with the fans. Having two cars for promotion and on track for the whole race generated a positive image for La Cité de Mirabel Inc. beyond what we expected. This type of event and sponsorship is perfect for our needs.”
Ray Courtemanche Junior and the La Cité de Mirabel Inc. team will be back on track this coming Saturday, August 17, at the Riverside International Speedway, near Halifax (NS), for the ‘’Wilson Equipment 300 Supporting Red Cross Disaster Relief’’, the ninth of twelve races in the 2013 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.
source: Baldwin Marketing, Julie Baldwin