Ranger and Team Mopar® have podium finish ripped away
Andrew Ranger appeared to be headed for a podium finish in the #27 Mopar® Parts Dodge at the season-opening event of the NASCAR Pinty's Series at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) this past Sunday. However® a penalty ruling by race officials took it from him.
Rain showers and poor visibility only allowed for a 30-minute practice session on Saturday and forced the cancellation of qualifying. According to the rulebook, Ranger lined up the #27 Mopar Parts Dodge third on the starting grid. Despite such a short session, Ranger was pleased to make a few laps at speed. “I was glad to get out even for a little bit to make sure everything is as we expect it to be,” he stated.
When the green flag waved under sunny skies on Sunday afternoon, Ranger had plenty of speed and was on the hunt for the lead in the #27 Mopar Parts Dodge. While others chose to make early pit stops, Ranger remained on course and took over the top spot on lap 19. Ranger made his first pit stop during the first full course caution.
Other teams completed their service stops for fuel and tires at this time but Ranger remained on the tires he started the race with. Despite losing a little bit of track position under green flag conditions when the race restarted, Ranger and the #27 Mopar Parts team had a different plan. When a second full course caution again slowed the field, Ranger made his final pit stop and had the freshest tires in the field.
On the final restart, Ranger had the #27 Mopar Parts Dodge on the move and was quickly inside the top five with sights set on the front of the field. Using his skill and finesse, Ranger moved into second and had an opportunity to make a pass for the lead on the final lap. As he made the move for top spot, he and the #74 car touched. Ranger continued in the #27 Mopar Parts Dodge; however, as the #74 corrected his line, he was struck by another car.
After crossing the finish line in the second spot, Ranger and the #27 Mopar Parts Dodge team were informed they’d be given a penalty dropping them to a 12th place finish.
Commenting on the final lap afterwards, Ranger stated, "First, I have to thank the whole Mopar Parts team for doing such a great job preparing the car. We went on a little bit different strategy and when we got the new tires late, the car just took off and was so fast. When I made the pass for the lead, there was a little opening and a bit of contact, that happens here, I think everybody's okay with that. I got back going, we finished second but NASCAR gave us a penalty."
The season-opening race will be broadcast on TSN Sunday May 27th at 4:30 p.m. ET.