MIRABEL, Quebec — Not even a late-race caution could slow Andrew Ranger’s return to Victory Lane at Circuit ICAR.
A year after coming up second on the 2.113-mile, 14-turn road course on the grounds of Montreal-Mirabel International Airport, Ranger dominated Sunday’s Ecko Unlimited 100. It was the fourth win in six races at Circuit ICAR, and extended his NASCAR Pinty’s Series career wins record to 22.
“It’s almost a family here,” Ranger said. “To win another race at home is fantastic.”
Ranger’s No. 27 Mopar/Pennzoil/Mopar Express Lane Dodge led 29 of the 30 laps.
Alex Labbe, who won the E3 Spark Plug Pole Award in Saturday’s qualifying, came home second and defending race winner Kevin Lacroix was third. DJ Kennington and Elie Arseneau were fourth and fifth, respectively.
With the victory, Ranger retook the championship points lead by six from teenager Cayden Lapcevich. Lapcevich, 16, finished eighth in his first race at ICAR. Labbe is third in points, a point behind Lapcevich.
The weekend didn’t start out looking good for Ranger. The Roxton Pond, Quebec, driver posted the fastest time in the first practice Saturday morning, but suffered an engine issue that prompted him to miss the second practice as the team swapped motors. He qualified second behind Labbe, who broke Ranger’s 2013 track record.
In last year’s race, Ranger chased Lacroix the entire race, which ran green to checkered without a caution. It was the first race at ICAR that Ranger didn’t lead at least a lap. He was determined this year not to let that happen again.
On the second lap Sunday, Labbe left the bottom open slightly going into the Turn 1 hairpin and Ranger pounced to take the lead.
Ranger ran easily out front until a yellow flag for debris on Lap 22. On the subsequent restart, though, Ranger powered back into the lead and finished .883 ahead of Labbe and more than seven seconds in front of Lacroix.
Alex Tagliani finished sixth after getting knocked back from third on the final restart. Gary Klutt, Lapcevich, JF Dumoulin and Patrick Dussault rounded out the top 10.
The Ecko Unlimited 100 will air on TSN4/5 on Sunday, July 10 at 1 p.m., and on RDS2 on Saturday, July 23 at 2 p.m.
The NASCAR Pinty’s Series will return to action on Saturday, July 16 with the Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto as part of the 30th Toronto Honda Indy weekend.
Andrew Ranger (27) takes the checkered flag in Sunday’s Ecko Unlimited 100 ahead of Alex Labbe (32) at Circuit ICAR. Matt Manor/NASCAR