For race no. 9 of the 12 race schedule, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series will be heading to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the NAPA Autopro 100. This marks the fifth and final road course for the Canadian Tire Series drivers this year and fifth time they’ve been to this particular track in series history.
In two of the races on the 2.709-mile road course, Andrew Ranger has two victories, including one last year that came as a result of a controversial last lap wreck.
On the last lap, Ranger and Jason Bowles went into turn 10 side-by-side, where contact forced Ranger outside of the racing groove. Then down in turns 13 and 14, contact was made sending Bowles into the wall.
“I don’t talk a lot about it,” Bowles said recently. “I know what he did. He knows what he did and things like that come back to you at some point.”
Bowles, a native of Ontario, California, is looking for his first NASCAR Canadian Tire Series victory after competiting in the NASCAR K&N West Series and winning four road courses as well as the 2009 championship. This weekend’s race will mark his fifth start in the Canadian Tire Series.
Ranger, meanwhile, is looking for his 14th Canadian Tire Series victory and 11th road course win. He has one road course victory this year, which came at Toronto in July. The 2-time series champion is an accomplished road racer as to go with the wins in 2008 and last year, he finished second in 2007 and 2009 in Montreal.
The only other two drivers to win at Circuit Gilles Villenueve are J.R. Fitzpatrick and Kerry Micks.
Fitzpatrick, a native of Cambridge, Ontario, won the 2009 NAPA Autopro 100 while finishing 18th last season due to mechanical problems early in the race. He has led the most laps at Montreal (42) and five of his six career wins have come on road courses.
Micks, a native of Mount Albert, Ontario, won the first race in Montreal in 2007 and has since scored a pair of thirds, along with a sixth last season. Micks has two road course victories.
Though the driver to watch this reason is Robin Buck, who is a road course instructor. Earlier this season, he scored his first Canadian Tire Series victory at Circuit ICAR in June, followed by a win at Circuit de Trois-Rivieres on August 7th. He has had success at Montreal, too, as he finished third in both 2007 and 2010.
As the seaosn draws to a close, everybody will also have their eyes on the championship as Scott Steckly comes into this weekend leading D.J. Kennington by 47 points.
Steckly’s best finish at Montreal came in 2008 when he finished second, to go with the fifth in 2007 and fourth last year. The 2008 series champion has been on a roll as he has finished inside the top five in seven of the last eight starts.
Meanwhile for Kennington, the defending series champion, he finished fourth in Montreal three consecutive times before finishing 28th in 2010.