TOLEDO, Ohio – No one does it quite like Andrew Ranger, at least at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) anyway.
Ranger is aiming for what would be a record fourth consecutive ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards victory at NJMP Sunday, June 1 in the seventh annual Great Railing 150 presented by Barbera’s Autoland.
“I’m a little bit surprised, but at the same time, I really like the course,” Ranger said.
“And when you like the track, it really helps. New Jersey’s just a really fun track. It’s very technical with high-speed, long straightaways. I feel very comfortable (at NJMP), so the rhythm just comes to me.”
It doesn’t hurt that Ranger is already an accomplished road course racer, having trained on them growing up in Roxton Pond, Quebec.
“I started on road courses a long time ago. I was the first Canadian to win in the FIA karting federation in Europe, and that was some time ago, We’ve raced in the Formula Renaults, Toyota Atlantic and raced in Indy Car, so we have a lot of experience on road courses, and that makes a difference.”
In fact, Ranger is credited with being the youngest driver to ever finish on the podium of a Champ Car World Series (Indy Car) race, finishing second in Monterrey, Mexico in 2005.
Ranger then switched gears to stock car racing and answered with two national championships in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series in 2007 and 2009. Also a veteran of the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Ranger finished a career-best third at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2009.
Ranger, driving for ARCA car owner Robert Torriere, made his ARCA Racing Series debut at NJMP in 2011 with resounding success, winning both the Menards Pole presented by Ansell and winning the race by way of a daring pass on George Miedecke coming to the white flag.
Ranger returned with Torriere in 2012, and in dramatic fashion, passed Chase Elliott on the last lap to earn his second consecutive win at NJMP. Ranger studied Elliott’s every move over the final 10 circuits.
“I knew that Chase (Elliott) was a really good driver, so I followed him lap after lap. I learned where he put the throttle and where he braked, so I decided when and where it would be best to make our move.”
Ranger repeated in the win column at NJMP in 2013, leading 30 of the 67 laps, thus earning his third straight win. Ranger also won the pole for the 2013 race.
And of course, there is the fact that Ranger races for a living, so he gets in a lot of practice in between race events.
“Being a race car driver is what I do for a living. This is my real job. Plus I do the NASCAR school in Quebec, teaching oval track and road course racing.”
All this uncovered, winning his fourth straight at NJMP is no stretch.
“We’re coming with the same car. They changed a lot of things on the car, and I know they’ve worked really hard on it. Every year, the team modifies it – they want to improve it.”
Ranger is the only driver in ARCA Racing Series history to win more than one ARCA road course event, let alone three-straight at one facility.
The Great Railing 150 event will mark ARCA’s seventh consecutive trip to the state-of-the-art NJMP facility in Millville, New Jersey, and include a wide mix of different road course tours to complement the ARCA Racing Series, including the Trans-Am tour, the Pirelli World Challenge, the SCCA Pro-It tour, and more.
The event at NJMP also marks the 19th time the ARCA Racing Series has raced on a road course since debuting on the now defunct Meadowdale Raceway road course, just outside of Chicago in 1958.
The list of ARCA road course winners over the years, marked below, is interesting to say the least.
1958: Meadowdale – Fred Lorenzen
1960: Meadowdale – Nelson Stacy
1962: Virginia Int’l Raceway – Curtis Turner
1964: Meadowdale – Elmer Musgrave
1965: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course – Jack Bowsher
1986: St. Louis Int’l Raceway – Bob Schacht
1991: Heartland Park – Ken Schrader
1992: Heartland Park – Darrell Waltrip
1994: Des Moines Grand Prix – Scott Lagasse
2001: Watkins Glen Int’l – John Finger
2008: New Jersey Motorsports Park – Justin Allgaier
2009: New Jersey Motorsports Park – Patrick Long
2010: Palm Beach Int’l Raceway – Justin Marks
2010: New Jersey Motorsports Park – Casey Roderick
2011: New Jersey Motorsports Park – Andrew Ranger
2012: New Jersey Motorsports Park – Andrew Ranger
2013: Road America – Chris Buescher
2013: New Jersey Motorsports Park – Andrew Ranger
Practice for this year’s Great Railing 150 at NJMP is Saturday, May 31 from 11:35 a.m. – 12:35 p.m. with final practice afterwards from 1:25 – 2:55. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell follows final practice Saturday at 4:30. Sunday’s race is scheduled to roll off at 1:30.
ARCAracing.com will feature live timing and scoring and audio coverage of all on-track activity Saturday and Sunday, including flag-to-flag coverage of the Great Railing 150.