Story By: ALEX GALLACHER / NASCAR – LOUDON, NH – In a season that has seen one of the series’ most intense championship battles to-date, Andrew Ranger entered New Hampshire in a must win situation.
Though he trailed Kevin Lacroix by only two points, New Hampshire was a track where Lacroix has been nothing short of dominant.
In both qualifying and practice, Lacroix picked up right where he had left off last year in terms of speed. In a league of his own all weekend, the 30-year old won the pole and appeared almost untouchable. Leading the first 92 laps, everything changed when Ranger and Alex Labbe began to close the gap.
Following a dramatic final 10 laps, Andrew Ranger was able to steal the victory in the Visit New Hampshire 100 claiming his fourth win of the season and series leading 28th of his career.
“Yesterday we had some problems with the car and I wasn’t too comfortable with the car,” said Ranger. “We came into the pits to get fuel and make an adjustment, after that my car was a rocket.”
Despite starting in the back after pitting for fuel on the first caution, Ranger battled his way through the field. Charging past everyone he came across, he caught the back bumper of Lacroix with about 15 to go. Lap after lap, the Roxton Pond, Quebec driver tried everything he could to get around Lacroix.
With eight laps to go, Ranger’s N0.27 MOPAR Dodge made the pass and checked out holding on for the win.
When claiming the checkered in Loudon, Andrew Ranger has won at every active track in the Pinty’s Series.
“Lap after lap we were catching Kevin Lacroix,” Ranger added. “We made the pass and got the win, so I’m very happy for my MOPAR team and now we are the points leader.”
After losing the lead, Lacroix was locked in a tight battle for second with Labbe. The two fought side by side before making contact coming to the checkered. Lacroix spun into the inside wall, coming to rest a mere 100 feet from the finish. Following the accident, Lacroix was checked and release from in the infield care centre, declining to comment.
Following a dominant performance last race at Saint-Eustache, Alex Labbe rode the momentum into New Hampshire. Having driven twice before in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, he held on for a runner up finish. Labbe would also notch his sixth top-five of 2019 and best his finish of the season.
“We needed this cause we’ve struggled all year,” said Labbe. “We had really good speed today but [Andrew] Ranger was the class of the field today on the long runs. We finished and we’re very happy.”
D.J Kennington has had a very consistent 2019 season. Qualifying on the outside of the front row, he would score a third place finish. Kennington’s Castrol Edge Dodge heads into Jukasa next week as the defending winner.
Last year’s runner up finisher Peter Shepherd III and Marc-Antoine Camirand would complete the top five.
Cole Powell and Alex Guenette finished sixth and seventh, respectively.
Mathieu Kingsbury, LP Dumoulin and Anthony Simone rounded out the top ten.
Following the Visit New Hampshire 100, Andrew Ranger will carry an 11-point advantage over Lacroix heading into the Pinty’s Fall Brawl at Jukasa September 28.
Fans can watch the Visit New Hampshire 100 on TSN on Sunday, Sept. 29 at 1 p.m and on RDS2 Sunday, Oct. 13 at 1 p.m.
The NASCAR Pinty’s Series will close out their season next week at the Jukasa Motor Speedway, where a champion will be crowned. Will Ranger pull ahead to claim his third championship or will Kevin Lacroix rally back to steal his first?