An Interview with NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Champion Andrew Ranger

The other day I was fortunate to be able to conduct and interview with Andrew Ranger, the inaugural NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Champion. After a brief conversation with Andrew we dove directly into the interview, so read on …

So how has your off-season been so far?

I’ve been training with an ice racing bike sponsored by KTM Canada. I didn’t run the whole season, just a couple of races, but it is fun having winter in Quebec and training on such a nice bike as KTM and do some racing, and snowmobiling too.


Do you go up to Mont Tremblant and do skiing there?

Not too much, I live about one hour south of Montreal in Granby (about 45 min north of Vermont) and go skiing in Bromont.

When you were growing up did you have any racing heroes or anyone who influenced you heavily to get into racing?

My dad was a race car driver. He raced 25 years in dirt modifieds in Granby and the
Autodrome in Drummondville and from a young age I was with my dad watching him and try to help him a little bit (laughs) … clean the car. But for a long time I saw my dad driving and that’s why I like cars. I like everything with an engine.

 

Did you start out in dirt then?

No, my dad bought me a little go-cart in Montreal. That is why I like carting too because I was driving this little go-cart and did a lot of racing in Quebec. I did the world championship in Europe, I raced in the United States, I raced in Canada … pretty much everywhere. I won a lot of races and Championships and that is how I started.

 

How old were you when you started?

Eight years old.

So, you won the Championship last year and that was your first full season driving stock cars was it not?

Yes it was, it was wonderful. You know, it is great to be with a good team like Dave Jacombs, all the crew worked so hard the whole season last year. It was a first for Dave too as an owner and it was great for him to be there and he put in a lot of energy into the team and to win the Championship for him was a great experience.


You have an extensive open-wheel background, so what was the most difficult thing for you moving from open-wheel to stock cars?

For an open-wheel driver to move into a stock car you have to do many, many laps.

(Stock cars) are a much heavier car, the steering wheel is bigger, the power steering is different, not much brake either, turning left all of the time and to be 2 and 3 wide in the corner it is very tough for your first few laps let alone your first race.

It is great to drive in NASCAR and to race for 200 or 300 laps on an oval is something, you know. It is great to be in a Champ Car and race for 2 hours, but it is not the same thing in NASCAR, it is completely different.

How do you prepare for a race?

Try not to be nervous before the race and especially in the car during the race. You have to remember that anything can happen in stock cars – you can win from the last starting spot and then you get other things like the Lucky Dog involved to help you out. So I try to remain calm in the car (and let things work themselves out). For me, I try to be relaxed during the race because it is a long race but sometimes you are nervous - it is a part of racing.

 

What are your feelings about NASCAR being in Canada?

I am so happy with NASCAR in Canada, they work very hard and I was surprised about how much energy they put into the series and to be a race car driver in NASCAR Canada I think it is a fun race to watch. For fans, it is not very expensive and they get 200 laps of close racing with lots of passing.

Also, to have Nationwide in Montreal was great for the fans. To see the bumping and pushing each other, and a little bit of crashing … (and Carpantier finish 2nd) … is exciting for the fans.

 

Do you think Canada lacks the facilities to get a Sprint Cup race here?

If the Cup guys were to come to Canada, Montreal would be a fantastic place for them to race. The fans in Montreal are great and the facility is good.

 

What do you think about the media coverage of NASCAR Canada in Canada is like?

I think for the first season it was fantastic. For TSN to be involved was great, and the media coverage in Quebec was fantastic. They also promoted the Busch race in Montreal like crazy (in Quebec).

 

The NCTS is shorter than most of the other NASCAR series, does your contract allow you to race elsewhere?

Yes, I don’t have any problem with that. My sponsors, Tide and Wal-Mart, have supported that for a long time and (current car owner) Dave Jacombs does not have any problem if I go and race a dirt modified race, or something else on an off weekend.

This winter I was able to race in ARCA and practice in ARCA. I have a great deal with (the people) I work with to go and do those kinds of things.

 

Would you like to race in the Nationwide race in Montreal?

Definitely, I would like to race in that race. It is my hometown. I’ve raced there in other series like Champ Car and this year in NCTS, but I would like to race there in a Nationwide car.

 

Have you been in contact with any Nationwide or even a Sprint Cup team about racing for them?

Yes, there has been some contact. I would like to race in Nationwide this year (but we have to wait and see).

 

Let’s talk open-wheel a second. You left Champ Car to go and race in the NCTS, and that in itself turned a lot of heads, but now Champ Car and the IRL have merged, what are your thoughts on that? Is it good for the sport? Is it too late?

It is good that they are now in one series, but is too late in the year for this to have happened. It is too late to find a new sponsor. You know what is bad about Champ Car, the big teams like Newman Hass, all bought the new cars and put millions of dollars into them and now they are no good for the new series. Now this is another problem, they have to put a lot of money into another new car. Now these 6 or so teams have to find money to buy new cars to race in the series this year.

 

What would you like to be doing in ten years, if everything went your way?

To be in Sprint Cup. I like NASCAR, they are so nice, they put a lot of money into the sport, and they have lots of races. Sponsors love NASCAR too. I think the way I want to go is to be in NASCAR (Sprint Cup).

 

Now for "The Chase Questions"! These are 12 one word answer questions! Here we go;

1) What book are you currently reading? I’m in between books right now, but I am reading about 7 racing magazines at the moment.

2) What is on your Ipod right now? 50 cent, and some Quebec music too. (I should have asked him if he had any of Jacques Villeneuve’s new album on his Ipod too – oh well).

3) What star, living or dead, would you like to meet? Angelina Jolie. (me too!)

4) What junk food are you addicted to? Poutine (French fries with cheese – no gravy). When I go to a dirt modified race I sit and watch it eating poutine.

5) Which energy drink do you like, Amp, or SoBe No Fear? Red Bull. (oops, forgot that one!)

6) What gaming system do you currently own? PS2.

7) What game is in your system right now? One of my many racing games. I have a hockey game too.

8) What is your favorite TV show? Don’t have one, but my favorite channel is SPEED.

9) Most favorite track to race at? Surfer’s Paradise in Australia.

10) If you could own any car in the world, what would it be? Any type of Ferrari.

11) Montreal Canadians or The Toronto Maple Leafs? (laughs) Canadians for sure!

12) OK, Montreal Canadians or the Quebec Nordiques? (laughs) No, no, no Montreal Canadians for sure.

 

I really had fun interviewing Andrew. He is an extremely nice guy and I wish him the best of luck this year, and I hope he gets to race that Nationwide race in Montreal this year. Hey George Gillette, are you reading this? Carpentier and Ranger in both of your cars this year would be cool - Andrew is a Canadians fan after all.

 

Look for more interviews with Andrew throughout this year's NASCAR Canadian Tire Series racing season.

 

This interview is exclusive to NASCAR Ranting and Raving Blog, if you are reading this somewhere else without proper acknowledgement then that site has illegally obtained this article and is violation of current copyright laws.

 


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