Monday, July 28, 2008

NASCAR Canadian Tire Series: Tag wins in Edmonton, and UNOFFICIAL Finish

Edmonton, Alberta – Alex Tagliani picked up his first NASCAR win in just his eighth start in a stock car. He won the Edmonton Canadian Tire Series 100 at Rexall Speedway in convincing fashion by beating runner-up Scott Steckly to the line by 1.404 seconds.

Tagliani (No. 7 Wal-Mart/Ubisoft Ford), a Quebec native, made a pair of starts last season in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio, but is racing full-time this season after making the move from the open-wheel racing world.

Even though he beat current points leader Steckly (No. 22 Tow Truck in a Box/Diamond International Dodge) to the finish line by over a second, Tagliani still had to endure strong charges from both Steckly and teammate Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Wal-Mart/Tide Ford) at various times.

“Wow! What a thrill this is,” said Tagliani. “We’ve had some problems this year with the equipment, but all the credit goes to the crew. They gave me a great car and all I had to do was drive.”

Much more experienced in stock car racing, Steckly threw as many tricks as he could at Tagliani both on re-starts and on the 14-turn, 1.973-mile temporary road course located on the grounds of the Edmonton City Centre Airport.

“(Steckly) certainly made it difficult all over the track,” Tagliani said. “His car has so much power this year and he was a handful, but once (Ranger) started putting pressure on him, I was able to drive away a little. He drove me clean, though, and I appreciate that.”

“I tried everything I could,” Steckly said. “He definitely had the best car today.”

Steckly has finished in the top five every time out this season and continues his torrid pace in 2008. So far this season, he has three wins, a pair of seconds and a fourth-place finish.

“We really can’t be disappointed with the finish today. I certainly would have liked to have won, but it was a good points day for us.”

For the second straight year Ranger started from the pole, but he again was not able to collect the win. However, with three road course events in the next four weeks, the accomplished road racer knows he can make some gains in the standings.

“I think we can make a move at this point in the season, but (Steckly) has been so good that it will not be easy to get back into the championship race.”

J.R. Fitzpatrick (No. 84 Fitzpatrick Motorsports Chevrolet) and D.J. Kennington (Castrol/Haldex Dodge) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Don Thomson Jr., Jason Hathaway, Kerry Micks, Mark Dilley and Dave Whitlock rounded out the top 10.

Ranger and Tagliani started side-by-side on the front row. Ranger led the first lap, but Tagliani completed a pass for the lead between Turns 10 and 11 heading into the Rexall hairpin. It was a lead that he would not surrender the rest of the way.

The race had just two leaders, Ranger and Tagliani, and was slowed by caution three times for just eight laps.

Unofficially, in the championship point standings, Steckly stretched out his lead over Thomson to 131 points. Kennington holds third place followed by Ranger and Fitzpatrick.

The Canadian Tire Series makes the cross-country trip this week and will be at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the NAPA 100 joining the NASCAR Nationwide Series for the huge NASCAR weekend in Quebec. A season ago, Kerry Micks (No. 02 Beyond Digital Imaging Ford) made a thrilling last lap pass of Ranger for the victory.

At Rexall Speedway
Edmonton, Alberta
Lap length: 1.973 miles
(Start position in parentheses)

1. (2) Alex Tagliani, Lachenaie, Que., Ford, 32 laps, 63.774 mph, $6,150.
2. (5) Scott Steckly, Milverton, Ont., Dodge, 32, $5,800.
3. (1) Andrew Ranger, Roxton Pond, Que., Ford, 32, $3,300.
4. (6) J.R. Fitzpatrick, Cambridge, Ont., Chevrolet, 32, $2,950.
5. (7) D.J. Kennington, St. Thomas, Ont., Dodge, 32, $3,600.
6. (11) Don Thomson, Jr., Ayr, Ont., Chevrolet, 32, $2,155.
7. (14) Jason Hathaway, Appin, Ont., Dodge, 32, $4,025.
8. (9) Kerry Micks, Mt. Albert, Ont., Ford, 32, $1,995.
9. (8) Mark Dilley, Barrie, Ont., Dodge, 32, $2,425.
10. (13) Dave Whitlock, Petrolia, Ont., Dodge, 32, $2,115.
11. (15) Ron Beauchamp, Jr., Windsor, Ont., Dodge, 32, $1,550.
12. (12) Peter Gibbons, Stouffville, Ont., Ford, 32, $1,450.
13. (18) Todd Nichol, St. Albert, Alb., Chevrolet, 32, $1,375.
14. (17) James Van Domselaar, Ft. Saskatchewan, Alb., Chevrolet, 32, $1,335.
15. (20) Jason White, Sun Peaks, B.C., Chevrolet, 13, engine, $1,250.
16. (10) Anthony Simone, Holland Landing, Ont., Chevrolet, 32, $1,195.
17. (19) Jarrad Whissell, Calgary, Alb., Ford, 31, $1,145.
18. (4) Brad Graham, Glencoe, Ont., Dodge, 30, $1,105.
19. (3) Trevor Seibert, Williams Lake, B.C., Ford, 18, engine, $1,080.
20. (22) John Gaunt, Barrie, Ont., Dodge, 18, fuel pump, $1,055.
21. (21) Kent Nuhn, Williamsford, Ont., Chevrolet, 13, engine, $995.
22. (16) Derek Lynch, Warkworth, Ont., Dodge, 7, engine, $945.

Race Statistics
Time of Race: 0 hours 59 minutes 24 seconds
Margin of Victory: 1.404 seconds
Fastest Qualifier: A.Ranger (87.909 mph, 80.797 seconds)
Caution Flags: 3 for 8 laps.
Lead Changes: 1 among 2 drivers.
Lap Leaders: A.Ranger 1; A.Tagliani 2-32.
Standings: 1. S.Steckly, 1070; 2. D.Thomson,Jr., 939; 3. D.Kennington, 927; 4. A.Ranger, 885; 5. J.Fitzpatrick, 854; 6. K.Micks, 842; 7. P.Gibbons, 832; 8. D.Lynch, 801; 9. A.Tagliani, 797; 10. M.Dilley, 791.

From Shon Sbarra / NASCAR

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