After scoring a pair of victories last season, Andrew Ranger will be back with DJK Racing, running the full NASCAR Pinty’s Series schedule vying for his second career championship.
The Quebec native recently spoke with POPULAR SPEED about his thoughts entering the year, and more.
POPULAR SPEED: What are your thoughts entering the season?
ANDREW RANGER: I’m very, very happy to start another season with Mopar. It’s great. We’ve been together for the last six or seven years, so it’s awesome. It’s a great company to work with. I have a lot of fun racing in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series. We’ve got a lot of wins, and it’s a great series. We’re racing across Canada, and have a lot of fun with that.
PS: What are the goals and expectations?
ANDREW: The goal is to like everybody, to win the championship at the end, but we’ve improved ourselves the last three years. We’ve been very, very fast. I think now we have all the puzzle to finish the races, have fun, and gain a lot of points, and see where we’re at the end. Every time we go on the track, we have a good chance to win the race and the championship.
PS: What track are you most looking forward to?
ANDREW: The schedule is big, but at the same isn’t. It’s 13 races so you can’t miss your shot. All the races are very important, but every time we race in Quebec in front of my family, friends, girlfriend, it’s a race that I want to do well. But Toronto is always a track that I like, and I really want to win again this year there.
PS: What do you feel that you could have done better last year to run even stronger?
ANDREW: I think we were very strong every race, just so bad luck – mechanical, but I think we fixed that during the winter. Every time that we broke, we were either P3 or P2 – top-three anyway, so we proved that we were fast and I think the goal this year to finish our races and try to be in the top-five every weekend.
PS: How much is it a benefit for you in being able to work alongside with D.J. Kennington?
ANDREW: D.J. is the car owner, but I’ve been working with David Wright; he’s my crew chief. So every time we go to the track, yes D.J. is there, but we would work together if we have some stuff to share. But to be honest with you, we do our little thing with my crew chief, and it’s been working very good for the last three years.
But it’s always fun to work with D.J. and have a nice battle on the track, and try to prove ourselves.
PS: What are your thoughts on the current state of the NASCAR Pinty’s Series?
ANDREW: I really think the series is very, very tough. You can say the top-10 can win any week so it’s fun to go there and you never know where you’re going to finish, but it’ll be a good fight to the end. All of the races are very important. What’s great about the series is we race across Canada, so we race in Toronto, in Quebec City, Nova Scotia, Edmonton and Saskatoon, so it’s awesome.
We have a lot of good fans no matter where we are. I don’t know how many thousands we have at Mosport (Canadian Tire Motorsports Park), Toronto, Trois-Riveres – but those are very important in racing in front of big crowds like that. I really like the series, and I think every year the series improves. I know we have a little bit of problem in having drivers at oval tracks, but little by little, I think they’re helping the drivers to find sponsors which is good.
PS: The Pinty’s Series has so many positives right now. But what is one change you feel they can make to improve the series even more?
ANDREW: It’s tough to say. We like NASCAR, and NASCAR is very important for the series, but I think the problem with the series is maybe because we race across Canada, too. It makes our budget bigger, and bigger. I like to go race in Saskatoon and Edmonton as it’s great to race there, but at the same time with our small series, it costs so much to go there with flight expenses to bring all the guys, and the hotels. Those things make our budget explode and I don’t know if they can change something on the schedule, but that may be one thing to change.
PS: We’ve seen drivers trying different series and cars. Is there anything on your bucket list?
ANDREW: The last three years, I’ve been staying in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series and I have a lot of fun with that. I have another company in Quebec so I’m not looking to do more races. If I have some opportunity, yes, but I have to bring money, then I don’t want. I’ve been fighting many years with that and to work with Mopar is great. I need to think just about my business and go on the track and fight every weekend and have a lot of fun with that.
So to me, if I maybe have another opportunity to go in the States, I would take it, but if I need to bring sponsorship, that’s not the case.
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