Andrew Ranger wins ARCA race at Millville's New Jersey Motorsports Park for third time - pressofAtlanticCity.com: Sports

Andrew Ranger wins ARCA race at Millville's New Jersey Motorsports Park for third time - pressofAtlanticCity.com: Sports

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Andrew Ranger wins ARCA race at Millville's New Jersey Motorsports Park for third time

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Posted: Sunday, July 28, 2013 11:45 pm

MILLVILLE - Andrew Ranger is a native of Roxton Pond, Quebec.

That's more than 500 miles away from Millville.

But Ranger seems more than comfortable at New Jersey Motorsports Park in the Cumberland County city.

Ranger said he was plenty familiar with NJMP's Thunderbolt Raceway before making the trek south this past week.

He didn't practice, but Ranger on Sunday still managed to become the first driver in the history of the ARCA Racing Series to win three straight races on the same road course.

Ranger edged runner-up Tom Hessert and Chase Elliott to take home the Barbera's Autoland 150 stock-car race at NJMP's 2.25-mile, 14-turn course.

"I like the track," Ranger said, tongue-in-cheek. "Three times we have won here, so it's fantastic."

Ranger and Elliott went back-and-forth all race long, just as they had in last year's race here. Ranger led much of the race early, but Elliott took the lead on lap 35 in the 67-lap race.

The duo led 64 of the 67 laps. Will Kimmel (fourth place) led three laps.

"I think we're both good road-course drivers," Ranger said of he and Elliott.

Elliott, the 17-year-old son of NASCAR star Bill Elliott, was frustrated after his third-place finish and said he battled left rear tire issues late in the race.

"Oh, he's beatable," Elliott said. "We had a chance to beat him at Road of America (earlier this season) and we had a chance to beat him today. We just have to put together a mistake-free weekend."

The sky was overcast throughout much of the race, but only a light rain ever materialized. There were three cautions for a total of 10 laps on Sunday.

Elliott led a race-high 34 laps.

"It was a good day," Elliott said. "Unfortunately I wasn't able to race there at the end like I really wanted to, but I'll take it."

Ranger and the No. 53 Waste Management/Bagster Dodge team took the lead for good on the 58th lap.

Hessert, a Cherry Hill native, was one of four New Jersey residents entered in Sunday's race. He said he loved being able to sleep in his own bed after qualifying and practice laps over the weekend.

"It's always great to run well close to home," Hessert said. "We had an awful lot of people from home here today."

Sunday's finish was Hessert's career best on a road course. He leaves Millville third in ARCA's season points standings.

"It's good to be second," Hessert said of his race finish. "We've run really well here in the past. It's a little frustrating (not to win), yeah, but maybe next time."

Ranger races on a few circuits and has a busy schedule. He said he's used the same car for all three of his wins at NJMP and hopes to use it in hopes of a four-peat next year.

The Canadian had the fastest car in qualifying Saturday, set a lap record, won the pole for the race and then capped it off by winning a record third straight race.

Not too shabby.

"It's great," Ranger said. "I'm just so proud of my team."

ARCA points leader Frank Kimmel finished fifth.

Justin Boston, Brian Wong, Mason Mingus (second on the season points list), Steve Minghenelli and 17-year-old Austin Wayne Self rounded out the top 10.

ARCAknown formally as Automobile Racing Club of America, now heads to Pocono Raceway for the Berlin ARCA 200 this weekend.

The NJMP, meanwhile, will host the New Jersey Lottery Vintage Motorcycle Festival from Friday through Sunday.

Contact John O’Kane:

609-272-7210

JOKane@pressofac.com

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