Aug 28 2010:  NAPA Autopro 100, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, QC - NASCAR Canadian Tire Series - Garage. (Photo by: Matthew Murnaghan/NASCAR)

Setting the Scene: 2010 Pinty’s Racing Replay from Montreal

With four races left on the schedule, the battle for the 2010 championship title was really heating up coming into Montreal.

When it was all said and done at the famous, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in the heart of Montreal, things were even hotter after one of the most intense finishes in series history.

Round 10 was then part of an annual doubleheader with the NASCAR Xfinity Series at the Quebec road course.

The reigning champion of the NASCAR Pinty’s Series – then under the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series banner – was Andrew Ranger, who was heading into his final race of the 2010 season. The 23-year-old from Roxton Pond, Quebec, only had five series starts with Dave Jacombs lined up that season, while also racing part-time in the then NASCAR K&N Pro Series with NDS Motorsports. He was lining up to make his third Xfinity Series start at Montreal as well.

Ranger continued to show his dominance in all three series earlier that season. In Canada, he already had two wins under his belt at Toronto and GP3R. In K&N Pro East he claimed his first series win at Connecticut’s Lime Rock Park a month earlier and also picked up a West win at Sonoma Raceway.

And Ranger was a strong pick to win at Montreal after a win in 2008 and two runner-up finishes (2007 & ’09).

RACING-REFERENCE: Race Results at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve | 2010 NASCAR Pinty’s Results

The defending race winner, J.R. Fitzpatrick, was atop the point standings heading into Montreal, after scoring two wins: at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and at Edmonton City Centre Airport. In 2009, Fitzpatrick had only run four races but now he was back full-time and looking to make a big charge for the championship. He had been trading the points lead back and forth with D.J. Kennington since the season opener at Delaware Speedway.

However, Fitzpatrick had managed to keep ahold of the top spot since GP3R at the beginning of August.

Kennington was also in search of his first championship. Heading into Montreal he had the most wins that season with three (Delaware, Autodrome St-Eustache, and Saskatoon.

After falling short to Andrew Ranger for the title the previous season, Kennington was on the right course to fight for the championship, with only a 16 point difference between him and Fitzpatrick.

Don Thomson Jr. was coming off a win at Mosport Speedway, the oval at CTMP, and was sitting in fifth in the standings. Despite finishing in 18th at Montreal the year before, Thomson had two decent runs at the track in ’07 and ’08 finishing sixth and fifth, respectively. Searching for his second championship, Scott Steckly had already claimed a checkered flag at Motoplex Speedway in Vernon British Columbia, sitting fourth in points.

Steckly was hoping to improve his second-place performance in 2008 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve by one position and begin to close the points gap.

But Montreal also brought out the road-course drivers from the U.S.

Most notably in 2010 was 2009 NASCAR West champion Jason Bowles. He was making his third Pinty’s Series start of the season with Gaunt Brothers Racing, and already had finishes of second (Toronto) and third (CTMP). Four of his nine West wins were on road courses.