2011 NASCAR at Montreal Wrapup

For the fifth time, the stars of the NASCAR Nationwide Series went north of the border for a race in Montreal at the famed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The Nationwide Series features a hodgepodge of top NASCAR stars and up-and-comers. This race also featured some of Canada’s best racing talent with Jacques Villeneuve, Alex Tagliani, Patrick Carpentier, Andrew Ranger and Ron Fellows.

So who took the checkered flag? We have a race recap, analysis, results and driver comments after the jump.

NASCAR.com Live Blog

Pre-Race — Jacques Villeneuve is on the pole for today’s race, with Alex Tagliani sharing the front row. Jason Leffler, Scott Speed and Michael McDowell are third through fifth, while Robby Gordon, Steve Wallace, Patrick Carpentier, Owen Kelly and Justin Allgaier round out the top 10. Kelly qualified the car that will be driven by Marcos Ambrose, so Ambrose will have to start from the rear of the field.

Jean-Francois Dumoulin, Tim George Jr., Tomy Drissi, Brett Rowe and Chase Miller failed to qualify for the event.

2:21 p.m. — Trevor Bayne, Carl Edwards and Marcos Ambrose have arrived at the track, having taken a helicopter — and boat! — to get here. None of them have turned a lap here so far this weekend. They’ll also have to start at the back.

2:30 p.m. — Colors are being presented by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

2:31 p.m. — Monsignor Alain Faubert gives today’s invocation in both French and English.

2:32 p.m. — Andree-Anne Duquette is signing the American National Anthem.

2:34 p.m. — Andree-Anne Duqette also sings the Canadian National Anthem in French.

2:35 p.m. — Now it’s time for the English version of the Canadian National Anthem. As she finishes, two CF-18 jet fighters do the flyover from Turns 1 to 10.

2:41 p.m. — Robert Hattem, president and chief operating officer of UAP, gives the command to fire engines.

2:44 p.m. — Cars are now on the track for the start of the pace laps.

2:50 p.m. — Trevor Bayne is on pit road with a radio problem. Carl Edwards is also in, making adjustments to the cockpit of his car after it was qualified by Billy Johnson.

2:51 p.m. — Strategy will reportedly play out early. Word is that Steve Wallace will pit on the fourth lap to make his fuel window work for later in the race.

Lap 1 — GREEN FLAG: With Jacques Villeneuve and Alex Tagliani starting first and second, it’s the first time in the history of the Nationwide Series that a pair of Canadian drivers share the front row. The start of the race takes place at 2:53 p.m.

Lap 1 — Jacques Villeneuve wastes little time in clearing Alex Tagliani for the lead, taking the top spot by the first turn.

Lap 1 — Jason Leffler takes second place from Alex Tagliani.

Lap 2 — Carl Edwards and Trevor Bayne are on pit road to top off their fuel supplies. They should be able to make it the rest of the way on two more stops. After exiting pit road, Bayne spins. He’s able to get going again without bringing out the caution.

Lap 3 — Jacques Villeneuve has opened up a little bit of a lead.

Lap 4 — Alex Tagliani is on pit road for fuel only.

Lap 4 — Jacques Villeneuve’s advantage over Jason Leffler is now about a second.

Lap 6 — Marcos Ambrose is pitting. Meanwhile, the margin between first and second is growing. It’s now about 3.2 seconds from leader Jacques Villeneuve to second-place Jason Leffler.

Lap 7 — Patrick Carpentier gives up eighth place to roll into his pit stall. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is also making an early stop.

Lap 8 — Jacques Villeneuve gives up the lead to pit. That moves Jason Leffler to the top spot. Aric Almirola is also on the pit lane.

Lap 10 — Scott Speed is going after Jason Leffler for the race lead, but he can’t make the move stick just yet. Speed is driving the No. 33 Chevrolet fielded by Kevin Harvick Inc.

Lap 11 — Coming up fast in third place is Robby Gordon.

Lap 11 — Danica Patrick gets into the left rear quarter panel of Michael Annett, who spins, but does not bring out the yellow.

Lap 12 — Reed Sorenson makes his first stop of the day.

Lap 13 — Jason Leffler gives up the point to make his stop. Third-place Robby Gordon also stops.

Lap 13 — Former Price is Right model Maryeve Dufault spins. There’s no caution. Reed Sorenson has to pit again due to a missing lug nut.
[Why is it that Maryeve is treated by NASCAR.com and ESPN as tits and ass by calling her a former model? Danica’s rise to fame is almost entirely due to an FHM shoot back in the early 2000s. Nobody mentions that or the SI shoots, though. Awful double standard.]

Lap 14 — Boris Said and Ron Fellows are stopping.

Lap 14 — Scott Speed is currently the leader, with Andrew Ranger running second. Neither has yet stopped.

Lap 15 — YELLOW FLAG NO. 1: Maryeve Dufault spins again, and pulls across the track, where she is almost T-boned by oncoming traffic. Trevor Bayne makes contact with the rear of her car, damaging them both.
[It wasn’t particularly pretty. She couldn’t spin herself around or three-point turn it. Not the best way to stop people referring to her as T&A.]

Lap 16 — Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is on pit road with the hood up on his car.

Lap 16 — Trevor Bayne is on pit road as well, with fairly substantial damage to his car. He got off course trying to get back around the track.

Lap 17 — Scott Speed, Elliott Sadler, Danica Patrick, Kenny Wallace, Brian Scott and others are on pit road. Boris Said’s crew is working under the hood on his car.

Lap 19 — GREEN FLAG: Jacques Villeneuve, Alex Tagliani, Steve Wallace, Patrick Carpentier and Michael McDowell are the leaders on the restart. Jason Leffler, Robby Gordon, Marcos Ambrose, Ron Fellows and Aric Almirola round out the top 10.

Lap 19 — Jacques Villeneuve takes the lead in the scramble, but Alex Tagliani drops back. Steve Wallace moves up to second, Michael McDowell to third.

Lap 20 — Michael McDowell moves past Steve Wallace for second place.

Lap 20 — Alex Kennedy spins, but there’s not a caution.

Lap 21 — Marcos Ambrose is now running third, just behind second-place Michael McDowell.

Lap 23 — Jacques Villeneuve has built a 1.2-second leader over Michael McDowell.

Lap 24 — Andrew Ranger has pulled his car off the course, apparently with a blown engine. His car is safely out of the way, so again, the incident does not bring out a yellow flag.
[Ranger won the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race earlier in the day and was running strong in this race. He would’ve easily had a top 10 if he didn’t have car troubles.]

Lap 25 — Danica Patrick is on pit road.

Lap 25 — Bump Marcos Ambrose into second place. He’s about 1.4 seconds behind leader Jacques Villeneuve.

Lap 26 — Trevor Bayne is making another stop. He had gotten out of shape in one of the turns, and slapped the back end of his car.

Lap 27 — Elliott Sadler is pitting.

Lap 28 — Jacques Villeneuve is once again building his cushion over second place, which is currently held by Marcos Ambrose. The gap is now just a little over three seconds.

Lap 29 — Alex Tagliani and Scott Speed pit.

Lap 29 — Robby Gordon wrestles third place away from Michael McDowell.
[His #7 Sprint Cup car DNQ’d in the Pure Michigan 400 so this was his weekend here.]

Lap 30 — Marcos Ambrose gives up second place to make his second stop of the day. Steve Wallace is also on pit road.

Lap 31 — Michael McDowell pulls his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota onto pit road. Steve Wallace will have to serve a pass-through penalty for leaving pit road too fast.

Lap 32 — Leader Jacques Villeneuve is on pit road, handing the lead to Robby Gordon. The stop is off, taking more than 19 seconds to complete.

Lap 33 — Ron Fellows is pitting.

Lap 35 — Robby Gordon is still the leader, with Jason Leffler more than 11 seconds back.

Lap 36 — Robby Gordon and Jason Leffler, running first and second, are on pit road. The lead goes to Jacques Villeneuve.

Lap 37 — The crossed flags are out … the race has reached the halfway point.

Lap 39 — Jacques Villeneuve, Marcos Ambrose, Michael McDowell, Alex Tagliani and Kyle Kelley are running first through fifth.

Lap 41 — YELLOW FLAG NO. 2: Louis Philippe Dumoulin has crashed.

Lap 43 — There’s a storm reported about 40 miles from the race track.
[As seems to always be the case when NASCAR comes to Montreal, the weather looks like it may play a factor in the outcome.]

Lap 43 — Michael McDowell and Scott Speed give up third and fifth, respectively, to make pit stops. Carl Edwards, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Trevor Bayne, Reed Sorenson and others are also getting their cars serviced.

Lap 44 — GREEN FLAG: Jacques Villeneuve, Marcos Ambrose, Alex Tagliani, Ron Fellows and Robby Gordon lead the field to the restart. Rain tires are starting to appear on pit road.

Lap 44 — Jacques Villeneuve gets off course and then slams into the side of Marcos Ambrose. Villeneuve spins again after getting tagged by Ambrose later in the lap and collects Elliott Sadler.
[Villeneuve ran wide in Turn 1 and slid through the Senna Hairpin on the grass into Ambrose. So Ambrose, being the clean and fair racer that he is, punted Villeneuve in the left-right chicane at Turn 5. In the grand scheme of “have at it boys,” it was a fair move. One person on Twitter referred to JV as “abruti” which is French for “stupid.” I insist that Ambrose is “con” which is French for something that one wouldn’t say in polite company. If you want to know what it means, use Google Translate. Describes Ambrose correctly considering how his day turned out relative to Villeneuve’s.]

Lap 45 — Ron Fellows is now the leader, with Patrick Carpentier second. Alex Tagliani takes second from Carpentier.

Lap 46 — Jacques Villeneuve is on pit road. Alex Tagliani takes the lead from Ron Fellows coming out of the last turn.

Lap 47 — Alex Tagliani is driving the Penske Racing entry normally steered by Brad Keselowski. Tagliani sat on the pole for this year’s Indianapolis 500.
[That would be the only time that NASCAR would acknowledge a different series. Even though Ranger won in the Canadian Tire Series or Villeneuve is a Formula One World Champion and Indy 500 winner.]

Lap 49 — Kenny Wallace and Reed Sorenson are involved in a scrape, but they get going again. Danica Patrick also has a problem, but is is able to get going again.

Lap 50 — Danica Patrick is on pit road.
[Yes, that will be an event in every Nationwide Series race next season. She’s moving over from IndyCar. Deal with it, open-wheel faithful. Our biggest draw is jumping ship for more cash.]

Lap 51 — Robby Gordon has moved up to second place, and he’s closing in on Alex Tagliani for the lead. Scott Speed is on pit road.

Lap 51 — YELLOW FLAG NO. 3: Boris Said can’t make the turn into Turn 10, and get stuck in a gravel trap.

Lap 52 — Alex Tagliani leads most of the field down pit road. Ron Fellows, Michael McDowell and Michael Annett stay on the track. Ron Fellows’ crew believes that rain will shorten the race.

Lap 55 — GREEN FLAG: Ron Fellows, Michael McDowell, Michael Annett lead the field to the restart.

Lap 55 — Steve Wallace goes three wide through the grass into the final corner, and spins Patrick Carpentier in the process. There’s no caution.

Lap 56 — YELLOW FLAG NO. 4: Alex Kennedy has crashed in Turn 8. Timmy Hill is also involved in the mishap.

Lap 58 — Patrick Carpentier is on pit road.

Lap 58 — Ron Fellows has been told the save gas and pray for rain. He can only go another three laps or so without stopping.

Lap 59 — GREEN FLAG: Ron Fellows, Michael McDowell, Alex Tagliani, Trevor Bayne and Michael Annett lead the field to the restart. Justin Allgaier, Steve Wallace, Jason Leffler, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Aric Almirola run sixth through tenth.

Lap 59 — Alex Tagliani bangs doors with Ron Fellows to take the lead.
[Two Canadians go at it hard for the point got the Montreal crowd on its feet. Mind you, they were the liveliest Nationwide Series crowd all season.]

Lap 60 — Ron Fellows is pitting. Carl Edwards misses Turn 1.
[He missed it while flipping off Villeneuve who was blocked by the slow car of Scott Speed coming out of the final chicane. Two hands on the wheel, Carl. When you win a real championship, then you can talk to a Formula One World Champion as a peer. Before then, he is your unquestioned superior.]

Lap 61 — Marcos Ambrose, who took the restart in 12th place, has moved up to third place.

Lap 61 — Alex Kennedy has had another problem, heavily damaging his car. His trying to make it back around to pit road.

Lap 61 — YELLOW FLAG NO. 5: There’s debris from Alex Kennedy’s car on the track.

Lap 62 — Look for other leaders who’ll have to pit for fuel.

Lap 64 — GREEN FLAG: Alex Tagliani, Michael McDowell, Marcos Ambrose, Justin Allgaier and Robby Gordon are the leaders when the green flag comes back out. There are ten laps left.

Lap 64 — Michael McDowell swings high in the first turn, allowing Marcos Ambrose the room to take the lead from Alex Tagliani.
[Not entirely accurate. Ambrose bumped Tag out of the way in the Senna Hairpin for the lead. That’s the second Canadian driver that he dumped on the day. I was surprised he got out of town alive. Montreal is notorious for sports riots.]

Lap 64 — Michael McDowell goes by Alex Tagliani for second place.

Lap 65 — Robby Gordon grabs third place from Alex Tagliani.

Lap 65 — Alex Tagliani and Robby Gordon make contact racing for third place, and Tagliani retakes the spot.

Lap 67 — Maryeve Dufault has spun in the same corner as she did earlier. She gets back under way without bringing out the yellow flag.
[Earlier, she got dumped. This time, we didn’t get a replay. At least Maryeve’s spin was appended with someone noting that she was a model this time.]

Lap 67 — YELLOW FLAG NO. 6: Robby Gordon’s car has flames trailing out from under it. He had got into the rear of Alex Tagliani’s car.
[Robby looked like he disconnected an oil line after pounding into the back of Tag. Afterwards, he bitched that Tag didn’t race him clean. Robby loves to run into people but has a real problem if someone hits him. If he’d just have a “have at it” mentality, I’d like him a lot more.]

Lap 70 — Extra laps are being run to allow time for the track to be cleaned.

Lap 72 — GREEN FLAG: Marcos Ambrose, Michael McDowell, Alex Tagliani, Justin Allgaier and Steve Wallace hold down the top-five spots. Aric Almirola, Brian Scott, Elliott Sadler, J.R. Fitzpatrick and Reed Sorenson are sixth through tenth.

Lap 72 — Michael McDowell gets into the oil-drying substance, getting him out of shape and allowing Alex Tagliani to take second place. Reed Sorenson loops his car in the last corner.

Lap 73 — Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spins, but keeps going. There’s damage on his car.

Lap 74 — CHECKERED FLAG: Marcos Ambrose scores the victory. It comes just a week after his first Sprint Cup Series win, also on a road course.
[He did some donuts and the crowd cheered. I’m surprised he wasn’t booed or pelted with debris. We Canadians are sometimes too polite.]

Driver Tweets

J.R. Fitzpatrick (@J_R_Fitzpatrick) – Hey @TSN_News. IM CANADIAN.. Not impressed by not getting any play for @GoCanadaRacing first top 5 on home turf. Had a great run In the @NASCAR_NNS series today, Top 5 really pumped for everyone.. was fast alll day. Few little moments of doubt when the battery. Died. But the team got it all fixed ad we charged hard.. so pumped up.
[This was a series of three tweets and slightly edited for some overlap between tweets. And, as always, TSN embarrasses itself as a sports channel with lackluster racing coverage. Always the bare minimum so there are viewers tuning in but absolutely no value added for viewers.]

Scott Speed (@ScottSpeed) – Sooo ready to be home! Definitely had a shot to win, had everyone but the 9 covered hands down. Thx to the 66 for doin what he does best 😉 Put everything I had into that race… Was so upset at all the dumb mistakes people were making that ruined ours and other good cars day! Thanks everyone for your support.. Congrats to Ambrose! He is definitely in a different league road racing these big heavy cars! Happy 4 him And high five to Jerry Baxter!! He is the man!! Herd he reached into the 66 and pulled dumb dumbs hair!!! Good for him!! That’s awesome
[Jerry is Carpentier’s crew chief. He grabbed Steve Wallace’s hair as he was driving by to stop him so the two could have a conversation about Wallace’s lack of talent and respect. Well, that’s what I think Baxter was yelling at him about.]

Brian Scott (@bscottracing) – I guess it didn’t show what happened. Running 5th into the last corner and a bonsai from Algaier 15 car lengths back wrecked us….. There are no words to describe how frustrated I am right now.

Kenny Wallace (@Kenny_Wallace) – That’s all I had, I drove hard and finished 16th!..Thank you RAB_Racing..Next week is “My Track” 🙂 My Nephew @SteveWallace66 Done a good Job today!..he is FAST and Controversial in a Good Way!..If you met him you would love Him
[We might love Steve if we met him if we didn’t meet him on the track. If we ran into him on the track… Well, he’d be the one doing the running into to, wouldn’t he?]

Timmy Hill (@TimmyHill15) – Had a top ten car but finished 22nd. Great effort today! I had to stand up for myself, I’m just not getting pushed around anymore!

Josh Wise (@Josh_Wise) – Back in the USA! Broke swaybar and a penalty today. Had fun roadracing but ready to get back to what I know at Bristol!

Robby Gordon (@RobbyGordon) – brake checked me or missed a shift. Not sure but he just stopped. Should have won. Hope you guys liked watching. Thx 4 support.

Results

  1. #9 Marcos Ambrose
  2. #12 Alex Tagliani
  3. #18 Michael McDowell
  4. #66 Steven Wallace
  5. #67 J.R. Fitzpatrick
  6. #33 Scott Speed
  7. #60 Carl Edwards
  8. #31 Justin Allgaier
  9. #38 Jason Leffler
  10. #2 Elliot Sadler
  11. #5 Ron Fellows
  12. #11 Brian Scott
  13. #64 Jason Bowles
  14. #97 Kyle Kelley
  15. #19 Mike Bliss
  16. #09 Kenny Wallace
  17. #01 Mike Wallace
  18. #62 Michael Annett
  19. #39 Luis Martinez
  20. #88 Aric Almirola
  21. #87 Joe Nemechek
  22. #15 Timmy Hill
  23. #16 Trevor Bayne
  24. #7 Danica Patrick
  25. #32 Reed Sorenson (-1 lap)
  26. #6 Ricky Stenhouse (-2 laps)
  27. #22 Jacques Villeneuve (-2 laps)
  28. #52 Louis-Philippe Dumoulin (-2 laps)
  29. #40 Josh Wise (-2 laps)
  30. #81 Maryeve Dufault (-5 laps)
  31. #77 Robby Gordon (-7 laps, Contact)
  32. #99 Patrick Carpentier (-9 laps, Contact)
  33. #23 Alex Kennedy (-10 laps, Suspension)
  34. #75 Tomy Drissi (-10 laps, Mechanical)
  35. #28 Derrike Cope (-15 laps, Transmission)
  36. #14 Eric McClure (-20 laps)
  37. #30 Boris Said (-23 laps, Contact)
  38. #70 Blake Koch (-27 laps, Electrical)
  39. #51 Jeremy Clements (-29 laps, Mechanical)
  40. #13 D.J. Kennington (-46 laps, Suspension)
  41. #53 Andrew Ranger (-51 laps, Engine)
  42. #89 Morgan Shepherd (-69 laps, Start and Park)
  43. #44 Jeff Green, (-73 laps, Start and Park)

One thought on “2011 NASCAR at Montreal Wrapup

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