A year later, the 2015 Clarington 200 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park still gets brought up as the quintessential NASCAR Pinty’s Series race.
The final lap began with veterans Scott Steckly and Andrew Ranger beating on each other like they were at Martinsville but ended with them crashing in the final corner — sending rookie Gary Klutt to his first-ever series victory.
Ranger first got even with Steckly in Turn 9 but not before making contact off the exit of the chute. Steckly stayed even with his rival going into 10 and door-slammed both cars into the tire barrier on the exit of Turn 10.
It’s a finish that has to be seen to be believed and the video can be viewed below.
While the veterans argued in the paddock, Klutt celebrated in Victory Lane enjoying a moment he says he still can’t believe actually happened — even if he suspected it was possible upon taking the white flag.
“It definitely didn’t catch me by surprise,” Klutt told Short Track Scene on Wednesday. “If you’ve watched any race at Mosport, you know that’s a possibility. I needed them to lean on each other for me to get back to them on that last lap and that’s how it played out.”
A year later, Steckly and Ranger still have mixed emotions on how that last lap played out. Already known for his aggressive driving style, Ranger said he was just racing hard and that Steckly simply retaliated for his bold overtake maneuver.
“It’s always exciting at Mosport on the last lap because something always happens,” Ranger said. “I tried to pass him on the last corner. I got under him and he didn’t like that so he destroyed both of our cars. It was a spectacular finish but that’s not the kind of thing you want to be remembered for.”
In hindsight, Steckly is willing to take part of blame, just from the perspective that he should have never let Ranger get under him in the first place.
“I’m still disappointed because I really wanted to win my first road course race but I’ll take some of the blame only because I didn’t think he was that close,” Steckly said. “I should have driven a more defensive line. I just didn’t think, after the lap before, that he was going to get close enough to make that kind of move.”
Even though it didn’t go their way, Ranger and Steckly are both somewhat proud to have been a part of something so memorable. The finish was aired on NASCAR America and picked up by several news outlets.
It brought a lot of positive attention to the tour and two of their more aggressive and hard-charging contenders, so they’re both okay with that.
“There are a lot of things you want to be remembered for,” Ranger said. “I’d rather be remembered for a win or a championship but this did show people how exciting our races are.”
The defending champion took it a step further.
“People got a chance to see how competitive we are,” Steckly said. “This is what it’s like every week in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series. It’s so competitive. These races are hard to win so a race like that showed you just how far we are willing to go to make it happen.
“So I’m proud from that perspective — that we showed people who we are and what we’re about.”