The Meineke 100 at Flamboro Speedway on June 10th, 2017 saw a full field of the best Pro Late Model drivers in the province do battle on the tight quarters of the Millgrove, Ontario track for the second round of the 2017 tour. 26 gladiators took time in Bennett GM Pole Qualifying, all with the same common goal of achieving success that they could carry through to the next event in just a week’s time.
Bennett GM Pole Qualifying set the grid for the Meineke 100, with the top 5 drivers pulling pills to determine their positions. It would be Brandon Watson setting quick time, becoming the first driver in APC Series history to go into the 14 second bracket in an official time trial session. 12 drivers broke the existing track record with Watson being the fastest at 14.965 seconds. Andrew Gresel, Matt Lockwood, Josh Stade and JR Fitzpatrick rounded out the top 5 qualifiers.
The Meineke 100 began with Matt Lockwood in the first position after drawing the number one pill with Josh Stade in second. On the start Lockwood jumped out front of the field and held the top position as the drivers ran side by side 12 rows behind. On lap 21 it appeared as though Shawn Chenoweth was having tire smoke come from the right front on corner exit. The driver of the #89c would try and outlast the issue until lap 27 when the tire let go and the caution was shown for the first time. Chenoweth entered the pit area and spotter Mike Schmidt would inform the crowd it was a broken sway bar, resulting in a DNF of 26th place for the Plattsville, Ontario driver.
On the ensuing restart, Matt Lockwood appeared to slow for a brief moment, allowing the 2016 champion Andrew Gresel to shut the door to the inside and assume the top position. Lockwood would slip back a few more positions as Brandon Watson, JR Fitzpatrick and a few others hung him to dry on the highside. Tom Gibbons and Jaxson Jacobs both suffered mechanical issues before lap 30, ending their Meineke 100.
Lap 34 started a backwards slide for JR Fitzpatrick while he was running third, falling to the seventh position by lap 40. Lap 47 saw the race’s second caution as Gary Elliot went around on the front straightaway and into the infield grass. Several drivers used the caution as an opportunity to make adjustments including Jason Parker. 49 laps into the 100 lap race, Michael Gold exited the racing surface and did not return. On lap 63 Jason Parker slowed and pulled into the infield, ending his event early after fightng with his car in the early portion of the race.
Lap 70 saw the battle for the race lead heat up as Brandon Watson hounded Andrew Gresel, and finally was able to move to the inside. Watson led lap 71 after clearing the #81 Ford Fusion. One lap later the caution flag would fly as Hudson Nagy went around on the back straightaway and came to rest on the inside grass. On lap 74 the caution was displayed for the final time as a piece of debris found its way onto the racing surface.
MacMaster of Orangeville Rookie of the Year contender Patrick Freel exited the track on lap 91, ending his evening. Within five laps to go Shawn McGlynn muscled his way into the top five, earning his second straight fifth place finish. Brandon Watson would take his #9 to Sauble Beach Motorsports Victory Lane for the second straight event on the APC Series tour, as Andrew Gresel, Billy Schwartzenburg, Shae Gemmell and Shawn McGlynn rounded out the top five.
The next event for the APC Series comes in just one week at the track known as “Canada’s Toughest ⅓ Mile” – Peterborough Speedway. The Hy-Grade Roofing 100 on June 17th will be the third stop on the 2017 campaign, a race that is usually circled on the calendars of drivers for various reasons. The event will get started at 6:00pm, details can be found on www.APCRacingSeries.com
APC Racing Series Press Release. Photo Credit: Dave Franks Photography