It appeared as though Michigan driver Steve Needles was going to cruise to his first win in the Outlaw Super Late Model portion of the Glass City 200 on Saturday night at Toledo Speedway. But like they have in the past, mechanical gremlins once again sidelined Needles and opened the door for Canadian driver Cayden Lapcevich to score his biggest victory on American soil.
Prior to Saturday night, Needles had been close to winning the Glass City 200 several times but mechanical failures had ended his race short of the finish. Unfortunately, it was the same song and dance in 2019 as he pulled onto pit road with a mechanical issue while leading with 13 laps to go, ending his race early after leading half the race.
Taking advantage of Needles’ misfortune was Lapcevich, who moved from third to the outside front row for the late restart. The Grimsby, Ontario driver outdueled two-time Glass City 200 winner J.R. Roahrig on the restart to take the lead and would go on to earn a big victory in the famed Bobby Blount No.16.
The 2016 NASCAR Pinty’s Series champion started seventh after the invert and quickly made his way into the top five. Several top drivers fell out early due to mechanical issues, including former race winners Tyler Roahrig and Dennis Strickland, as well as former Kalamazoo Klash champion Jeff Ganus. It was another mechanical failure that brought out the caution that changed everything after former ARCA Gold Cup champion Frank Jiovani came to a stop in turn three.
The caution came as a gift to Lapcevich, who admitted he more than likely would not have won if the late cautions had not fell the way they did.
“We just rode at the start just trying to click some laps off,” Lapcevich told Speed51.com. “We hoped for some of a later, but earlier caution with like 25 to go. I kind of figured out we weren’t the greatest getting up to speed, so that long green flag run there at the end I was like ‘Alright cool, I’m happy with third. We’ve struggled all day and had some really bad luck so to finish one I would be happy.’
“The cautions fell our way, I had good restarts,” he continued. “That second to last restart where I was on top of the No. 25 (J.R. Roahrig), I just hoped and prayed and drove it in on the top and hope it stuck, and it did. It’s all I could ask for.”
It was the Canadian’s third Outlaw Super Late Model win and second in the United States, with other wins coming in the Ontario Outlaw Super Late Model Series at Flamboro Speedway (ON) and at a weekly show at Midvale Speedway (OH).
Saturday night’s Glass City 200 win comes as redemption after nearly lapping the field in a race at the half-mile before breaking coming to the white flag in June. He made it a personal mission to come back and win one of Outlaw Super Late Model racing’s biggest races after June’s heartbreak.
“I said I’d be back for redemption and that’s what I did. I was bound and determined to win this one,” he said. “After coming so close just to have left heartbroken, I had dug like I never dug before, I drove everything I could out of this race car and got the absolute most I could get out of it. It was definitely needed; we’ve been struggling lately.”
Kyle Crump passed J.R. Roahrig in the final laps to finish second in his first Outlaw Super Late Model start at Toledo. Roahrig, Brian Bergakker, and Mike Root rounded out the top five. Bergakker earned the ARCA Gold Cup championship in the Adam Terry No. 4 after blowing a motor in his primary car in practice.
Outlaw Super Late Models – Glass City 100 Results:
10.Tommy O’Leary IV
15.Don St. Denis
20.Jack Varney Jr
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com