It appeared that 2015 APC United Late Model Series champion Dale Shaw had executed the perfect strategy and was going to take the first-ever eSeries race at the virtual USA International Speedway. He had survived the attrition throughout the 100-lap event by staying out front and not making a trip down pit road over the course of the event.
Unfortunately for Shaw, his luck would run out as he was forced to pit for fuel during a yellow before a green-white checkered finish, relegating him to a 16th place finish.
Shaw’s misfortune would be just what Cayden Lapcevich needed, who took the lead and held off Jo Lawrence and brother Treyten Lapcevich to score the win.
It was a completed comeback for the 2016 NASCAR Pinty’s Series champion, who ran up front early before an incident sent him to the back. When he was able to work toward the front, restarts became his biggest kryptonite.
“My restarts kind of really sucked tonight, not going to lie. All night they did, I couldn’t fire off, I don’t know why. I got behind (Shaw) there with 10, 11 to go and saw what he was doing on the restarts. It took me back to my Quarter Midget days because it was the same thing we used to do then,” Lapcevich said on the broadcast. “I just took that to the back of my mind because I knew he was close on fuel, I would’ve been really surprised if he made it.”
Lapcevich was going to run out of fuel himself before a fellow competitor reminded him to pit as the race went on. That driver would go on to finish second, right behind Lapcevich.
“I’d like to thank Jo Lawrence for giving me the heads-up that I wasn’t going to make it because I was so in the zone. I was really looking forward to this. It was a fun race, I have to thank APC for putting on this race.”
Lawrence visited pit road several times throughout the race due to various incidents, but was able to move through the field when it mattered most to give him a shot at the win.
“It was definitely a struggle to get through the field. It’s a tough track to pass at, everybody’s so equal once you get into the top-15,” Lawrence said. “I knew Cayden had fresher tires than me so it was going to be tough to pass him. I just didn’t quite get the start I needed.”
Treyten Lapcevich finished third, with Jay Cox and Jordan Howse rounding out the top five.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3