With the COVID-19 pandemic having shut down the United Stated-Canada border, former NASCAR Pinty’s Series champion Cayden Lapcevich has spent the time south of the border in Northern Indiana, racing for Bobby Blount in the famed “Sweet 16” Outlaw Super Late Model.
Tuesday night, Lapcevich and Blount broke out the template car – a new Rowdy Manufacturing machine that had just three races on it from 2019 – and finished second in his ARCA Midwest Tour debut in the Gandrud Auto Group 250.
After starting seventh, he used strategy to get himself into the top three, where he remained throughout the majority of the race. He got by Paul Shafer, Jr. on the final restart with less than 50 laps to go and held off the former Midwest Tour regular for his best finish in a template-bodied Super Late Model.
The strong run surprised even himself, with practice not going the way they had wanted it to during the day.
“I don’t even know where that came from. We started practice really good, struggled through the day and made a mock at the end and didn’t have great speed in it,” Lapcevich told Speed51. “I pulled a really good qualifying lap out, not sure where that came from either because I’m not a good qualifier.
“We had a good strategy and we stuck with it the whole race, didn’t let anything change our plan. I think that’s what got us this good run. Track position was key tonight, it was hard to pass. We’re happy with the run, we’ve got a good base to work off of. That was the first time we’ve had this car out this year so I can’t be upset with it.”
Lapcevich first drove for Blount during the Outlaw Super Late Model portion of the Canadian Short Track Nationals back in 2018, and that’s where they have done the majority of their racing together. The duo scored multiple wins throughout the Midwest in their first full season one year ago, most notably a win in the Glass City 200 last September.
He and Blount started their fray into the template world together at the Canadian Short Track Nationals, qualifying sixth and running strong early before falling out of the race. Tuesday night’s Gandrud 250 was the fourth race in the template car, and his second-place run was his second top-five in the car.
The two now live together in Plymouth, Indiana, about 20 miles from where Mark Martin lived in a house that was rented to him by car builder Ray Dillon during his ASA days in the late 1970’s. Lapcevich credits his connection with Blount to their success.
“He’s become almost like a dad to me. I live with him at his place, we eat dinner every day together and I couldn’t ask for a better guy to be with. He’s really smart, he’s surrounded me with an awesome group of people and I really can’t thank him enough for all that.”
It’s a short turnaround for Lapcevich, who heads to the Hoosier State for Thursday’s Summer Sizzler at New Paris Speedway. However, he will not be in the “Sweet 16” after an accident in the Jim Blount Memorial at South Bend Motor Speedway on July 25 – the race named after Bobby’s father.
As he goes after a second Outlaw Super Late Model crown jewel, he joins forces with a Northern Michigan shoe for the Sizzler. After his second-place run Tuesday night at Wisconsin International Raceway, he goes to New Paris with new-found confidence.
“We’ve had a couple bad runs lately. We tore up the Outlaw a couple weeks ago and I can’t thank Todd Rosebrugh enough, he’s going to let me use his car for the Sizzler on Thursday. That’s a confidence booster, I really needed this.”
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51 / Ryan Nuttleman