Delaware, ON – The APC United Late Model Series returned to its birthplace, Delaware Speedway, to celebrate the Canada Day weekend with the Spectra Premium 100, the fourth event on the 2018 circuit. A large field was in attendance, all looking for glory on the special weekend as the championship battle is now in full song through the summer months.
Bennett GM Pole Qualifying would set the starting lineup for the Spectra Premium 100 with all drivers chasing the track record of 18.238, a time set back on September 20th of 2015 by Dale Shaw. Drivers had to battle extreme heat during the day and into the qualifying session. Points leader, JR Fitzpatrick, would win the Pole Award with a time of 18.415, bettering Shae Gemmell, Treyten Lapcevich, Jordan Sims, and Andrew Gresel.
The Spectra Premium 100 started with Shae Gemmell on the pole beside 11-time Delaware Speedway champion, Jamie Cox. The race got off to a disastrous start as contact in the middle of the field between JR Fitzpatrick and Jordan Sims resulted in a chain reaction in the back of the field, ending with Rick Burbridge going airborne over the rear of another car and into the turn one wall.
The restart saw Jamie Cox lead a lap before there was a major pileup, again in turn one, as Shawn Chenoweth was sideways on the front straightaway and eight cars piled in with nowhere to go. Shae Gemmell would lead after the restart before Jamie Cox took the spot away just a lap later. Brandon Watson moved into the top five on lap six as the front two cars separated themselves slightly from the remainder of the field.
Lap 14 was trouble for Shae Gemmell as he was freight trained on the high side and slid back to the fifth position as JR Fitzpatrick and Brandon Watson ran ahead. Brandon Watson used the bumper to pass JR Fitzpatrick for the third spot on lap 15 and set his sights on the front two, who had checked out on the field. Watson began to slow on lap 23 and would eventually spin on lap 27 bringing out the caution for third time.
2018 MacMaster of Orangeville Rookie of the Year contender, Jake Sheridan, would lead the race on lap 28 before the caution came out a lap later when Jamie Cox went around in turn three while racing for second. The fifth caution came out on lap 29 for a spin by Paighton Jacobs. The restart would allow JR Fitzpatrick to take the lead on the high side after several laps of side by side action with Sheridan. Sheridan would regain the top spot on lap 55 as Fitzpatrick slid back to third after Shae Gemmell moved up to second in the running order.
The caution flag was displayed for the sixth time on lap 72 when Steve Laking spun off of turn two, setting up for a wild finish to the Spectra Premium 100. On the restart Matt Pritiko had a mechanical failure and would enter the infield as Shae Gemmell led the next lap. Sheridan took the spot back and once again paced the race on lap 74. The caution came out for the seventh time on lap 74 and would set up for a restart that changed the running order in the top eight drastically. A short run saw Watson move up through the top five before the final caution of the race came out on lap 77.
Brandon Watson took the lead on the restart, getting the better of Jake Sheridan and making the high side stick. Sheridan would stay right on the tail of Watson as he looked for his first career win in just his fourth start on the tour. Heartbreak for Shae Gemmell came on lap 79 when contact with the wall ended his strong run. Watson would hold off Sheridan for the victory, his tenth career APC Series win with Jordan Sims, Treyten Lapcevich, and JR Fitzpatrick rounding out the top five spots.
The APC Series will take a two week break before heading back to Flamboro Speedway on July 21st for the London Recreational Racing 100, event five of nine in 2018. More information on the event can be found on www.APCRacingSeries.com and as always, race fans are encouraged to stay tuned to series social channels for all the latest.
-APC United Late Model Series Press Release
-Photo credit: Dave Franks Photography