The APC United Late Model Tour kicked off its third season on Saturday night at the Sunset International Speedway. With plenty of new faces in the field and a brand new qualifying format, race fans from across the province were excited to kick off 2017 in style.
The series made the decision in the off season to change the qualifying format from the standard, one car at a time to the new group qualifying style that is now being used in several different series, including the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The new format proved to be a success, and veteran Jaime Cox set the new track record with a time of 14.221.
“I think it went really well, they clicked things off really fast and I think everyone knew to spread out in order to put a good lap down.” Cox told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “It’s good, I’m glad we got something out of the car because it was horrible earlier (in practice) and we threw some stuff at it that should work and it did.”
After the invert, Andy Kamrath and 13-year-old Treyten Lapcevich set the front row and led the field to green for 100 laps of racing. Kamrath was quickly able to jump to the lead over the young rookie.
The caution flag flew on lap 14 when Rick Burbridge was sent into the inside wall off of the nose of Nick Goetz, ending his night early, while Goetz was sent to the rear for his involvement. Kamrath would continue to lead until lap 39 when Matt Pritiko went to the bottom side of the No. 35 machine and take over top spot.
Pritiko pulled away from the field as Brandon Watson, Andrew Gresel and Andy Kamrath all battled for second position. Watson was eventually able to claim the spot, which set him alongside Pritiko on what ended up being the final restart of the race on lap 51.
Watson was able to get a great jump on the restart and take the lead over Pritiko. As the field began to spread out, Watson was able to extend his lead and successfully navigate through lapped traffic en route to his second feature win in the APC United Late Model Tour. Matt Pritiko and Shawn Chenoweth who came from the rear of the field after a spin on lap 1 rounded out the top three while defending series champion Andrew Gresel finished fourth and Shawn McGlynn fifth.
“It’s big for us to be back in victory lane, good way to return to the series after taking last year off,” Watson stated. “It’s good to be back with the APC Series it’s a really fun series with lots of good competition so it’s a really good way to start the season.”
One of the championship favorites, Matt Pritiko finished second after leading laps early on.
“Such a strong start to 2017 after last year’s disappointment, we may have taken the rear tires off it a little too soon but we were definitely a second-place car.” Pritiko told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
Perhaps the story of the race went to the London Recreational Racing No. 39C of Shawn Chenoweth who after a spin on the initial restart, charged his way to a third-place finish.
“We built this brand new car, a Shaw (chassis) car because they work at the end of the race and there was no doubt about it in this one, this car has a total of 30 laps on it before today so if we can build off of this we should be able to have some good runs,” Chenoweth stated.
The APC United Late Model Tour will head to Flamboro Speedway for round two of the 2017 campaign in two weeks, for the running of the Meineke 100.
-By Jaxson Jacobs, Speed51.com Canadian Correspondent
-Photo credit: Dave Franks Photography
APC United Late Model Series Results
Sunset International Speedway (ON) – May 27, 2017
Pos No. Driver
1 9 Brandon Watson
2 21 Matt Pritiko
3 89C Shawn Chenoweth
4 81 Andrew Gresel
5 23 Shawn McGlynn
6 35 Andy Kamrath
7 22 Jamie Cox
8 31W Rick Spencer-Walt
9 17 Josh Stade
10 22M Chris Mitchell
11 32 Treyten Lapcevich
12 86 Billy Schwartzenburg
13 3 Shae Gemmell
14 18 Patrick Freel
15 8 Jason Parker
16 48 Dwayne Baker
17 72 Junior Farrelly
18 27 Mat Box
19 5 Paighton Jacobs
20 37 J.R. Fitzpatrick
21 24 Nick Goetz
22 10 Tom Gibbons
23 3H Jason Hathaway
24 2 Rick Burbridge