HEPWORTH, ON - The APC United Late Model Series Presented by Grisdale Racing Products made its annual trek to Sauble Speedway for round six on the 2018 tour across Ontario. A full field of Pro Late Models were on hand for the Spira Fire Protection Beat the Heat 100 and looked to one up last season’s caution free spectacle at the beach.
Bennett GM Pole Qualifying set the stage for the Spira Fire Protection Beat the Heat 100 as Brandon Watson set quick time with a 14.146 over Junior Farrelly, Ryan Kimball, Tom Gibbons, and points leader, JR Fitzpatrick. Watson was the only driver to dip under 14.2 seconds as the entire field behind was within just over four tenths of a second of each other all the way back to the 26th place qualifier. Billy Schwartzenburg failed to qualify as the team thrashed in the pit area with a power steering issue on the Spira Fire Protection number 86.
The field of 27 came to life with Southhampton, Ontario driver Tom Gibbons at the command alongside Ryan Kimball. Gibbons would lead his first lap of the 2018 season as Kimball battled back on the high side. The first yellow flag came out on lap two when Treyten Lapcevich lost brakes and spun in turn three. Lane Zardo’s night ended early as a result of cars scrambling to miss the Lapcevich car that came to rest in the middle of the racing groove.
Ryan Kimball took command of the race after the ensuing restart before the yellow was shown again on lap five as Blair Wickett went around in turn two. The restart was trouble as Jade Franklin spun in turn one, with all in the field avoiding contact. Brandon Watson entered the top three on lap 15 with a bump and run on Josh State, this after Watson started the race from the eight position.
The yellow flag came out for the fourth time on lap 15 when Tim Ellis went around in turn two. Before a lap was completed after the restart, there was trouble in turn four as Steve Laking was turned after a multi-car stack up. Paighton Jacobs was left with nowhere to go and her evening ended with heavy front end damage after hitting Rick Burbridge. Junior Farrelly used the restart to take the race lead, much to the excitement of the crowd as they roared.
Lap 32 was dramatic as Brandon Watson and Junior Farrelly made contact off of turn four while battling for the lead and both cars went sideways. The caution was shown as a result, however both cars were able to stay going the proper direction. Brandon Watson took the top position on the restart and checked out on the field. A long green flag run to lap 67 saw Watson stretch his legs as he worked lapped traffic.
The seventh caution of the race came at lap 67 when Tim Ellis and Branden Verhoeven made contact. Ryan Kimball made the high side work on the restart and after several laps was able to clear Brandon Watson to regain the top position. Lap 69 was disaster and included three caution flags before the race was able to resume. A melee in turn two saw Rick Burbridge drive under Patrick Freel for the eighth caution. The ninth caution, again on lap 69, was for a multi car incident on the front straightway as Andrew Gresel and Brandon Watson made contact and Gresel’s car was sent hard into the outside wall, collecting Junior Farrelly and Jordan Sims. Sims number 47 went up in flames on the front straightaway to bring out the red flag.
One more yellow on lap 69 for a failed restart set up the field for a 31 lap dash to the finish. Ryan Kimball pulled off the track before the green flag with a flat tire, surrendering the race lead. JR Fitzpatrick and Shae Gemmell made up the front row for the restart with Fitzpztrick taking the advantage after Gemmell was able to record a lap led. Matt Pritiko charged to the front and would take the position away from JR Fitzpatrick on lap 83. Pritiko did not look back as he went on to earn his second career APC Series victory with Fitzpatrick, Jake Sheridan, Shae Gemmell, and Ryan Kimball rounding out the top five.
The series has a quick turnaround before it heads to Innisfil, Ontario’s Sunset Speedway on August 11th for the AP Exhaust 100, round seven of nine. More information on the event can be found on www.APCRacingSeries.com and advance tickets can be purchased on www.SunsetSpeedway.ca