INNISFIL, ON - The seventh stop on the 2018 circuit for the APC United Late Model Series Presented by Grisdale Racing Products came at Sunset Speedway. The second event at the 1/3 mile high-banked oval this season offered many drivers the challenge of breaking away from those around them in the standings and setting up for a late season charge. JR Fitzpatrick entered the evening with a 42 point advantage over Treyten Lapcevich, who now finds himself in a battle with those behind after a disappointing result at Sauble Speedway a week prior.
Bennett GM Pole Qualifying would set the starting order for the AP Exhaust 100 with Matt Pritiko claiming the top position with a time of 14.311. Pritiko barely beat Shae Gemmell, running his fast time on his fourth of five qualifying laps. Treyten Lapcevich, Rick Spencer-Walt, and Brandon Watson rounded out the top five qualifying spots.
The AP Exhaust 100 saw Jo Lawrence, who was driving the 22 machine normally piloted by Jamie Cox, start on the pole alongside Shae Gemmell. Josh State pulled off the track prior to the green flag and did not return with an apparent mechanical issue on his number 17. Shae Gemmell used the high side to lead the opening lap of the race as Lawrence slid back quickly.
After starting eighth, JR Fitzpatrick worked his way into the top three on lap 13. He would then have an eight lap battle with Treyten Lapcevich before eventually surrendering the spot. 31 laps into the race, Rick Spencer-Walt moved into the top three after starting the race from the tenth position. Spencer-Walt would then run down Shae Gemmell and Jake Sheridan, erasing a near three second deficit in only four laps.
The first caution came out on lap 36 when Matt Pritiko went up in sparks with a blown tire that could be heard from around the facility after contact with JR Fitzpatrick. Under the caution period, Brandon Watson entered the pits, surrendering his spot in the top 10. Blair Wickett was sent around on the restart bringing out the yellow for the second time. Jake Sheridan used the ensuing restart to take the race lead from Shae Gemmell, but Gemmell would stay close behind.
55 laps into the AP Exhaust 100, Rick Spencer-Walt took the race lead away from MacMaster of Orangeville Rookie of the Year top runner Jake Sheridan. 2015 series champion Dale Shaw entered the top three on lap 62 and began pressuring for the runner-up spot. The third caution came out on lap 67 when Ryan Kimball went around off of turn two. The restart saw Billy Schwartzenburg go around, bringing out the yellow once again.
Lap 73 saw some fireworks as Junior Farrelly went around on the front straightaway and made heavy contact with the inside wall. Farrelly exited his car and showed his displeasure with Shawn McGlynn by throwing his water bottle at the drivers side window. Contact between Treyten Lapcevich and Steve Laking on lap 75 brought out the yellow for the sixth time. The restart saw Andrew Gresel go around in turn one, bringing out the yellow for the seventh and final time.
A 25 lap green flag run to the end saw Rick Spencer-Walt check out on the field as Dale Shaw battled with Shae Gemmell in the closing laps. Shaw would get the position but run out of time as Spencer-Walt went on to earn his first career APC Series victory with Shaw, Gemmell, Lapcevich, and Lawrence behind.
The APC Series will be back in action on September 1st at Jukasa Motor Speedway as a part of the Canadian Short Track Nationals. The penultimate event is sure to be a thriller as drivers try to set themselves up for the championship event at Delaware Speedway on September 15th. More information can be found on www.APCRacingSeries.com. Advance tickets for the event can be purchased on www.JukasaMotorSpeedway.com
Ryan Dyson - APC Series PR
Photos by Dave Franks Photography