London, ON - The 2019 edition of the annual APC Series banquet was held on Saturday, October 19th at the Four Points by Sheraton in London Ontario. The banquet, a celebration of an incredible 2019 season, did not disappoint. The night began with a social hour followed by an incredible dinner. Once everyone was fed the show started. The more than 220 people in attendance were wowed with a season recap video to begin the evening, the video highlighted the 10 events and five-month journey race teams, families, sponsors and fans alike endured over the course of the APC Series schedule. The series saw six different winners in the 10-event schedule with 3 first time winners. The series also reached new heights in 2019 with its average car count reaching 30.7 cars across the 10 events. When everything shakes out the 2019 season for the series could end up being the highest car count for a late model series in North America.
Once the highlight video and initial introductions by the evenings MC and series announcer Jamie Maudsley concluded, the more than 15 sponsors in attendance were all presented with their own thank you award followed by a speech from APC Auto Parts Centres Vice President Steve Drake. Mr. Drake stated the continued support of APC to the series. APC Auto Parts Centres has been the title sponsor of the APC Series since its inception in 2015 and will continue to be for the foreseeable future with APC signing an extension ahead of the 2019 season.
Following the sponsor presentations, the first award of the evening was presented, this award being the Jamie Ramsay Sportsmanship Award. This award is dedicated in the memory of Jamie Ramsay, a long-time racer around Ontario who was sadly lost to cancer. Jamie was a competitive spirit who always made sure everyone was having fun around the racetrack. This award is voted on by all the drivers in the series and has been given out annually since 2017. Series President Luke Ramsay took to the stage to present the award to the driver of the number 22, Jamie Cox. Jamie took to the mic after receiving the award and had some very moving awards, thanking all his peers and stating to the crowd what an honour it is to receive this award in memory of his friend.
Next up the 2019 MacMaster of Orangeville Rookie of the Year was awarded to the driver of the 78, Jo Lawrence. A video outlining Jo’s incredible rookie season played following a speech from Jo. Jo had a fantastic season earning a fourth place points finish, the second highest finishing points position for a series rookie next to Jake Sheridan’s third in 2018. Jo also earned the most pole awards ever by a series rookie.
Following the rookie of the year award all drivers in attendance were brought to the stage to receive their final point standings awards with the top five drivers having a season recap video played with speeches from the top three drivers in points. Treyten Lapcevich, who finished third in points, provided the crowd with some laughs during his speech as the charismatic 15-year-old always does when he takes the mic. Shae Gemmell, series runner-up in 2019, took to the mic next. Shae announced there will be a Gemmell in the series for years to come with the recent announcement of he and is wives baby boy. 2019 Champion Matt Pritiko was the final driver to take to the stage, Pritiko walked up to the stage with a shower of pyrotechnics and claimed his personalized replica championship trophy. During his speech Matt declared his intentions of coming back in 2020 to defend his title.
The final award of the evening was the 2019 Outstanding contributor the series award. The outstanding contributor award is presented annually to someone who goes above and beyond for the series, dedicating their time and effort to make the series better. Series multimedia coordinators Jamie and Ryan Dyson presented the award to the 2019 recipient Dave Franks. Dave, also a recent inductee to the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame, has been with the series for several years now as the official photographer. Dave always goes above what is asked of him and always make sure everyone has their licorice.
Following the outstanding contributor presentation, series president Luke Ramsay took to the stage to give a brief recap on the 2019 season and a look ahead to 2020. Luke went over the fantastic car counts the series had for 2019, thanked all the series sponsors, drivers, staff, fans, and families. Without all these people it is not possible. Ramsay also went over some of the numbers for the series in 2019, highlighted by a staggering $360,000 number that the series awarded in money and prizes throughout the season. This number has grown by over 50% since 2017. Ramsay also declared the series intentions on keeping that number on the rise to help support everyone involved with making the series a success.
The final order of business on the evening was the draw prizes. All drivers in attendance received poker chips to be placed in the nearly 20 different draw prizes available to them. Drivers earned chips for attendance in series events throughout the season. The big winner on the evening was driver of the number 10, Tom Gibbons. Tom took home a 604-crate motor sponsored by APC.
With the 2019 banquet being the last official event of the season, the 2019 season is officially over, and we now look ahead to 2020. The 2020 rule book has already been released by series officials, with the big rule changing being the announcement that the new Five Star Late Model body will be legal for use beginning in 2020. Stay tuned to www.apcracingseries.com and all the series social media outlets for the latest information throughout the season. Look for the 2020 schedule to be released in the near future as well as some other great announcements!