The APC series championship battle all comes down to this, September 17th at Delaware Speedway the series will crown it’s second champion. It has been a fantastic season thus far with many different story lines to follow throughout the year. The season has been ultra-competitive with the top 10 in points all still mathematically having a shot at the championship, however with some logic it is the top 5 who all have a legitimate shot at the championship. With a full field expected, any slip ups could have major championship implications.
The most notable of all story lines would be that of the #81 of Andrew Gresel. Through 5 events in the 2015 season nobody would have expected this type of rebound from that team. Gresel had been a front runner and championship contender in everything else he had raced coming into the inaugural APC Series season, however 2015 began with bad luck after bad luck. That all changed at Sunset speedway on August 23rd 2015 when Gresel took his #81 machine from the last chance race all the way to victory lane, starting an epic turnaround. Since that point, Gresel has been dominant and currently holds the point lead after 8 of 9 events by just 13 points over consistent front runner Matt Pritiko. Gresel has won 4 events in 2016 and with the exception of a broken rear end last time out at Sunset, has been in the top 10 every event. The #81 team controls their own destiny heading to Delaware and will be looking to lock in the teams championship hopes and complete the turnaround season after a 12th place points finish in 2015.
Another tight battle to keep an eye on is the rookie of the year battle between the #3 of Shae Gemmell and the #5 of Paighton Jacobs. Both youngsters have had theirs ups and downs this season but are both showing improvement with every lap of seat time behind the Pro Late Model. Gemmell currently holds a 23 point advantage over Jacobs in the standings. Both drivers will be looking to top their best finish on the season of 12th and crack the top 10 heading to Delaware, the track both drivers would call their home track. Last season’s rookie of the year Billy Schwartzenburg has proved that the more seat time, the more improvement we will see. After a stellar rookie campaign, Billy was able to score his first career podium at Peterborough speedway this year and was completely speechless in his post-race interview.
The top 5 spots in the standings could look different leaving Delaware, with the point’s gap from 1st to 5th only being 24 points. With some help there is the potential that the defending champion, Dale Shaw, could come from 5th in standings to claim back-to-back championship’s. After strong runs the last few times out Dale has jumped back into championship contention. Shawn Chenoweth in the #89c, who by his standards has had a down season, could claim his first career series championship with some tough luck for the top two. Jamie Cox in the #22, who is currently tied with Chenoweth for the 3rd spot in standings, has been very consistent over the past 2 seasons and is looking for his first career series victory. A victory at his home track and the track he has several championships at could go a long way to helping his championship hopes. Currently sitting 2nd is the #21 of Matt Pritiko, Matt had a devastating crash last season that forced him to miss several races all but ending his championship aspirations, however he has bounced back better than ever this season and has a legitimate shot to take a run at 1st in the championship event at Delaware, the track where he is a former weekly champion. And of course leading the point’s battle is the #81 of Andrew Gresel who has won 4 races this season with the APC series, as well as several other victories in different forms of competition. Gresel is also a former Delaware speedway champion and with a solid run will lock up the series championship, however as we saw at Sunset anything can happen to anyone that could change the landscape of this top 5.
Heading to Delaware there are points and spots up for grabs for everyone involved and we could see some major shuffling throughout the points. It is sure to be a fantastic event and the series looks forward to crowning its second ever champion on September 17th. After the series crowns its champion at Delaware, the next order of business will be the official series banquet on October 22nd where the series will celebrate the season and all the accomplishments of everyone involved who has made this series so successful.