The Spira Beat the Heat 100, part of the APC Battle at the Beach Weekend took place on a cool Saturday August 5th, under the lights at Sauble Speedway. The second half of the 2017 tour began on a high note, kicking off a packed month of August that sees four points races in three weekends before the championship event in September.
Bennett GM Group Qualifying started the evening’s competition as drivers were sent onto the tight confines of Sauble Speedway for 5 lap timed sessions. Eight drivers set qualifying times under the existing track record which was set in 2016, with Brandon Watson setting the fastest time at a 14.030. The time shattered the old record of 14.307 as drivers made use of their extra laps with the new qualifying format. Matt Pritiko qualified second fastest with Andy Kamrath laying down the third fastest time.
After the pill draw it would be Tim Ellis leading the field to the green flag in his APC Series debut with 2016 Rookie of the Year winner Shae Gemmell starting alongside and sharing a spot on the front row. Pole winner Brandon Watson would roll off from the third position with Pritiko alongside him. Shae Gemmell would get a great start and take control of the race lead with a power move on the high side. Gemmell would distance himself from the field and begin to stretch his legs a little as those behind fought hard. On lap 7, Brandon Watson moved into the second position with a pass on Tim Ellis and immediately worked to close the gap to the race leader.
12 laps into the race Andy Kamrath moved around Ellis, sticking him to the outside line and bringing Matt Pritiko with him. After a short battle between Pritiko and Ellis, Pritiko would win the fight and take sole possession of the 4th position. After Shae Gemmell had held the top position for the opening fifth of the race, Brandon Watson would move to his inside and then around and into position number one. On lap 26 Matt Pritiko would take away the 2nd spot from Gemmell and set his sights on the current points leader and race leader Brandon Watson.
10 laps after Gemmell was moved to third, he was moved back another position as Andy Kamrath took the spot. Gemmell would go on a long backwards slide throughout the race after showing muscle early on in the Spira Beat the Heat 100. By the halfway point in the race, Brandon Watson had moved into heavy lapped traffic and searched high and low for a way around as Matt Pritiko chased behind.
Once the race moved into the final stages it began to become clear that it may go green to the end, and the drivers turned it up a notch revealing their full hand. Andrew Gresel worked his way through after starting back in the 8th position and into the top 5 as the laps continued to tick away. Jason Parker moved with Gresel into the top 5 as they raced in positions 4 and 5 with Tim Ellis and Jamie Cox behind.
Pritiko had closed the gap a few times as him and race leader Brandon Watson weaved through lapped traffic, but by the time the two of them cleared most of it Watson had opened up his lead once again. With under 10 to go Watson continued to pace the field and Pritiko gave one last push, erasing more than half of the margin between the two. Pritiko would fall short as Watson claimed his 5th victory in 6 races on the 2017 season with Andy Kamrath rounding out the podium spots.
The next event for the APC Series is at Sunset Speedway located in Innisfil, Ontario on Saturday, August 19th. The 2017 campaign kicked off at the high banked track with Brandon Watson taking the victory back on May 27th. More information on the event can be found on www.APCRacingSeries.com and an event itinerary will be released prior to the event.