Canada’s Crown Jewel, Jukasa Motor Speedway, reopened its doors for the first time in nearly a decade with the APC United Late Model Series Powered by Grisdale Racing Products headlining the Rankin Construction Summer Shootout. The brand new facility with a new racing surface, walls, lighting, and so much more brought 38 top caliber drivers to take there shot at glory in the two day event.
In Bennett GM Group Qualifying drivers laid down there best times, all with the common goal of trying to become the fastest qualifier and benchmark track record holder. The 38 cars took to the 5/8 mile speedway in smaller groups with Martin Latulippe setting the fast time, clocking in at a 18.096 seconds. Brandon Watson qualified second fastest with a 18.121, however would be awarded the top spot after Latulippe had his time disallowed in post-qualifying tech inspection. Behind Watson was Matt Pritiko, Alex Labbe, and Pete Shepherd III rounding out the top 5.
The last chance showdown, a 10 lap race for qualifiers 27 on back, saw Shawn Thompson start on pole alongside Patrick Freel. 11 drivers made the call for the race, all fighting for the final spots in the main event scheduled for Sunday. Shawn Thompson would go on to win the race by a sizeable margin over Jeff Hanley and Hudson Nagy. APC Series and Jukasa Motor Speedway officials elected to give all cars in attendance a shot in the main event on Sunday, making use of the promoters provisional and allowing all 38 cars to take the green flag in the first 75 lap race.
Dale Shaw led the field to the green flag to kick off Sunday, August 27th action at Jukasa Motor Speedway after pulling the number one pill in the post-qualifying draw. Dale Shaw led the opening circuit as Brandon Watson pressured him in a side by side battle. Watson would take the race lead on the second lap in his #9 machine as 36 other hungry drivers raced behind.
On lap nine the first caution flag came out as Nick Goetz #24 went hard into the turn one wall rear end first. Goetz would be forced to retire from the remainder of the event with significant rear end damage to his car. The ensuing restart allowed Matt Pritiko to take the race lead in his #21 car, hanging on the high side and fighting hard with Watson. On lap 23, Dale Shaw had a mechanical issue and slowed on the high side of the race track, resulting in the second caution flag.
On lap 24, Patrick Freel lost a tire and hit the outside wall, resulting in the third caution flag of the race. Lap 27 saw Shae Gemmell and Cayden Lapcevich move into positions four and five, shuffling Jason Hathaway back to the sixth spot. Jesse Kennedy entered the top 10 on lap 39 after starting from the 23rd position. Jason Hathaway reentered the top five on lap 40, bumping Gemmell to the sixth spot.
Lap 56 saw Brandon Watson move into the race lead as Pritiko fell back to third after getting trapped behind a lapped car. Jason Hathaway muscled his way into second on lap 67 and set his sights on race leader Brandon Watson. The fourth caution of the race came out on lap 70 as Matt Pritiko got into the back of Hudson Nagy. Under the caution Cayden Lapcevich slowed and entered the infield, running out of fuel.
The restart allowed Jason Hathaway to take over the top position before the yellow came out once again for the fifth and final time as Willie Reyns went into the inside wall on the back straightaway. Hathaway maintained the top position after the restart and held off Brandon Watson to score his first career APC United Late Model Series victory. Pete Shepherd III brought his #4 to a third place result ahead of Andrew Gresel and Alex Labbe who rounded out the top five.
The second 75 lap race started with Pete Shepherd III on the pole alongside Brandon Watson. Watson led the opening lap of the race as there was a big wreck on the front straightaway coming to lap two. Several cars tangled at the start finish line and had their event end early including Ken Schrader, Branden Verhoeven, Josh Stade, and Rick Burbridge. Shawn Thompson, Shawn McGlynn and Dale Shaw were also involved but were able to stay in the 75 lap race.
After the restart, Pete Shepherd III went to the top position ahead of Brandon Watson. Lap 11 saw Jason Hathaway take the second position from Watson as he began to slide backwards. On lap 19, Brandon Watson lost three positions, falling to the sixth running spot. The second caution flag came out on lap 22 for Paighton Jacobs going around in turn two.
Jason Hathaway used the restart to take over the race lead as he looked to sweep the Rankin Construction Summer Shootout. Shepherd III retook the lead on lap 27, looking to score his first career APC Series victory. Jamie Cox blew a tire on lap 28 and was sent into the outside wall, resulting in the races’s third caution flag. On the lap 28 restart, Jason Hathaway once again went to the top of the scoreboard in his #3h as Pete Shepherd III fell into line behind.
Dale Shaw’s return to APC Series competition went up in smoke on lap 37 and the race went under caution flag conditions for the fourth time. Lap 44 saw another caution flag as Matt Pritiko went around in turn 4 while battling Andrew Gresel. Jason Hathaway continued to lead after the restart as Shepherd III and Andrew Gresel trailed behind. The battle for the fourth and fifth positions were heated for the remainder of the race as Cayden Lapcevich, Brandon Watson, Treyten Lapcevich, Junior Farrelly and Jesse Kennedy all battled side by side and swapped positions countless times.
Hathaway would go on to sweep the Rankin Construction Summer Shootout at the Jukasa Motor Speedway, as Pete Shepherd III, Andrew Gresel, Cayden Lapcevich and Brandon Watson rounded out the top five spots.
The APC Series enjoys a well deserved rest until the Great Canadian Weekend at Delaware Speedway where the 2017 champion will be crowned. The tenth and final event of the season is sure to be as thrilling as the previous nine as drivers search to find their way to victory lane one last time. Advance tickets for the event can be purchased on www.DelawareSpeedway.com with more event details available on www.APCRacingSeries.com