Although his 2015 campaign was hit with adversity in the form of a July crash at Flamboro Speedway that destroyed his team’s lone chassis, Pritiko insists the speed bump did not come without its advantages.
"Sitting out during a chunk of the season last year was every bit as tough as you would think it would be," says Pritiko. "But, now that I've had a chance to step back and evaluate things, I can see that it wasn't a total negative. There's a lot of good that came out of us restructuring our program during that time off"
After the accident in Round 4 of the tour, Pritiko worked with McColl Racing Enterprises’ Mike McColl to build a brand new chassis to compete with the proverbial heavy-hitters of the APC Series. The new ride was ready in time for the final two rounds of the 2015 tour – in which Pritiko rattled off back-to-back podium finishes at Sunset and Delaware.
“Any time you can finish a season as positively as we did, it gives you motivation for the off-season,” says the well-spoken London, ON native. “We’ve spent our entire off-season counting down the days to the opener. Because we know that we have what it takes to contend for the 2016 championship”
“I don’t think we’ve ever been this prepared as a team entering a race season,” explains Pritiko. “We’re a well-oiled machine right now. Our crew is ready, our equipment is ready and I’m ready. I can’t wait to test myself against the very best that Ontario has to offer. These teams are the ones you have to wake up pretty early in the morning to beat – but I can guarantee we’ll be ready for the challenge”
When asked about his decision to return to the tour on a fulltime basis in 2016, Pritiko notes that the decision was a no-brainer for his Global Warranty-backed outfit.
“It takes a lot of money and a lot of hours for a team like this to work,” says Pritiko. “When you’re investing that much in your program, you want to make sure that you’re a part of the biggest possible events with the best possible competition. I don’t think there’s any question that the APC Series provides all of that”
“There’s an energy in the air during an APC Series race that you don’t find at a normal Late Model show,” continues Pritiko. “It’s something unlike anything else. When you walk out of the trailer and get ready to climb in the window, you know that you have to be on you’re A-Game. If you’re not approaching each of these races like you’re ready to put together your best performance ever – you have no hope of being in the mix”
Despite his team’s hard work and preparation throughout the winter months, Pritiko is well aware that he’ll have a sizeable challenge waiting for him at Sunset Speedway on May 14th.
“I think every lap this season is going to be harder than the one that came before it,” states Pritiko matter-of-factly. “Everyone on this roster is so insanely competitive. You know that all of these guys are just going to keep improving"
"Because the guy that finished 4th is going to do everything in his power to crack the podium in his next race. That’s the atmosphere that we’re competing in. Every single driver in the pit area is constantly pushing the guy next to him”
“Complacency is the enemy,” laughs the former champion. “My number one goal is to come out of the chute strong and win the tour opener. But, even if I do, we’re going to prepare for Round 2 like we finished outside of the top-10. This year is all about hard work. We’re racing against a whole group of guys that aren’t going to stop working and preparing all Summer – so neither are we.”
Matt Pritiko's 2016 efforts will be supported by Global Warranty, Cadillac Industrial Cleaning, Domus Developments, Toyota Town, Burwell Auto Body Ltd., SellToWin.com, Activate Drinks, NAPA Certified Bodyshops, Palasad of London and Glencoe Auto Recyclers.
Fans can keep up with Matt and his team all season long by visiting the official Matt Pritiko Motorsports page on Facebook and by following @MattPritiko on Twitter.