SAUBLE BEACH, Ont. – August 20, 2017 – Andrew Gresel had to use plenty of muscle to overcome power steering issues, but did just that on his way to a fourth-place finish in the AP Exhaust 100 for the APC United Late Model Series at Sunset Speedway on Saturday night.
Intermittent afternoon rain kept Gresel and the Sauble Falls Racing team on their toes as wet weather changed the track and the practice schedule throughout the day. The team made several adjustments to the McRobert Fuels/CUSW/Gallinger Ford/F1 Freight Systems No.81 Ford Fusion before time trials and went from 17th fastest in practice to fifth quickest in qualifying.
“It was a total team effort and I have to thank everybody,” Gresel said. “Everybody worked really hard. We did a lot of work on the racecar and we knew we had to make it a little bit better and we did. It was a good effort today.”
The top-five qualifying effort was crucial as the team made their way into the redraw and Gresel pulled the pole starting spot for the main event. Gresel made a bold move before the green flag even dropped by choosing the outside lane for the initial start and it paid instant dividends.
“It worked out pretty good because at this racetrack there is a lot more grip up top and you get a better run,” Gresel said. “If your car is tight, you can’t hold on to the bottom and the guy on the high side will take the spot. I was glad we did that, it was the right move.”
Gresel ran second after lap five and ran into issues with the power steering after Brandon Watson made contact with his No.81 in turn four while battling for second on lap 15.
“We were side-by-side there and it was a pretty good hit,” Gresel explained. “He hit about three times on the left-front tire and I think it might have blown a power steering line or created a leak anyways. That was pretty early in the race and we had no power steering for the rest of the race.”
That put the control of the 2800lbs car directly into Gresel’s hand for the final 80 laps of the race.
“I started feeling out the car entering the corner on caution laps to see if I would be able to turn it okay,” Gresel said. “It depends on how the car is setup and sometimes you can’t. It seemed to turn okay as long as you were just going left. You couldn’t warm up the tires or anything like that. It would cooperate even without the power steering, but it was a handful.”
Without any power steering, Gresel spent most of the race running a half groove off the bottom of the track. However, he was forced down to the bottom lane during multiple mid-race side-by-side battles with Andy Kamrath for the third and fourth positions.
“That was a tough deal,” Gresel said of the clean battle with Kamrath. “He kept getting that high side run and I couldn’t get clear of him. Going through the corners, sometimes I’d gain a little bit on him and then the next corner I’d just oversteer the front tires and the car would kind of break a little loose and he’d get a spot on me again. It was back and forth for a little while, but I figured our car was better because it was getting through the centre of the corner better.”
While Gresel had a car capable of at least a podium run, he’s happy with a fourth-place finish given the circumstances.
“If we would have had power steering, I think we would have done alright on the restarts,” Gresel said. “The car was a little loose. I know what’s going on with it, but all in all it was a good day. To lose your power steering, you’re pretty much out of it, but we were able to finish in the top-five.”
Gresel’s focus now shifts to Monday night’s $5,000-to-win Gold Rush 100 for the Outlaw Super Late Models at Flamboro Speedway. Race time is 7:00pm. Additional event information is available at www.flamborospeedway.ca.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Gresel said. “We don’t get to run the Super Late a lot, but it’s a good break from this stuff to go and run something with a little more horsepower and to have some fun.”
Gresel will also be in action next weekend at the debut event for Jukasa Motor Speedway in Hagersville, Ont. for the Rankin Construction Late Model Summer Shootout. He will race with both his Pro Late Model and Outlaw Super Late Model.
“It’s going to be phenomenal,” Gresel said. “The Super Lates are going to put on one hell of a show there. It’s a super fast racetrack and there’s lots of grip there, so we’re looking forward to it. With the Pro Lates, they have 44 cars registered, so it’s going to be good. It’s going to be the show of the year, for sure.”
Qualifying will take place on Saturday, August 26 before a pair of APC United Late Model Series 75-lap Features and a 75-lap Outlaw Super Late Model event on Sunday, August 27. For additional information, visit www.jukasamotorspeedway.com.
Pro Late Model – 7 Starts: 0 Wins, 6 Top-5s, 7 Top-10s
Super Late Model – 2 Starts: 1 Win, 2 Top-5s, 2 Top-10s
SAUBLE FALLS RACING MEDIA
Andrew Gresel and the Sauble Falls Racing team are proud to partner with several dedicated marketing partners for the 2017 race season, including McRobert Fuels, Sauble Falls Tent & Trailer Park, CUSW – Canadian Union of Skilled Workers, Hy-Grade Roofing, London Recreational, Gallinger Ford Lincoln, F1 Freight Systems, Ron O’Brien Remax, Barry’s Construction and Raden Givari at Ehomes.