SAUBLE BEACH, Ont. – (May 23, 2018) – A busy and sometimes frustrating day required plenty of hard work, but the net result was a positive one for Andrew Gresel in the APC United Late Model Series season opener on Sunday. After starting the 100-lap main event from 22nd, Gresel drove his McRobert Fuels No.81 Ford Fusion to a second-place finish.
“It made for a really good day,” Gresel said of his runner-up result. “I was really happy, especially with all the work we did on the car. It was good to see everything come together.”
Gresel’s Sauble Falls Racing team had to work for their success. The team fought an issue with the nose of the car early in the day as it continually hit the racetrack on corner entry. The team thought they had solved the issue for qualifying, but the nose hit again and resulted in the 22nd-fastest time.
“We kept cutting the front nose up, taking quarter-inch chunks out of it (during afternoon practice) to get more clearance,” Gresel said. “The guys figured they had it beat. Coming into qualifying the front end hit and it hit every lap I guess. It caused the car to push way up the racetrack and it wouldn’t turn. It was a pretty tough qualifying deal.”
The time trial effort forced Gresel to the Last Chance race, although he had a provisional starting spot to fall back on. The Sauble Falls team used that to their advantage to solve the problem.
“We made our changes (after qualifying) did three laps in the Last Chance Race and it was fine,” Gresel explained. “The car was handling way better. It was night and day. I pulled off after that because I didn’t want to wear out the tires in the Last Chance race knowing we already had a spot.”
Starting deep in the field from row 11, Gresel knew he had to be patiently aggressive as he made his charge to the front.
“You had to be really patient throughout the pack because there were a couple of wrecks right away,” Gresel recalled.
Continued Gresel, “There were a few spots where I got boxed in. A lot of guys were running the inside line and there were times I could hop to the outside and make a pass. We made that work a few times. The car was really working good up high.”
Gresel made it as far as the fourth spot and it appeared that was as high as he would climb on the day with the top-three cars a half-track ahead. That forecast changed though when the caution flag waved on lap 93 and re-stacked the field for a seven-lap shootout.
“We restarted on the outside and made the pass on Shae Gemmell. That wasn’t an issue because I think he was out of tires,” Gresel explained.
Gresel then set out to track down JR Fitzpatrick, who had restarted second.
“I followed JR and I could see he was tight and I could see the 9-car was pulling away. That’s when I decided to move him out of the way. We got into JR and moved him up the racetrack. I didn’t want to spin him because that would have only hurt us. We just gave him a good tap to let him know we were there and away we went.”
Ultimately, Gresel ran out of time to catch Watson and settled for second on the afternoon.
“I could tell he was really pushing it,” Gresel said of Watson in the closing laps. “I think we had something for him, but we needed another four laps. Time is always an issue when you’re starting at the back. You never have enough time.”
Regardless, Gresel was happy with the effort and resilience his Sauble Falls Racing team showed. In post-race technical inspection, Gresel was among four drivers penalized for an improperly built fuel cell containment area. All four drivers received the same penalty, including a $250 fine and loss of 15 championship points. However, Gresel felt a team violated the rule more seriously and extensively and should have received a more severe penalty.
“I don’t want everybody to be painted with the same brush,” Gresel explained. “If somebody deserves a more serious penalty, it should be acted on. Not everybody deserves the same penalties. We have raced this chassis since the Series started in 2015 and have not made any structural changes to it. I’m not sure why there is an issue now.”
Gresel and his team will now turn their attention to the Interstate Batteries 100 at Flamboro Speedway on Saturday, June 2. For additional event information, visit www.apcracingseries.com and www.flamborospeedway.ca.
Pro Late Model – 1 Start: 0 Wins, 1 Top-5s, 1 Top-10s
Limited Late Model – 0 Starts: 0 Wins, 0 Top-5s, 0 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 2018 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.