HAGERSVILLE, ON – A 2020 season didn’t seem possible, yet one of the most dramatic and action packed seasons thus far in the young tour’s history has unfolded before the eyes of tens of thousands of race fans through the power of broadcasting. Since July 14th when it was announced that the APC Series would go racing and host a condensed four event, five race season, the pedal has been to the metal.
After races at Jukasa Motor Speedway, Sauble Speedway and Sunset Speedway, the tour returned to the 5/8-mile Jukasa for its doubleheader championship day. Jo Lawrence and Brandon Watson entered the day just one point apart and looked to be perfect if one of them were to outdo the other for a championship.
Qualifying has proved to be important in the championship fight and Jukasa would be no different, offering a chance for drivers to start the day with valuable bonus points heading into the first 75 lap race. Jo Lawrence would extend his points lead to 2 after setting quick time, with a time of 18.432. Second was Brandon Watson, keeping Lawrence in his sights for the championship battle. Third was Matt Pritiko, fourth Gary Adriaensen and rounding out the top five was Treyten Lapcevich.
GALLERY COURTESY DEREK SMITH / WWW.RACEPULSE.COM
The MRE Super Stock Series saw 30 cars on the entry list and went to battle for 40 laps. After Qualifying on the pole would be Lane Zardo with a time of 20.681, second was Marvin Freiburger and third was Paul Pepper. The super stocks would battle for 40 laps of green flag action featuring intense side by side battles and only one yellow. In the end it was Trevor Collver taking the win over Ryan Dyson in second and Lane Zardo in third.
The Spectra Premium 75 presented by Pennzoil saw 32 of the top late models in the province come to life and fill the air with the sweet smell of VP Race Fuel. A fine line between conserving equipment and going for a great finish challenged the drivers with a second 75 lap race to take place later in the day, but championship combatants were only left with one option, go for it all and leave nothing on the table.
After the Invert it would be Jake Sheridan leading the field to green with Gary Adriaensen on the front row. Sheridan would lead lap one with Adriaensen and Stade tucking in line behind him. Adriaensen would nose ahead to take the lead on lap four while the rest of the field began to get single file and form a green flag run. From the drop of the green Brandon Watson mounted a charge to the front from his eighth starting spot and by lap nine he was inside the top five, and just a few laps later on lap fifteen would over take second place from Sheridan.
Points leader Jo Lawrence charged to the front from his ninth place starting position and by lap 19 he was in third and in hot pursuit of Watson for second. Adriaensen continued to lead to lap 26 when the yellow would come out for a cut tire on the #13 of Shane Maginnis.
Adriaensen restarted with Watson to his outside, Watson powered by on the high side leading lap 28. Sheridan followed through on the high side to second shuffling Adriaensen back to third. After falling to fourth on the restart, Lawrence would slowly rally back up to the second position by lap 38, making an inside pass on Sheridan.
At the time of taking over second place there was a gap of 1.585 seconds between not only first and second on the track but the two top drivers in points entering the day. By lap 48 Lawrence had cut the lead to almost nothing as Watson caught some lapped traffic. They ran nose to tail for several laps before the second yellow would fly on lap 49 for a hard hit in turn 1/2 by Josh Stade.
Watson elected to take the high side for the restart giving Lawrence the inside. Watson maintained the lead and Lawrence would tuck into second, however from there on back it was a big shuffle as Adriaensen and Sheridan fell back allowing Pete Shepherd and Shae Gemmell to move into third and fourth respectively. On lap 53 Lawrence would begin to stalk Watson and would go on to battle side by side for several laps, Lawrence nosing ahead several times to pick up a point for leading a lap.
Watson and Lawrence continued to battle side by side all the way to lap 64 where Watson would finally get clear of Lawrence, all while Pete Shepherd closed the gap in third. Once again on Lap 67 the front two would go side by side again this time Lawrence would get the advantage and lead the next several laps before clearing Watson, and taking the lead.
The caution flag flew for the third time on lap 69 as the 97d of Tyler Di Venanzo slowed in turn one. Lawrence took the inside lane on the restart and launched to the lead, over the final five laps he would stretch his legs en route to his third trip to Epic Racewear victory lane in 2020 and extended his championship points lead!
The Qwick Wick Championship Race settled all the scores as a champion was crowned, a Rookie of the Year was decided and for the final time in 2020 the checkered flag waved. Carson Nagy started on pole but Patrick Freel led the opening lap with Shawn Chenoweth in two behind. Lap seven saw Chenoweth take the race lead after a side by side battle on the two groove track. On lap eight there was a big crash in turn one involving Andrew Gresel, Mat Box and Piper Adams, resulting in heavy damage.
Gary Adriaensen got to the inside of Chenoweth for the lead on lap 15 but the yellow came on lap 17 for several slowed cars before he could complete the pass. The high side prevailed on the restart and Adriaensen assumed the top spot with Pete Shepherd following through behind. Lap 25 saw Shepherd pull alongside for the lead as Jo Lawrence charged from behind after starting deeper in the field.
As halfway came Adriaensen continued to show the way as the top three cars had checked out by half a straightaway on fourth place runner Dale Shaw. Lawrence made a wild three wide pass to lead lap 34 and within laps was walking away from the competition in search of his first career APC Series championship.
Lap 49 saw the race slow for a caution as Patrick Freel came to a stop in turn four. Championship implications took place under the yellow as Brandon Watson pit while Lawrence continued to lead. Brandon Watson’s car shot to the outside wall on lap 58, but he avoided contact and the yellow flag was triggered once again.
There was a very hard hit on lap 66 for Matt Pritiko coming off turn four when the car took a hard turn into the outside wall on corner exit. The driver was okay but the defending series champion’s car was far from it. Dale Shaw moved into the top three on the restart as the two leaders of Lawrence and Shepherd ran door handle to door handle. Lawrence finally cleared and went on to sweep the night, also collecting the 2020 APC Series championship winning an incredible four of five events.