INNISFIL, ON- It took NASCAR Canadian Tire Series freshman Cayden Lapcevich just three attempts to earn his first career series podium. The third-generation driver turned heads at his home track on June 20th, qualifying well and leading a bevy of laps through the event’s first half to tally an impressive 3rd place finish in the inaugural Leland 300 presented by Johnsonville.
‘The Prodigy’ entered the 300-lap affair eager to shake off the disappointment of a DNF suffered in Round 2 of the schedule at Autodrome Chaudiere a week earlier, and made sure to give the home track fans something to cheer about throughout the series’ inaugural visit to the Innisfil, ON oval.
“This is exactly what we were hoping to come out and do,” beamed Lapcevich post-race.
“I love this track. I wanted a good run here more than anything else in the world. To be able to run up front against some of the best drivers in the country is a pretty unbelievable feeling – but to do it in front of my family and our home track fans is extra special”
The Grimsby, ON product qualified in the third position and spent the entirety of the afternoon at the front of the field, leading 45-laps through the early-portion of the nearly caution-free event.
“Time Trials are still brand new to me,” admitted the personable star when asked about his impressive qualifying performance. “I left a lot on the table at Chaudiere during qualifying – and I wanted to be sure not to make that same mistake at Sunset”
“All week I’ve been watching on board footage of qualifying from all different kinds of cars and tracks – just trying to figure out where I went wrong last weekend. I guess it worked. Starting up front made a huge difference for us”
As soon as he climbed from his Tim Hortons-sponsored No. 76, Lapcevich made sure to credit his Fastline Motorsports team – led by veteran Crew Chief Don Thomson Jr.
“These guys gave me an incredible car today. I’ve waited my whole career to lead laps with this series – and it would have never been possible without the team we’ve put together,” explained the third-generation star.
“We were a lot better than the results showed at Chaudiere – and all I could think about all week was how badly I wanted to come out and give my guys a run that they could be proud of”
“I’m exhausted right now,” continued Lapcevich in reference to the 268-lap green flag run that dominated the race. “Dad warned me that these long races can beat you up – but I had no idea it would feel like this”
“Everything about this series is a whole new world for me. But, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It felt like the more laps we knocked down today – the more comfortable I felt. I can’t wait to get to ICAR and work on our road course program”
Lapcevich and team exit Sunset sitting second in Jostens Rookie of the Year points, as they now turn their attention to Ecko Unlimited 100 at Circuit ICAR on July 5th.
“We’re still learning. This was a fantastic run, but we’ll be right back in the shop Monday night,” said Lapcevich.
“I know there were a few things that we can improve on – so Dad, Donny [Thompson Jr.] and I will sit down next week and go over the good and the bad from today. I just want to keep getting better every race.”
Cayden Lapcevich’s 2015 season would not be possible without the support of Tim Hortons, Castrol, Cathcart Trucking, Springers Meats, EPIC Racewear and Troy Cove Marine.
Fans can keep up with ‘The Prodigy’ by following him on Twitter @CaydenLapcevich and visiting the official Cayden Lapcevich Racing page on Facebook.
By Spencer Lewis (@itsspencerlewis)