As noted, the year didn’t start off the way Fitzpatrick would’ve planned. He would fall out of the first event of the season at Sunset Speedway with a mechanical failure while running in the top-five. The return to Sunset a month later resulted in a blown motor, seeing Fitzpatrick run his teammate Roy Passer’s car for the feature. When the tour headed on the road to Delaware Speedway, he would once again suffer a mechanical failure after contact while running once again in the top-five, resulting in a 12th place finish.
Since then, though, he has been on a roll, finishing either first or second through the remaining six races on the schedule. The change for Fitzpatrick began with the series’ trip to Sauble Speedway.
“We’ve decided since we’ve had no luck that we would just totally change the whole car over and try a few different things,” he commented back in August. “Since then at Sauble Speedway, the thing has been an absolute rocket.”
The feature at Sauble Speedway would be cut short due to a huge crash on the front stretch, but he showed the speed from the changes when the series headed to Peterborough Speedway. Throughout the Chase for the Colours event, Fitzpatrick would contend for the race win, but came up short with a second place finish due to a fuel pick-up problem.
The positive momentum continued when the series headed back to Sunset Speedway as Fitzpatrick would post yet another runner-up finish after having one of the best battles of the season throughout the 50 lap feature with Glenn Watson. The Don Biederman Memorial at Flamboro Speedway brought forth another second place finish as he was able to close the gap between himself and Cornelius in the final laps, but unable to complete the pass.
The pieces would come together the following week at Peterborough Speedway for the driver of the No. 84 Meineke Car Care, Transaxle Heavy Truck & Trailer Parts, Cambridge Rigging, Equipment Express, Jenco Equipment, Bert, McColl Racing Enterprises, Creative Edge Signs, Wix Filters, Permatex, Driven Steering Wheels, Spray Nine, Deon Racecars, Clayton Johns Media and ImageFactor.ca Motorsport Designs SLM as he dominated en route to scoring his first career OSCAAR victory. The domination was so strong that Fitzpatrick was able to put almost the whole field a lap down.
The Cambridge, Ontario continued his theme of strong performances, returning back to Susnet Speedway in September with another runner-up finish despite not having any brakes through the final laps.
Returning back to Peterborough in October, Fitzpatrick entered the weekend with confidence on his side. Starting from the runner-up spot, he would run solidly in second behind Kevin Cornelius through the early stages. The pair would then get into lap traffic just past the halfway mark, in which Fitzpatrick would make his move then to get by for the lead. He would then lead the rest of the way to the checkered flag, holding off Shawn Chenoweth on a final restart with five laps to go.
“It was good,” he said of his season after the Autumn Colours Classic. “If we didn’t have those three failures at the beginning of the year, it would’ve been a hunt for the championship for sure. Those three DNFs really hurt me.”
Given his strong finish to the 2015 season, Fitzpatrick is obviously one of the drivers that everybody will have their eye on next year for the championship.
By: Ashley McCubbin