LONDON, Ont. – (May 22, 2018) – Matt Pritiko kicked off his 2018 racing season with a top-10 finish during the APC United Late Model Series season opener at Sunset Speedway on Sunday night. After a flurry of qualifying issues, Pritiko rallied to a seventh-place finish in the Kleen Flo 100 main event aboard his Global Warranty No.21 Toyota Camry.
After a busy afternoon practice session spent perfecting the car’s setup, Pritiko was primed for a strong qualifying run and a chance at a top-five starting spot in the main event, but had his efforts derailed after a contact with another car during the group session.
“We cut a tire down in qualifying due to contact with a slower car,” Pritiko explained. “We didn’t blow the tire, but we cut it enough that it wouldn’t hold a lot of air. We did post the eighth fastest lap after I spun out. We did one lap and got up to eighth, but then chose to change the tire so we had to start 26th.”
The tire change forced Pritiko to the rear of the starting grid, per the APC Series rulebook. Starting at the rear of a deeply talented field meant Pritiko had to be aggressive in order to make his way forward in just 100 laps, but also required patience to avoid any further incident.
“It got a little frustrating,” Pritiko admitted. “When you’re boxed in behind some cars you’re ready to pass, you can’t really go anywhere. You just have to sit tight and wait until one of the cars makes a move so you can get them both. We got stuck behind a couple cars for five or eight laps at a time and that’s what killed our opportunity to move up any further forward for a better final result.”
While Pritiko certainly would have preferred to leave the season opener with a win or a spot on the podium, there are still plenty of positives the London, Ont. driver will take from the race.
“We see it as a good bounce back and a good points night, despite all of the things that happened,” Pritiko said. “We would rather take a seventh-place than a tenth-place or worse.”
Pritiko was also pleased with the feel and performance of his brand new McColl Racing Enterprises-built car.
“I think we have a good balance on the new car,” Pritiko related. “The setup is great. We finally have a really nice long run car. The further it got into the race, the car stayed the same or got better off restarts, so I’m happy about that because last year we had a car that got loose as the race went on. I’m really happy with out new McColl car.”
Pritiko is also looking forward to the next Series race at Flamboro Speedway in two weeks time on Saturday, June 2. He heads to a track he has won at previously in search of his first win this season and with the knowledge he has the team and equipment to get the job done.
“We finally have all of the pieces together and I think we’re going to have a really fast car at Flamboro. We’ve won there in the past and I think we can definitely do it again,” Pritiko said excitedly.
The 2018 APC United Late Model Series schedule is composed of nine races at six different Ontario short tracks. Follow Matt Pritiko from the first green flag to the final checkered flag via his website at www.MattPritiko.com, on Facebook at Facebook.com/MattPritiko, on Twitter @MattPritiko and on Intstagram @MattPritiko21.
2018 SEASON STATS
Matt Pritiko – 1 Start: 0 Wins, 0 Top-5s, 1 Top-10s
MATT PRITIKO MEDIA
Matt Pritiko is proud to partner with several dedicated marketing partners for the 2018 race season, including Global Warranty, NAPA Certified Bodyshops, Burwell Autobody Ltd., Cadillac Industrial Cleaning, Glencoe Auto Recyclers, SellToWin.com, Wix Filters, Toyota-Town.com and Palasad of London.