Delaware, ON- The Great Canadian Race has a new champion in its elite ranks. On Saturday afternoon at Delaware Speedway Matt Pritkio, age 25 from London, became the thirty-third winner of the event: the Keystone Light 200 presented by Sifton Properties. The race came down to a cage-match thriller between two-time Great Canadian Race winner Jesse Kennedy and Pritko (#21) in a green-white-checker scenario.
The afternoon’s events began with a Time Attack Qualifying sponsored by Checkered Flag Media.com racing DVDs. Matt Pritiko (#21) of London had the fastest time at 19.095 seconds. Adam Quarrie (#6) of Dorchester had the second fastest time at 19.155 seconds and Jamie Cox (#22) of Dorchester had the third fastest time at 19.190 seconds.
The first FT Garage Late Models heat was won by Matt Pritiko (#21) who led at the beginning of the 10-lap heat. Lloyd Rawlings (#69) of Windsor placed first in the second heat taking the lead on lap one.
The 15-lap Consolation Race determined the order of the Late Models for the Keystone Light 200. Justin Demelo (#82) of London finished first after leading the field throughout the entire 15-lap race. Mat Box (#27) of Milton placed second and Steve Marche (#95) of London placed third.
With the field set and driver introductions complete it was time to begin the Great Canadian Race: The Keystone Light 200. Matt Pritiko (#21) started up front with Jamie Cox (#22) of Dorchester on the outside line. Pritiko took the lead from Cox on lap twenty-two after a caution. Meanwhile, Jesse Kennedy (#10) was in a fight of his own dropping to the rear in an earlier caution and fighting his way back to the pack. By lap seventy he had moved up to second and on lap seventy one he took the lead from Pritiko. The competition yellow came out for trouble on Cole Powell’s car on lap 94.
At the competition yellow Jesse Kennedy accepted the highly anticipated McRobert Fuels Challenge putting him in a position to potentially claim a $10,000 pay day if he could win the event. He would restart from the 12th spot and immediately go to work picking off drivers one at a time. The field got a solid green flag run in completing nearly a quarter of the race in a spurt before the caution flew on lap 139 as Kris Lawrence (#28) of London spun in turn four.
From that moment on it was mayhem on the track as drivers fought and kicked their way trying to get to the front. Matt Pritiko was the leader of the race and in firm control but by lap 143 he had claimed his way back to second. From there it was a sprint to the finish as Kennedy repeatedly reeled in Pritko hoping to capitalize on lapped traffic. The race would come to a conclusion with a series of caution flags in the final three laps of the race which saw jump starts and heavy contact among the lead duo. At one point it seemed assured that Pritko would destroy his car after Kennedy made contact with him down the back stretch. The pair also had disagreements about fair restarts in the final laps, even momentarily making contact under the caution as the two swerved on the track warming up their tires. Pritiko, however, earned his spot, saving the car and hanging on through restarts and pressure from two-time race winner Kennedy. Pritiko took the win, Kennedy finished second. Third place was Mark Watson (#3) of St. Thomas who won last year’s Great Canadian Race after spending the majority of the day inside the top-5.
“I tried everything in the book,” explained second-place finisher Kennedy in victory lane. “Matt did a hell of a save, I was just trying to get behind him but clipped him. I’m glad he saved it and everything was okay.”
For his part, Pritko had managed to get his name written in the history books and see two previous winners of the race join him on the podium.
“This is amazing, I’m pretty speechless.” said Pritiko. “It’s such a historic event and I’m proud to be a part of it. It was a blast. This is the highest [win of my career] for sure.”
All-told the race proved to be a challenging one for drivers and their equipment with 16 caution flags and one red flag on the afternoon. Two-hundred laps played a large toll on the field of drivers more accustomed to 40-lap sprint races. Of the 21 drivers who started the event only nine were left running on the track at the end of 200 laps. Those drivers left running included “Cowboy” Kris Lawrence (#28) of London who pulled off a stunning tenth-place finish in his temporarily upgraded Super Stock car that allowed him to run in the event.
Delaware Speedway is off next week for its first break of the season. Racing will resume on September 13th and 14th for a Rain Date Make-Up Weekend. September 13 is a newly added event to the program and will include FT Garage Late Models, Coca-Cola Super Stocks and Demar Aggregates Trucks. September 14th will feature races for GAW Recycling Enduro and Bone Stock Chaos Cars. From there the track heads to Championship Weekend and the third annual Pumpkin Smasher.
===GREAT CANADIAN RACE RESULTS===
Pos. # Name Hometown Laps
1. 21 Matt Pritiko London 200
2. 10 Jesse Kennedy Oneida 200
3. 3 Mark Watson St. Thomas 200
4. 5 Brad Corcoran Milton 200
5. 72 Shawn Thompson Parkhill 200
6. 38 Tyler Hendricks Pain Court 200
7. 82 Justin Demelo London 197
8. 6 Adam Quarrie Dorchester 197
9. 24SS Brennan Dideiro Ancaster 195
10. 28 Kris Lawrence London 190
11. 22 Jamie Cox Dorchester 187
12. 24 Stephen Richmond Appin 178
13. 24p J.P. Josiasse Peterborough 168
14. 69 Lloyd Rawlings Windsor 137
15. 5 Jay Christie Beachville 97
16. 25 Cole Powell Mt. Brydges 94
17. 95 Steve Marche London 78
18. 27 Mat Box Mississauga 64
19. 51 Phillip Nyssen Brantford 59
20. 44 Jon Urlin London 21
21. 2 Doug Stewart London 21
MEDIA CONTACT:John Houghton/ Delaware Speedway PR
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