GRIMSBY, ON- Almost two weeks after one of the biggest performances of his young career, 15-Year Old Cayden Lapcevich is still reeling from clinching his first Peterborough Speedway ‘Autumn Colours Classic’ triumph.
The third-generation star entered the event as a much publicized favourite, after securing the pole position by virtue of winning Peterborough’s ‘Chase for the Colours’ qualifier in August. However, after surrendering the lead to fellow breakout star Matt Bentley early in the race, Lapcevich was left with the unenviable task of reclaiming the point position from one of the best Super Stock competitors in Ontario.
“Once Bentley slipped past me – I’d be lying if I didn’t wonder if it was over,” admits Lapcevich. “There was a lap or two where I was worried that I had just handed this race over to him.
“But, then I started thinking about everything we’ve put into this car, and how hard my Dad has worked to get us here, and I knew I couldn’t just lay down and take second. From about lap-15 onward, I was driving this car for everything it had. There wasn’t anything more I could have pulled out of it”
What resulted was one of the lead battles the division has seen at the Thanksgiving Weekend event in years – as Lapcevich hounded Bentley through almost the entirety of the 50-Lap event’s second-half. Finally, with ten laps remaining, Lapcevich reclaimed the lead on a brilliant crossover maneuver immediately after a late-race restart.
“I’m not sure I took a breath at all in those last ten laps,” laughs Lapcevich. “I mean, all I could concentrate on was, at first taking the lead from Matt, and then keeping the lead from him. Because, once we got under him, he was all over me to get it back. He’s very good at what he does – and I knew I couldn’t give him another inch”
“The moment was so much bigger than I had ever thought it would be,” says the fan favourite when asked about the moment his No. 76 took its spot on the front-straightaway – checkered flag in hand.
“When I pulled into victory lane, honestly, it felt like time stood still,” continues ‘The Prodigy’. “It was the biggest rush I’ve ever experienced. Everyone else’s stories don’t do it justice. Experiencing it for yourself is just absolutely incredible”
In a season that’s already seen Lapcevich tally a second consecutive Sunset Speedway Super Stock championship and Sunset Speedway ‘Velocity 250’ victory, the personable high-school student admits there are moments in which his family-owned team’s accomplishments feel almost too good to be real.
“So much of this season has felt like a dream,” explains the son of former NASCAR Canadian Tire Series standout Jeff Lapcevich. “Winning the Velocity  was like that. Winning our second championship, too. And Peterborough wasn’t much different. It’s pretty amazing to think of what we were able to do this year”
“The [Autumn Colours Classic] will go down as one of my favourite races of all time,” adds Lapcevich. “I run through it in my head at least once a day. I mean, even two weeks later, I still can’t believe we won it. I’m still speechless”
With a proposed fulltime move to the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series in 2016, Lapcevich’s days as a Saturday night star might be numbered. However, if his role at Sunset Speedway and other local shows is limited to supporting his younger brother Treyten’s burgeoning career, Cayden is more than happy to have gone out on a high note.
“It’s looking like most of our focus will be on the [NASCAR] Canadian Tire Series program next season, but I’ll be around the short tracks as much as I can watching and helping Treyten with his stuff,” says the well-spoken teenager.
“I’m not sure if ‘the Classic’ will be my last ever win in a Super Stock, but if it is, it’s definitely a performance that I can look back on and be proud of. I mean, no matter where we go or what we end up racing, we won the Autumn Colours Classic. As a short track racer in Ontario, it doesn’t get much bigger than that. And no one will ever be able to take that from us.”
Cayden Lapcevich’s 2015 season would not have been 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)