For the second straight weekend in a row, Brandon Watson visited victory lane at Sunset Speedway. While his previous win came behind the wheel of his Super Late Model, this time around it was driving his No. 9 APC Auto Parts United Late Models of Ontario Tour entry. After taking the lead at Lap 35, he did not look back in the AP Exhaust 100.
The evening started off with qualifying, which saw Watson post the quickest lap at 14.222 seconds, beating out Matt Priitko for the top spot by 0.040. Jamie Cox was third, followed by Andy Kamrath, Andrew Gresel, Jason Parker, Rick Burbridge, Treyten Lapcevich, Josh Stade and Nick Goetz as the top-10 was only separated by 0.207 seconds.
Though with an invert in place to set the starting grid, it’d be Andrew Gresel on pole for the 100-lap event ahead of Kamrath, Pritiko, Cox, Watson, Parker, Burbridge, Lapcevich, Stade and Goetz. Steve Laking started 11th, followed by Tom Gibbons, Shawn McGlynn, Shae Gremmell, Billy Schwartzenburg, Patrick Freel, Shawn Chenoweth, Rick Spencer-Walt, Mat Box, Gary Elliott and Paighton Jacobs.
Off the drop of the green flag, Gresel took the initial lead with Pritiko and Kamrath side-by-side for second. Pritiko cleared Kamrath, getting alongside Gresel for the lead, as Watson got alongside Kamrath for third. Pritiko would then take the lead on Lap 5 ahead of Gresel with Watson up to third ahead of Kamrath and Cox. Parker ran sixth ahead of Lapcevich, Goetz, Gibbons and Burbridge.
Gremmell had made his way up to 11th, with Stade and Laking side-by-side for 12th at Lap 8. Stade cleared Laking a lap later, with Chenoweth and McGlynn side-by-side for 14th. Further up the field, Goetz got alongside Lapcevich for seventh at Lap 11, completing the pass a lap later.
The battles continued as Cox then got alongside Parker for fifth at Lap 13, as Kamrath got alongside Gresel for third a lap later. Kamrath then took third ahead of Gresel on Lap 16, with Cox fifth ahead of Parker, Goetz, Lapcevich, Gibbons, Burbridge and Gremmell. Burbridge then got alongside Gibbons for ninth on Lap 19, with Goetz alongside Parker for sixth a lap later.
Gresel and Kamrath also continued to go back-and-forth, getting side-by-side once again at Lap 21. Kamrath was able to hold him off, though, clearing him two laps later, as Cox continued to run fifth. Goetz now ran sixth ahead of Parker and Lapcevich as Elliott headed down pit road on Lap 24. Burbridge ran ninth ahead of Gremmell, with Chenoweth alongside Gibbons for 11th at the quarter-mark.
With 27 laps on the board, Pritiko continued to lead Watson through lap traffic, as Gresel and Kamrath ran side-by-side once again. Goetz then got alongside Cox for fifth at Lap 28 ahead of Parker, Lapcevich, Burbridge and Gremmell. Lapcevich was then able to get alongside Parker for seventh at Lap 30, with Chenoweth passing Gremmell for 10th two laps later.
Gremmell now ran 11th ahead of Gibbons, Stade, McGlynn and Spencer-Walt. Parker would hold off Lapcevich for seventh, clearing him at Lap 34, just before the caution flew for an incident involving Goetz and Cox. Under caution, a series of drivers hit pit road for adjustments – Schwartzenburg, Stade, Box, Jacobs, Parker, Freel and Goetz. With 66 laps to go, Pritiko led Watson, Gresel, Kamrath, Lapcevich, Burbridge, Chenoweth, Gremmell, Gibbons, McGlynn, Spencer-Walt, Laking, Stade, Parker, Goetz, Cox, Schwartzenburg, Jacobs, Box and Freel.
Watson got a good restart to take the lead ahead of Pritiko, Kamrath, Gresel and Lapcevich. Chenoweth made his way up to sixth ahead of Gibbons, Gremmell and Burbridge, as Spencer-Walt and McGlynn ran side-by-side for 10th. Chenoweth then passed Lapcevich on Lap 39 to break into the top-five, with Gibbons set to follow him through. Gibbons was unable to, instead falling into the clutches of Gremmell.
Behind them, Burbridge continued to run ninth now ahead of Spencer-Walt, with Stade alongside McGlynn for 11th. McGlynn cleared Stade to keep the spot on Lap 42, with Schwartzenburg and Laking side-by-side for 13th.
The caution then flew on Lap 44, though, for an incident in turn two involving Burbridge, Spencer-Walt, Stade and Box. After another round of pit stops for some, Pritiko led with 57 laps to go ahead of Watson, Kamrath, Gresel, Chenoweth, Lapcevich, Gibbons, Gremmell McGlynn, Stade, Laking, Schwartzenburg, Cox, Goetz, Freel, Parker, Box and Spencer-Walt.
The restart saw a battle for the lead between Watson and Pritiko ahead of Kamrath, as Chenoweth and Gresel ran side-by-side for fourth. Behind them, Gibbons ran sixth ahead of Lapcevich and Gremmell as Laking made his way down pit road on Lap 46 with a problem.
Watson would clear Pritiko for the top spot on Lap 49, with Chenoweth getting alongside Kamrath for third ahead of Gresel. Behind them, Lapcevich was also able to get alongside Gibbons for sixth. Chenoweth would take third on Lap 52 ahead of Kamrath and Gresel, as the battle for sixth continued ahead of Gremmell.
Lapcevich grabbed sixth on Lap 55, with Gremmell following him through to bump Gibbons back to eighth. Behind him, McGlynn was ninth as Stade and Schwartzenburg battled side-by-side for 10th at Lap 57 ahead of Parker. Gremmell then made his move on Lapcevich for sixth a lap later, with Schwartzenburg taking the 10th spot on Lap 59.
The back half of the top-10 captured the audience’s attention as on Lap 60, the battled for sixth continued between Lapcevich and Gremmell, with McGlynn alongside Gibbons for eighth. McGlynn got the spot on Lap 61, with Schwartzenburg looking to follow him through ahead of Stade and Parker, as Spencer-Walt and Cox battled for 13th.
Gremmell would clear Lapcevich for sixth on Lap 63, as Gresel got back alongside Kamrath a lap later, now for fourth. Gremmel ran sixth ahead of Lapcevich, McGlynn, Schwartzenburg, Gibbons, Stade and Parker as the battle between Spencer-Walt and Cox continued ahead of Goetz.
Gresel took the fourth spot on Lap 68 ahead of Kamrath, but Kamrath wasn’t set to let it go easily as he got back alongside Gresel two laps later. Gresel retook the spot on Lap 72, with Gremmell getting alongside Kamrath for fifth. Gremmell was unable to complete the pass, though, falling back in line in sixth ahead of McGlynn as Schwartzenburg and Lapcevich battled for eighth.
Gibbons ran 10th behind them ahead of Spencer-Walt and Stade, as Parker and Goetz ran side-by-side for 13th with 25 laps to go. Gremmell was able to take fifth on Lap 76, with McGlynn following him through as the battle for eighth continued ahead of Spencer-Walt, Gibbons and Parker.
With 20 laps to go, Watson continued to lead ahead of Pritiko, Chenoweth, Gresel and Gremmell. McGlynn ran sixth ahead of Kamrath and Lapcevich as Schwartzenburg and Spencer-Walt battled for ninth. Spencer-Walt got the spot on Lap 83, followed by passing Lapcevich for eighth a lap later. He then got alongside Kamrath for seventh on Lap 85, as McGlynn got alongside Gremmell for fifth.
Spencer-Walt’s climb continued as he snagged the seventh position on Lap 87 ahead of Kamrath, Lapcevich, Schwartzenburg, Parker and Goetz. Schwartzenburg then got alongside Lapcevich for ninth with 11 laps to go, completing the pass. He then got alongside Kamrath for eighth at Lap 91, as McGlynn finally cleared Gremmell for fifth.
Spencer-Walt then took his spot at Gremmell, getting alongside him for sixth with four laps to go ahead of Schwartzenburg, Kamrath and Lapcevich. Behind them, Goetz and Parker ran side-by-side for 11th ahead of Cox. Ultimately, the battle didn’t pan out with Goetz going for a spin on the last lap for the caution.
Brandon Watson hit the Green-White-Checkered perfectly, leading the rest of the way en route to victory ahead of Matt Pritiko, Shawn Chenoweth, Andrew Gresel, and Shae Gremmell. Shawn McGlynn finished sixth, followed by Billy Schwartzenburg, Rick Spencer-Walt, Andy Kamrath, and Treyten Lapcevich.
Jason Parker finished 11th, followed by Tom Gibbons, Jamie Cox, Josh Stade, Mat Box, Nick Goetz, Patrick Freel, Paighton Jacobs, Gary Elliott, Steve Laking, and Rick Burbridge.