LONDON, Ont. – June 4, 2018 – Matt Pritiko had to overcome a broken throttle return spring was on high alert to earn a third-place finish during a carnage-filled Interstate Batteries 100 with the APC United Late Model Series at Flamboro Speedway on Saturday night.
Pritiko lined-up eighth on the starting grid after qualifying seventh fastest, which put him in the top-10 invert. Pritiko quickly picked off a couple of positions and moved into fifth by lap five.
“We had a good solid car at the start of the race,” Pritiko said. “We started eighth in the Feature and knocked a couple of positions off near the start of the race and kind of cruised to the halfway point.”
While Pritiko wasn’t pushing the issue, he made it up to third behind Brandon Watson and Andrew Gresel by lap 22. He was on high-alert after a flurry of cautions between laps 22 and 46 saw several incidents. After falling back to fifth, Pritiko was back up to third on lap 52 after two cars wrecked in front of him to bring out another yellow. The car started to improve as the sun set on the afternoon, but Pritiko lost a small and valuable weapon in his arsenal at the same time.
“At that point, the throttle return spring broke and I was pulling it back and giving it throttle myself,” Pritiko said. “It made the car turn like a bus going into the corner so I didn’t really have much for anyone tonight.”
Three more cautions over the final 50 laps meant Pritiko had to navigate some tricky situations.
“You rely on your spotter and luckily I have a really good one,” Pritiko said. “He’ll maneuver me through any traffic or slow cars coming up. With a tight track like this and our next race at Peterborough in two weeks, you rely on your spotter because there’s going to be carnage and you have to avoid it at all costs.”
In the closing laps, JR Fitzpatrick moved leader Watson up the racetrack to take the lead, allowing Pritiko to sneak past as well into second. Watson made a charge back to the front over the final 25 laps and re-took the second spot. With Pritiko forced to finesse his car through each corner, Watson was able to bump the No.21 up the racetrack and take the spot.
“We do what we can to get every position possible, but we’re not going to force something that we can’t have,” Pritiko said. “I knew Brandon was coming up quick behind me after I got around him on the restart. There’s no sense racing for a spot that you don’t have a car capable of having that position because you’ll just end up in the wall like everyone else did tonight.”
Despite all the contact in the race, Pritiko enjoyed the side-by-side racing Flamboro provided from the drop of the green flag to the checkered flag.
“It’s tons of fun,” Pritiko smiled. “It’s no fun racing against nobody in a straight line. It’s cool when there are guys on the inside of you, it’s fun when there’s guys on the outside of you on a restart. That’s what racing is all about – having fun and enjoying the time at the track. We had a great night tonight in the Toyota-Town, Global Warranty Camry. It’s quick. We’re just working out a couple bugs and we’ll be fast at Peterborough.”
Pritiko and his team will now turn their attention to the Hy-Grade Roofing 100 at Peterborough Speedway on Saturday, June 16. It marks the third race of the season on the 2018 APC United Late Model Series schedule.
“We’ve done real well there,” Pritiko said. “I think we finished second at Autumn Colours a couple of years ago. I like tight tracks. It’s very similar to Flamboro, so you have to qualify up front and pace yourself. Don’t force any issues on lap 50. Lap 80 is where you start to go.”
Follow Matt Pritiko from the first green flag to the final checkered flag via his website atwww.MattPritiko.com, on Facebook at Facebook.com/MattPritiko, on Twitter @MattPritiko and on Intstagram @MattPritiko21.
2018 SEASON STATS
Matt Pritiko – 2 Starts: 0 Wins, 1 Top-5s, 2 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.