2017 APC Auto Parts United Late Models of Ontario Tour Champion Brandon Watson seems to be back in proper from, as he scored the dominating win on Saturday night at Jukasa Motor Speedway.
Following the invert after time trials, Junior Farrelly started pole ahead of Andrew Gresel, Jamie Cox, Jake Sheridan, Matt Pritiko, Treyten Lapcevich, Brandon Watson, J.R. Fitzpatrick, Nick Goetz, Jordan Sims, Jade Franklin, Shawn McGlynn, Ryan Kimball, Patrick Freel, Shae Gemmel, Steve Laking, Brandon Verhoeven, Matt Box, Brady Smith, Josh Stade, Shawn Chenoweth, Mike Bentley, Cole Powell, Todd Delisle, Billy Schwartzenburg, Tim Ellis, Tom Gibbons, Tim Norris, Paighton Jacobs, and Trevor Monaghan.
Past series champion Andrew Gresel grabbed the early advantage ahead of Sheridan, with Lapcevich alongside Farrelly for third. Lapcevich got the spot on Lap 3, bringing Cox, Watson, and Fitzpatrick through with him. Cox would then slip by Lapcevich for third on Lap 6, with Watson following him through. Watson continued his climb, passing Cox for third before the caution flew on Lap 8 for Jacobs spinning. Under the caution, Bentley was given the lucky dog as he started the race one lap down due to working on the car between qualifying and the race. With 93 laps to go, Gresel led Sheridan, Lapcevich, Cox, Watson, Fitzpatrick, Farrelly, Pritiko, Box, McGlynn, Kimball, Sims, Gemmel, Franklin, Laking, Freel, Verhoeven, Chenoweth, Smith, Schwartzenburg, and Gibbons.
Gresel got a good restart to keep the lead ahead of Sheridan and Lapcevich, with Watson getting by Lapcevich on Lap 9. Cox ran fifth ahead of Fitzpatrick, Pritiko, Farrelly, Kimball, Sims, and Goetz. The shuffling continued with Watson getting alongside Sheridan for second, passing him on Lap 15. Watson’s climb to the front was completed on Lap 17, with him putting the No. 9 Late Model out front ahead of Gresel and Sheridan. Gresel then slowed a lap later with a problem, ending his race early. This allowed Sheridan to move up to second ahead of Lapcevich, Coz, and Fitzpatrick. Cox would get alongside Lapcevich for third, completing the pass on Lap 21. Outside of the top-five, it would be Pritiko running sixth ahead of Farrelly, Kimball, Sims, Goetz, McGlynn, Gemmell, Chenoweth, Franklin, Stade, Laking, and Freel. Everything went smooth and green until Lap 26, when Jacob went around again for the second yellow flag.
Watson got a good restart to hold serve ahead of Sheridan, Lapcevich, Pritiko and Kimball as Fitzpatrick and Farrelly battled for sixth. Fitzpatrick got the spot on Lap 29 ahead of Farrelly, with Sims running eighth ahead of McGlynn, Cox and Chenoweth as Gemmell and Goetz went side-by-side. Gemmell took 12th on Lap 32, with Stade challenging Goetz next. The challenge was short lived as Franklin slowed to a stop just before pit road with a mechanical issue for the third yellow flag at Lap 31.
Watson retained the lead ahead of Sheridan, Pritiko, Fitzpatrick and Lapcevich with Sims alongside Kimball for sixth as McGlynn and Farrelly ran side-by-side for eighth. McGlynn got the spot on Lap 34, with Kimball snagging sixth a lap later. Sims would run seventh as Farrelly got back alongside McGlynn for eighth ahead of Gemmell, Chenoweth, Stade, Cox, Goetz, and Powell. The middle of the field ran single-file with the next side-by-side battle being for 16th between Verhoeven and Ellis. Verhoeven got the spot on Lap 40, bringing Smith through with him. The biggest incident of the event would occur on Lap 42 when Kimball spun off of turn four when something broke in the rear-end, leaving Chenoweth and Farrelly nowhere to go. Thankfully, all drivers involved were okay.
Watson would get a good restart ahead of Sheridan, Fitzpatrick, Pritiko, Sims, Lapcevich, Gemmell, McGlynn, Cox, Stade, Powell, Goetz, Smith, Vanhoeven and Schwartzenburg. The field would be strung out mostly single-file except for Lapcevich getting alongside Sims for fifth at the halfway mark, completing the pass one lap later. Cox would look for a way by McGlynn on Lap 53, with Gemmell alongside Sims a lap later. Gemmell took the sixth spot at Lap 55 ahead of Sims, Cox, McGlynn, Stade, Powell, Goetz, Smith, and Verhoeven. McGlynn would then get back by Cox on Lap 60 for eighth, as Stade ran 10th ahead of Powell, Goetz, Smith, Verhoeven, Schwartzenburg, and Norris.
With the laps ticking down, the action picked up as Fitzpatrick would get alongside Sheridan for second at Lap 64, but was unable to complete the pass. He would try again three laps later, once again unable to complete the pass as they made their way through lap traffic. Back in the field, though, Norris was able to get by Schwartzenburg with 29 laps to go to move up into 15th. At the front, Fitzpatrick’s hard work paid off as he would move into second at Lap 73, with Sims getting alongside Gemmell for sixth. Sims got the spot on with 24 laps to go ahead of Gemmell, McGlynn, Cox, Powell, and Stade.
Pritiko would look to move forward, challenging Sheridan for third on Lap 78, but was unable to complete the pass as he fell back in line five laps later. Lapcevich continued to run fifth, with Sims alongside Gemmell for sixth ahead of Powell. Things got interesting for ninth on Lap 83, as Goetz would tag the back of Stade, causing Stade to slip up the track a little, with Smith making the move three-wide. The result would be Smith moving into ninth ahead of Stade, and Goetz. They’d all move up another spot in line as Powell slowed with a problem with 16 laps to go. Further up the field, Sims would clear Gemmell for sixth on Lap 86. Gemmell’s night would get worse as he’d slow with a problem with six laps to go, bringing out the fifth yellow flag.
The restart would see an impressive battle for the lead as Fitzpatrick grabbed it initially, but Watson was quick to get right back by him for the top spot. Fitzpatrick charged back coming to the flag, but it wasn’t enough to grab the win. Brandon Watson scored the victory ahead of J.R. Fitzpatrick, Matt Pritiko, Jake Sheridan, Treyten Lapcevich, Jordan Sims, Shae Gemmell, Shawn McGlynn, Brady Smith, Jamie Cox, Josh Stade, Brandon Verhoeven, Billy Schwartzenburg, Matt Box, Tim Norris, Steve Laking, Nick Goetz, Tom Gibbons, Tim Ellis, Jade Franklin, Paighton Jacobs, Cole Powell, Todd Delisle, Mike Bentley, Jr Farrelly, Shawn Chenoweth, Ryan Kimball, Patrick Freel, Andrew Gresel, and Trevor Monaghan.