After showing speed through last season and coming close on a couple occasions, Jo Lawrence can officially call himself an APC United Late Model Series race winner after visiting victory lane at the Dayco 75 at Jukasa Motor Speedway.
“It means a lot to me,” he told SHORT TRACK MUSINGS. “I always look for a challenge in racing. We do it for fun, and every time we come here it’s a ton of fun. But the competition level in APC is just so stacked, so difficult to be a strong runner. So to be able to have a strong run like this and take a win, it’s definitely high up there on my list right now.”
Lawrence was fast throughout the day, posting the quickest lap in time trials and running second to Brandon Watson throughout the event. It was in the final run to the checkered with 17 laps to go that he’d make his move, making the pass and leading the rest of the way en route to victory.
“Just trying to wait until the right time to go,” he commented. “Felt like we had a really good car and could challenge him, but just didn’t want to burn it up early. We waited and we felt like the time was right, we went and it worked out for us.”
Lawrence will now hope to carry the momentum to the beach, after seeing himself finish outside the top-10 in both events last season at Sauble Speedway.
“I’m excited,” he said. “Any racing that we get to do this year is a bonus with what’s going on in the world. It’s great to come together and try and do all of this – all the tracks involved that did all this hard work to make this season we have. I’m definitely pumped to support all of them. I love the track. It’s been awhile since I’ve had a good run at Sauble. I think it’s about time to get another one.”
While a lot of people are getting their only time behind the wheel in the Late Models this season, that isn’t the case for Lawrence as he has been part of both Pure Stock events at Flamboro Speedway. In the most recent in July, he came up short with a runner-up to Gillian Hils.
“Pure stocks are a ton of fun,” he commented. “I know there’s a bunch of – I don’t want to say it, but politics in having Late Model guys race them. But last race there, Gillian Hils beat me. She out-raced me, had a faster car, and she won. I had a blast racing her. She was super clean, super competitive, and that was a challenge. I feel like having Late Model drivers come down once in a while is a fun challenge for those guys. I mean, she surprised me and raced clean; it was amazing.
“I’ve had fun with these bone stocks, but again, the speed of late models is hard to get out of your system so it’s nice to back out here.”
In knowing the road it takes to go from pure stocks to late models, Lawrence says the biggest key for the young drivers to understand is patience.
“There’s always a right time to go, and a right time to take and give,” he explained. “So just be patient when your time comes and work hard at it.”