Race Reports

J.R. Fitzpatrick Drives Through the Field for APC Series Victory at Sunset Speedway

INNISFIL, Ontario — Blowing a motor in practice, J.R. Fitzpatrick missed qualifying as the team changed out the power plant in his racecar. Despite starting tail of the field, though, he would make his way to the front and score the victory in the Stewart’s Equipment and Kubota 100 at Sunset Speedway for the APC Auto Parts United Late Model Series.

Dale Shaw was the quickest car in qualifying with a lap of 14.261 seconds in front of Jo Lawrence, Jake Sheridan, Ryan Kimball, Josh Stade, Matt Pritiko, Danny Benedict, Brandon Watson, Connor James, and Pete Shepherd.

The invert would put Benedict and James on the front row, with Danny Benedict grabbing the early advantage in front of Josh Stade and Kimball, as Shaw battled James for second in front of Sheridan.

Josh Stade would get alongside Benedict for the top spot on Lap 3, taking the top spot two laps later, as Kimball got alongside Benedict for second in front of Shaw, Sheridan, and Shepherd. Kimball would push Benedict up off of turn four on Lap 7, allowing him to grab the spot two laps later.

Benedict now ran third in front of Shaw, Sheridan, Shepherd, Pritiko, and Lawrence. Sheridan would get alongside Shaw for fourth on Lap 12, with Watson in ninth in front of Treyten Lapcevich and Gord Shepherd, as James battled Howse for 12th.

Benedict would get back alongside Kimball for second on Lap 15, as the battle continued between Shaw and Sheridan. Shaw would finally take the spot a lap later, with Pete Shepherd remaining sixth in front of Lawrence, Watson, Pritiko, Lapcevich, and Howse.

Gord Shepherd would battle James for 12th, with Fitzpatrick taking Shae Gemmell and Jordan Sims three-wide for 14th. J.R. Fitzpatrick would take the spot on Lap 19 ahead of Gemmell and Sims, with Mat Box running 17th. Howse continued to move forward, passing Lapcevich for 10th on Lap 22.

The deadlock for second came to an end on Lap 23, with Kimball clearing Benedict for second as they lapped by Dustin Jackson. The caution then came out three laps later for Shepherd stopped in turn one and two following contact with Lapcevich. With 76 laps to go, Stade led Kimball, Benedict, Shaw, Sheridan, Pete Shepherd, Lawrence, Watson, James, Fitzpatrick, Gemmell, Sims, Tyler Di Venanzo, and Travis Hallyburton.

The restart would see Stade grab the advantage ahead of Kimball, as Benedict and Shaw battled for third. Shaw got the spot on Lap 28, with Pete Shepherd getting alongside Benedict. Shaw would then get alongside Kimball for second, as the battle for fourth continued. Sheridan held down sixth in front of Lawrence, Watson and Howse, with Fitzpatrick alongside Pritiko for 10th in front of Gemmell, James, and Sims.

Benedict would hold off the challenge from Shepherd, with Sheridan looking to get by Shepherd for fifth on Lap 34. Behind them, Howse would get alongside Watson for eighth, though was unable to complete the pass. Instead, Howse would be challenged by Fitzpatrick as Pritiko ran 11th in front of Gemmell and James.

Shaw would then take over second on Lap 38, with Benedict following through two laps later. Sheridan would get alongside Kimball for fourth on Lap 40, with Shepherd in sixth, as Fitzpatrick challenged Watson for seventh two laps later. Behind them, Lawrence now ran ninth in front of James, Gemmell, and Pritiko.

Sheridan would move into fourth on Lap 44, with Shepherd following suit a lap later as Fitzpatrick got alongside Kimball for sixth. Benedict would then get alongside Shaw for second on Lap 46, completing the pass a lap later, as Sheridan held down fourth in front of Shepherd and Fitzpatrick. Watson would be the next to pass Kimball, taking the seventh spot on Lap 49, with Howse following suit three laps later.

The second caution would come out on Lap 53 for Lapcevich stalling with ignition box issues. With 48 laps to go, Stade led Benedict, Shaw, Sheridan, Shepherd, Fitzpatrick, Watson, Howse, Kimball, Gemmell, Pritiko, Lawrence, and James.

Stade got a good restart, with Shaw and Benedict battling for second behind them as Shepherd ran fourth in front of Sheridan, with Fitrzpatrick and Watson side-by-side. Shaw retook second on Lap 55, with Benedict attempting to take it back though unsuccessful.

Instead, Shepherd would get alongside Benedict for third as Fitzpatrick battled for Sheridan for fifth. Behind them, the battles continued with Gemmell and Watson side-by-side for seventh, as James challenged Howse for ninth. Behind them, Hallyburton ran 11th in front of Pritiko, Lawrence, Sims, Gibbons and Di Venenzo.

Shepherd took over third on Lap 61, with Fitzpatrick and Sheridan following over the next three laps later. Benedict now ran fifth, with Watson and Gemmell’s battle continuing for sixth, as James cleared Howse for eighth on Lap 66. Unfortunately, Benedict’s strong run came to end on Lap 68 as he slowed with a tire issue, hitting pit road two laps later.

The race would then go under the yellow flag for the third time at Lap 72 for Jackson going around on the backstretch. With 29 laps to go, Stade led Shaw, Fitzpatrick, Shepherd, Sheridan, Watson, Gemmell, James, Howse, and Lawrence.

The restart would see Shaw grab the top spot, though Stade immediately challenged him back in return as Fitzpatrick and Shepherd battled for third, with Watson and Sheridan side-by-side for fifth. Shepherd got the third spot on Lap 76, with Fitzpatrick immediately challenging back, as Watson took over fifth two laps later.

Stade would clear with the advantage on Lap 79, as Fitzpatrick got alongside Shaw for the runner-up spot. Their battle was short lived, though, with the fourth caution for Jackson going around once again. Under caution, Stade’s car would see a shower of sparks from the left front as the lower balljoint broke under the yellow flag.

Shaw inherited the lead, getting a good restart to hold serve in front of Fitzpatrick, as Shepherd and Watson battled for third. Shepherd got the spot on Lap 81, with Gemmell and Lawrence side-by-side for fifth. Lawrence got the spot two laps later, as the caution came out for Watson slowing with an issue. With 17 laps to go, Shaw led Benedict, Shepherd, Lawrence, Howse, Gemmell, James, Kimball, Sims, Pritiko, and Lapcevich.

Shaw got another good restart, as Fitzpatrick battled Lawrence for second in front of Shepherd and Howse, with James alongside Gemmell for sixth. James got the spot on Lap 89 with Kimball coming through with him as Pritiko looked to do the same. Kimball would get back alongside James, completing the pass on Lap 93, as Fitxpatrick cleared Lawrence.

Fitzpatrick would track down Shaw for the top spot, getting alongside him and passing him with three laps to go. He then led the rest of the way en route to scoring the victory.

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