With each season that comes up in the Ontario short tracks, there is always a list of drivers that everyone is keeping an eye on with each other division, wondering how they’re going to perform. The Pro Late Models are no different, as evident by the success and strength of the APC Auto Parts United Late Models of Ontario since they launched.
There are a bunch of drivers who are capable of winning, but here are 20 drivers that are on the radar of people across the province.
As always, be sure to comment with your thoughts – whether positive or negative, and enjoy getting to know these competitors a little more.
2022 Plans: Run APC series full time
2022 Goals: Be consistent run up front and the wins should come, (and) be in the hunt for the championship at end of year.
Drivers to Watch: All of them cause in this series, anyone can win; all the cars are so close.
Most Memorable Moment: Back-to-back Grisdale Championships; that was hard to do, but also first APC win in 2019 ranks right up there too.
Shae Gemmell has proven his ability behind the wheel, as proven with the aforementioned Grisdale Triple Crown Championships in beating out front runners like Shawn Chenoweth, J.R. Fitzpatrick and Kyle Steckly for the honor. He has also shown speed on the APC Auto Parts United Late Model Series Tour, with a pair of top-10’s last season including a third at Delaware Speedway.
14. Josh Stade
2022 Plans: My plans are to do APC, Delaware invitationals, Beat the Heat 150 at Sauble (Speedway), (and) possibly triple crown events at Flamboro (Speedway) and Sunset (Speedway) specials.
2022 Goals: My goals and expectations for this season are to work on building a great setup on the cars and making them more consistent, also getting more seat time at Delaware due to the new race surface.
Drivers to Watch: #84 You can’t ever discount JR (Fitzpatrick) he has a ton of experience, and knowledge. – #81 (Andrew) Gresel is one you can’t discount either; he has been racing Pro Lates a lot of years and always seems to be their at the end of the race. – #48 Dwayne Baker and I have run side by side a lot and had clean racing; I always look forward to running against him, but you can assure if he has a fast piece he would be a threat – #21 Matt Pritiko has a ton of Delaware experience and is fast usually where ever he goes – #4 Connor James (and) that team have worked hard alongside (Taylor) Holdaway, and showed many nights of speed as well through out the 2021 season
Most Memorable Moment: Opening night at Sunset Speedway 2015 (when) 30 cars showed up and we went up against the best of the best; started mid pack and drove to the lead, and won our first travelling track feature win.
A constant on the APC Series tour, Stade scored three top-10 finishes. He also posted a pair of top-10’s including a fourth in weekly Sunset Speedway competition. Though a lot of people have always watched the No. 17 in seeing where they’ll travel next, as evident by starts at both Sauble Speedway and Flamboro Speedway in 2021.
13. Dwayne Baker
It has always been brought up here, but experience and success over the years easily lands Dwayne Baker on this list after he registered for the APC Series tour in 2022. He has previous victories on the tour, as well as a consistent force in claiming checkered flags weekly at Sunset Speedway. Even though he spent a year away racing super stocks, don’t dare to try and count him out of the equation right from the first race of 2022.
12. Matt Pritiko
2022 Plans: APC Series full season and special events at Delaware Speedway.
2022 Goals: Two-time APC Champion
Drivers to Watch: Brandon Watson, Treyten Lapcevich, and Kyle Steckly.
Most Memorable Moment: 2019 APC Championship.
A past series champion, Matt Pritiko picked up five top-10’s last season on the tour, including a pair of top-five’s after fighting for the victory in the late stages at Sauble Speedway.
11. Andrew Gresel
Another past series champion, Andrew Gresel was able to show the way at Sauble Speedway last season with a couple trips to victory lane in fashion. He also ran the APC Series Tour with three top-five’s and five top-10’s, en route to placing fourth in the standings. While the series goes through change with some top faces stepping away from full-time competition, a veteran may shine through to steal the glory.
10. Rick Spencer-Walt
2022 Plans: A full run at APC joining with McColl Racing and battling for that championship. In addition to that, we are looking at a full Pro Late schedule at Sunset Speedway.
2022 Goals: I think our goals are going to be high this year; we want to go after both championships! In order to do that, I think we need to be solid top-five’s all season long and dig deep for those wins.
Drivers to Watch: J.R Fitzpatrick, Shae Gemmell, Andrew Gresel, Connor James, Dale Shaw
Most Memorable Moment: Winning the AP Exhaust 100 at Sunset Speedway. That night we had sponsors, family, and a ton of fans there and pulled it off! The APC series is 100% the best competition by far in Canada. When you can stand there in victory lane ahead of all them amazing drivers, you have done something. If you haven’t won an APC race yet, you wouldn’t understand! It’s our Daytona 500 winning any of them races.
A regular competitor in the late model ranks over the past several years, Rick Spencer-Walt has proven to himself to be one of, if not, the top-ranked Limited Late Model competitor in the province with championships at Sunset Speedway, Sauble Speedway, and Peterborough Speedway. Now going up a division to the APC Series, he has proven himself with a small resume, as evident by the victory spoken above. With a focus on the program completely, the team has proven they can be tough to beat – and should be this season.
Stay tuned to the next part to see who the top-nine are.