MILLGROVE, Ontario — J.R. Fitzpatrick’s strangle hold on Flamboro Speedway victory lane continues, as he made it three trips in a row, making the late-race move on Andrew Gresel to win the APC Auto Parts United Late Model Series London Recreational Racing 100 on Saturday evening.
J.R. Fitzpatrick was quickest in time trials with a lap of 15.032 seconds in front of Kyle Steckly (15.037), Matt Pritiko (15.054), Blair Wickett (15.109), and Dale Shaw (15.114).
Though following the invert, it’d be Wickett and Pritiko pacing the field to the green flag, with Pritiko grabbing the early advantage. Steckly used the early laps to slot into second in front of Wickett, Jake Sheridan, Shawn Chenoweth, Shaw, Fitzpatrick, Andrew Gresel, Rick Spencer-Walt, Erik Dalla Riva, Josh Stade, Connor James, Ryan Kimball, Danny Benedict, and Shae Gemmell.
The first caution then came out on Lap 13 for Chenoweth going around off of turn four, courtesy of contact from Shaw. The restart would see the pair get together once again, this time in turns one and two.
Kyle Steckly got a good restart to take over the top spot, with Sheridan following him through a lap later. Pritiko now ran third in front of Gresel, Benedict, Wickett, Spencer-Walt, Dalla Riva, Stade, James, and Benedict. Stade continued to move forward, getting by Dalla Riva eighth on Lap 18, as Kimball ran 12th in front of Gemmell, with Billy Schwartzenburg and Matt Box side-by-side. Box got the 14th spot on Lap 19 as Gibbons rounded out the top-16.
The shuffling continued, with James getting by Dalla Riva for ninth on Lap 31, and Spencer-Walt by Wickett for sixth about four laps later. Stade continued to run eighth in front of James, Benedict, Gemmell, Kimball, Dalla Riva, Box, Schwartzenburg, Tom Gibbons, Shaw, and Chenoweth.
Box would then get alongside Dalla Riva for 13th on Lap 38, completing the pass a lap later and bringing Schwartzenburg, Gibbons, Shaw, and Chenoweth through with him as Dalla Riva climbed the backstretch wall a little. Box would not hold the spot for long, though, getting passed by Schwartzenburg on Lap 48. Meanwhile, Dwayne Baker would head into the pits after fighting mechanical issues all day.
At the halfway mark of the 100 lap feature, Steckly held serve in front of Sheridan, Gresel, Fitzpatrick, Pritiko, Spencer-Walt, Wickett, Stade, James, and Gemmell. Benedict held down 11th, followed by Kimball, Schwartzenburg, Box, Shaw, Chenoweth, Dalla Riva, and Gibbons.
Gresel would use the lap car of Jade Franklin as a pick to get by Sheridan, moving him up into second. The shuffling continued throughout the field, with James making his way by Stade for eighth on Lap 54, as both Shaw and Chenoweth moved past Box for 14th. Wickett’s top-10 run would come to an end with 55 laps on the board, as he headed into the pits.
The battles ranged through the whole field, with Fitzpatrick getting by Sheridan for third on Lap 57, as Gemmell passed Stade for ninth on Lap 68. The battle for seventh got interesting at this same time, with contact occurring between the pair as Spencer-Walt would go around in turns one and two off of James’ front bumper.
Steckly got a good restart in front of Gresel and Fitzpatrick as Sheridan and Pritiko battled for fourth in front of Gemmell. Pritiko got the spot on Lap 73, bringing Gemmell, Stade, Benedict, Kimball, and Schwartzenburg through with him over the next three laps.
Sheridan now ran 10th, with James and Spencer-Walt both getting by Gibbons to move back up to 11th and 12th, respectively. Gemmell continued his climb forward, taking over fourth on Lap 78, bringing Stade with him to bump Pritiko back to sixth ahead of Benedict.
The battle for the lead got interesting at the same time, with Andrew Gresel taking over the top spot on Lap 80 in front of Steckly, Fitzpatrick, Gemmell, Stade, Pritiko, Benedict, Kimball, Schwartzenburg, James, Spencer-Walt, Gibbons, and Shaw. Sheridan’s strong run came unraveled on Lap 88 with him going around for a spin in turns one and two.
The restart saw Gresel hold serve, with Fitzpatrick moving into the runner-up spot and Gemmell taking over third in front of Steckly and Stade, before the caution came out for Schwartzenburg getting into the turn four wall. With 10 laps to go, Gresel led Fitzpatrick, Gemmell, Steckly, Stade, Benedict, Pritiko, Kimball, James, Shaw, Spencer-Walt, Gibbons, Sheridan, Box, and Chenoweth.
The restart would see an incident in turns three and four involving Kimball and Franklin. The second attempt went smoother, with a battle for the lead between Fitzpatrick and Gresel, as Steckly battled Gemmell for third. However, there would be another yellow flag on Lap 92 for Sheridan and James Horner going around in turns one and two. The restart saw chaos on the frontstretch as contact between Spencer-Walt and James would see both drivers go around.
J.R. Fitzpatrick was deemed the leader, and was able to utilize the bottom to his advantage in taking the top spot to lead the rest of the way for the victory. Kyle Steckly placed second, followed by Andrew Gresel, Shae Gemmell, and Josh Stade. Matt Pritiko fought back to sixth in front of Tom Gibbons, Danny Benedict, Billy Schwartzenburg, and Dale Shaw.
Despite being fast early, the pair of spins landed Jake Sheridan in 11th, followed by Rick Spencer-Walt, Connor James, Matt Box, Shawn Chenoweth, Erik Dalla Riva, Jade Franklin, James Horner, Ryan Kimball, Blair Wickett, and Dwayne Baker.