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 some 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.
25. Kevin Gallant
2022 Ranking: N/A
2023 Thoughts: So my biggest thought entering this race season as the last few years – will this be my last? I’ve given so much energy to the sport. I question how long can I go lol. Between my late model my son Chad in a super stock, my wife in a pure stock and now daughter in a micro sprint – and crew chief role with my brother-in-law’s NASCAR Pinty’s car. It wears ya down. But damn, what a great sport!
2023 Plans: To run Flamboro as a home track for the points battle, the Gold Rush and Grisdale Triple Crown.
2023 Goals: An honest goal for this year is too have as much fun as we did last year, and see where we land. We do everything in house or should say “on the farm”. So we are certainly proud of what we do.
Drivers to Watch: Kevin Albers would be 1. After that guys to watch Chris Howse, Blair Wickett, and any APC regular that shows up. I do like when they come out to our regular shows to set the bar a little higher!!
After seeing success in super stocks and the Ontario Sportsman Series, it caught fans off-guard to see Kevin Gallant behind the wheel of a late model in 2022. That said, he put together a solid season with 21 top-10 finishes, including a pair of top-five’s.
24. Matt Robblee
2022 Ranking: N/A
A regular at Delaware Speedway, Matt Robblee placed fourth in the standings last season with five top-five’s and 10 top-10’s in 11 races.
23. Samantha Shaw
2022 Ranking: 20th
2023 Thoughts: I was so happy with the pace I had at the end of the 2022 season at sunset, becoming the first female driver to qualify pole in the pro late division is a heck of an accomplishment. Hopefully I can continue that momentum into 2023.
2023 Plans: Run the full season at Sunset with Shaw Motorsports and NTN Bearings.
2023 Goals: To keep improving each and every week; hopefully get NTN and Shaw Motorsports back to victory lane.
Drivers to Watch: Blair Wickett will be a huge threat for the championship at Flamboro this season. Rick Spencer-Walt managed an amazing APC season in 2022 with a major injury – will be cool to see how he does this year! Dale Shaw is beyond overdue for a victory, just needs the luck to turn his direction.
The sophomore campaign for Samantha Shaw in Late Model competition saw improvement behind the wheel, including the aforementioned pole at Sunset Speedway. She also picked three top-five’s and five top-10’s, including a season-best fourth to cap off the season on September 10.
22. Dwayne Baker
2022 Ranking: 13th
Although a lot of people have been focused on Dwayne Baker’s Super Stock effort the past couple seasons, a return to Pro Late Model competition should not cause him to fall off your radar. After all, the veteran has won previously in a late model at both Sunset Speedway and Peterborough Speedway in crown jewel events.
21. Chase Pinsonneault
2022 Ranking: N/A
Chase Pinsonneault will have his hands full in 2023, telling Short Track Musings that the team plans compete full-time in the Qwick Wick Super Stock Series, as well as full-time at Delaware Speedway in both a Pro Late Model and Super Stock. Although this will be his rookie PLM season, there was speed shown last year in the Super Stock with victories at Flamboro Speedway, and three top-five’s & nine top-10’s at Delaware Speedway in nine races.
20. Cole Quinton
2022 Ranking: N/A
2023 Thoughts: I’m super excited entering 2023. In the jump to pro late model racing there’s so much to learn and I’m ready for the challenge. I’m really looking forward to racing against some of the best in the province and seeing what my team along with myself can do.
2023 Plans: Gain as much experience and seat time possible in the late model. This will consist of the team travelling around and trying our hand at tracks across the province, while even making our debut in the APC series.
2023 Goals: There’s many small goals for 2023 for myself and the team. However, the main goal is to consistently be learning and improving every week. The pro late model division is extremely competitive and will be a tough learning curve. But as long as we constantly are bettering ourselves as a team, and myself as a driver, that’s all we can ask for during this challenge.
Drivers to Watch: JR Fitzpatrick – it would be ridiculous for me not to mention the guy at the top in 2022. Obviously JR is a great competitor that I’ll be watching weekly. Kyle Steckley – Kyle still is considered inexperienced while being compared to most of the division. But has already proven he’s one of the top in the province. Connor Pritiko – Connor always shows impressive speed whenever he is running APC or even weekly at Delaware. I always make sure to keep an eye on Connor as we used to be former competitors. Ray Morneau – Ray showed great speed every week at Delaware on his run to the championship. I definitely will be watching Ray to see what he does through 2023. Erik Dalla Riva – As Erik acted like a former crew chief for myself, and I a spotter for him, I’ll always watch for Erik and his progress. Erik showed good speed at frostoberfest and I’m looking forward to seeing if he improves on that.
After a successful Mini Stock campaign across the province with victories at both Sunset Speedway and Flamboro Speedway, the decision has been made for Cole Quinton to make the jump up to the Pro Late Model division in 2023. He made a couple starts late in the season to get his feet wet, including a solid qualifying effort at Frotoberfest.
19. Andrew Gresel
2022 Ranking: 11th
Placing inside the top-five in the APC Auto Parts United Late Model Series of Ontario standings is no easy task – but that’s what Andrew Gresel was able to do in 2022. The past Sauble Speedway Champion scored four top-five’s and six top-10’s in nine races.
Leave a Reply