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.
11. Erik Dalla Riva
2022 Ranking: 19th
2023 Thoughts: We struggled for the majority of last year but we hit on some good setup stuff towards the end, that I think should really help us start off strong in 2023! Being better behind the wheel and continuing to learn every time I am at the shop and at the track will be a main focus for myself. I am really looking forward to some of the longer races that are on the schedule!
2023 Plans: I am super fortunate to be back full time in the APC Series with Shaw Motorsports. Depending on how the year goes we will try to hit some of the year end specials as well.
2023 Goals: Be better than last year and continue to improve every time we hit the track. It would be very rewarding to run inside the top 10 consistently with how competitive the APC field is. I need to be better in qualifying and managing the race over the long runs.
Drivers to Watch: Cole Quinton, Samantha Shaw, Junior Farrelly, J.R. Fitzpatrick, Kyle Steckly
The first full season for any driver can be nerve-racking – now try doing that on the ever-talented APC Series tour. The final rundown has Erik Dalla Riva placed 17th in the standings – and that’s because none of the performances led to the top-10 he would’ve hoped for. He showed moments of brilliance including some great qualifying runs, and was inside the top-10 at times. However, some bad luck mechanical wise and some wrecks ultimately wrote the course for his season. So why are we still telling you to look at the No. 74? He did visit victory lane this year, scoring his first career Pro Late Model win in regular night competition at Sunset Speedway. That’s enough to warrant a second glance.
10. Dale Shaw
2022 Ranking: 8th
It was consistency that helped drive his success in 2022, with Dale Shaw placing ninth in the APC Series points with a top-five and six top-10 finishes. However, he got to have a moment to shine in capturing a checkered flag in dominating style at Sunset Speedway.
9. Jake Sheridan
2022 Ranking: 2nd
2023 Thoughts: We’re working closely with mccolls racing again this year, we hope to have the year that this 52 team deserves and run upfront wherever we go, and try to have more fun than we ever have.
2023 Plans: Full time APC and most likely a limited schedule at Delaware Speedway.
2023 Goals: Just to take the whole year one race at a time and develop and get better every time we race and obviously go for as many wins as possible
Drivers to Watch: there’s obviously a lot of talented and experienced race car drivers in every field/division here in Ontario and a lot of new and fast cars to race against. But we just want to focus on our own program and better ourselves constantly and hopefully the results and fun just comes with that. Our eyes are out the windshield for 2023.
There were a lot of expectations entering the 2022 campaign for Jake Sheridan, and the brightness was still there as evident by a victory at Delaware Speedway and a top-five in his NASCAR Pinty’s Series debut at Ohsweken Speedway. But placing eighth in the APC Series points with a pair of top-five’s and three top-10’s had a lot of people asking questions.
8. Shawn Chenoweth
2022 Ranking: 7th
2023 Thoughts: Prove I belong
2023 Plans: Qwick Wick Series, APC Series and pro late/super stock home track racing across all speedways
2023 Goals: Get one last big win before I call it quits
Drivers to Watch: J.R. Fitzpatrick, Kyle Steckly, Ray Morneau, Andy Kamrath, Rick Spencer-Walt
Although a lot of people have questioned on occasion where the speed in the No. 89 may be, the results have still been there. After all, he scored a pair of top-10’s on the APC Series tour in 2022 alongside four wins, five top-five’s, and an average finish of third at Flamboro Speedway.
7. Rick Spencer-Walt
2022 Ranking: 10th
Becoming a full-time competitor on the APC Series tour allowed everyone to see what Rick Spencer-Walt is capable of, as he placed third in the standings with two wins, five top-five’s, and seven top-10’s. Combined with championships across the province the past five years, you can never count the No. 31 out of your list of contenders.
6. Josh Stade
2022 Ranking: 14th
When he was asked in December about his plans for 2023, Stade said, “We will be back competing in APC full time still trying to firm up the rest of our schedule we ultimately as a team like the bigger races so any specials we will likely be at. We would like to get some marketing partners and go south possibly next winter for speed weeks but that’s over a year away so we have to work towards that.”
With improvement each year, Stade has become a driver that is challenging for victories, no matter which track it is around the province. Throughout 2022 on the APC tour, Stade scored six top-five’s and seven top-10’s en route to placing fourth in the standings. He then backed it up with five top-five’s at Sunset Speedway. Of course, the highlight of the year was his victory at Sauble Speedway following a battle with Kyle Steckly and Rick Spencer-Walt.
5. Mark Burbridge
2022 Ranking: N/A
2022 Flamboro Speedway Champion. That’s all that needs to be said when you question his placing on the list. He accomplished the feat with five wins, 19 top-five’s, 21 top-10’s, and an average finish of 3.24.
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