Delaware Speedway

2023 Late Model Drivers to Watch Part 4

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.

4. Ray Morneau
2022 Ranking: 6th

2023 Thoughts: I’m very excited for this year we built a new chassis and have worked hard to get it finished and we are looking forward to attempting to go back to back at Delaware!
2023 Plans: We are going to race at Delaware Speedway weekly and run the 2 APC races at Delaware
2023 Goals: Our goals are to defend our championship and win 1 race
Drivers to Watch: Connor Pritiko he showed great speed last year and it’s only a matter of time that he will get his first win and it’s coming soon —- Chase Pinsonneault Chase had a great rookie season in the super stocks last year and it will be great to see him in the late models! —- Jake Sheridan Jake is always fast and a tough competitor and I’m looking forward to racing with him again —- Gary Adriaensen it’s going to be great to see Gary back behind the wheel this year and run wheel to wheel with him —- JR Fitzpatrick it’ll be fun to watch JR defend his championship in the APC series and I wouldn’t be surprised if he does go back to back!

One of the most popular drivers in the province, Ray Morneau put together success in 2022 to garner a lot of cheers from his fan club, as he won the 2022 Delaware Speedway Championship. You cannot shake your head at the half-mile’s crown jewel, considering the caliber of talent that graces the asphalt each Friday night with a variety of experience, whether on the APC Series tour or the home track. However, he came out on top with four wins and 10 top-five’s in 11 races. Being able to see more success on the big stage – compared to the 10th he had this year – would certainly increase the attention.

3. Danny Benedict
2022 Ranking: N/A

When speaking to Short Track Musings about his 2022 championship, Danny Benedict said his goals are “pretty simple,” and that’s to win races. He went on to say, “We’ve been so close to winning an APC race a few times, and I really think 2023 is the year we can finally get it done. Other than that, we’ll be taking it one race at a time. There’s always more to learn with these types of cars so as long as we continue to learn and get better, I think we’ll have a strong season.”

As mentioned above, he secured a championship last season, winning the Sunset Speedway Pro Late Model Championship with two wins, five top-five’s, and an average finish of third. He carried the success over to the APC Series tour, placing seventh in points with four top-five’s. After watching him be bit by some misfortune in 2021, it was nice to see the No. 54 up front on a regular basis, including pacing the field at Sunset Speedway. With competitive speed underneath him, the bar is raised for 2023.

2. Kyle Steckly
2022 Ranking: 3rd

2023 Thoughts: I’m looking forward to the 2023 season, coming off a strong rookie campaign in the APC series I think last year was a huge building year and this year is going to be even better.
2023 Plans: My plans are to run full time APC series with some additional select events throughout the summer.
2023 Goals: Being my third year in a Late Model, I feel we have been growing so much as a team with the car, the crew and the sponsors, this year just feels more relaxed and comfortable. With that I think we can focus on what we do best and go out and win as many races as possible and hopefully that puts us at the top of the standings by the end of the year.
Five Drivers to Watch: Jr Fitzpatrick obviously he is the guy to beat in Ontario short track racing and I’m sure he will continue to be that guy in 2023. Rick Spencer-Walt always shows lots of speed and he is as good as anyone around sunset speedway. Ray Morneau is one of the best and most respectful drivers in Ontario I’ll be watching him and hopefully he can run the full APC series. Andrew Gresel is always fast and races you hard never gives an inch and it makes racing him a ton of fun. And Chase Pinsonneault moving up from super stocks running at Delaware I’m excited to see how he does!

Despite being a rookie on the APC Series tour, Kyle Steckly proved he has what it takes to run well against the best, placing second in points with a win and eight top-five’s, just 17 markers shy of beating J.R. Fitzpatrick for the championship. He complimented it with a runner-up in the Delaware Speedway standings by picking up four victories and nine top-five’s. It marks an incredible way to back-up the Flamboro Speedway title from the year before as he continues to progress as a driver.

1. J.R. Fitzpatrick
2022 Ranking: 4th

2022 APC Auto Parts United Late Model Series of Ontario Champion is all that needs to be said, as that right there alone proves you beat the best in the province on the biggest stage. J.R. Fitzpatrick did it in style, scoring four victories, seven top-five’s, and an average finish of 3.5556. It’s easy to see why the standard has been set here. In the same season, he added a Grisdale Triple Crown Championship to his resume, and won five features in 2022 at Flamboro Speedway.

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