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Jo Lawrence and Brandon Watson Crash Across the Line in Sunset Thriller

Jo Lawrence and Brandon Watson crashed across the line underneath the checkered flag

Jo Lawrence took several shots from Brandon Watson nearing the end of London Recreational Racing 100 presented by Shell Rotella but got the last punch and the last laugh on Saturday night at Sunset Speedway in Innisfil, Ontario.

Watson had run Lawrence up the track during the final two restarts, his only shot given that he had completely used up his tires, but Lawrence would not let him win the third race of the 2020 APC United Pro Late Model Series season quite like this.

Lawrence waited until Turn3 of the final lap and applied the bumper, sending Watson up the track. Lawrence filled the gap and Watson again initiated contact but only wrecked himself in the process. Lawrence kept his car pointed straight and won for the second time in three starts this summer.

“I got ran up the track in Turn 2, and I just had to deal with it the way you have to deal with it,” Lawrence said. “I put my foot down.”

Lawrence won the season opener at Jukasa Motor Speedway on August 7.

“I just want to thank everyone who helped put this together for me,” Lawrence said. “They gave me a rocket ship. Fantastic car and I just wanted to get this one for them.”

For his part, Watson says it was just a byproduct of racing for the win on a short track.

“It’s definitely a tough one,” Watson said overlooking his damaged car. “We both made contact there. He was going for the win, just like I was. He made some moves I didn’t like and I made some moves he probably didn’t like. I just couldn’t hold on long enough. He got into me off of Turn 4. He tried to lift me up and I couldn’t hang on.”

Pete Shepherd III led laps early and ultimately finished third.

“All day, we just battled,” Shepherd said.

Shepherd just needed the two to screw up in front of him to give him the win.

“It was very distracting, but fun to watch as a race car driver,” Shepherd said. “I’m jealous of how much they could drive off. We couldn’t quite do that but we got it better throughout the day and we’ll be better for the next one.”

Lawrence first cleared Watson for the lead on Lap 67 but remained side-by-side for an extended battle — crossing each other over several times before a caution on Lap 71 for a crash involving Shae Gemmell. The battle for the lead would resume off the restart, but get halted again on Lap 72 after Tom Gibbons was spun and collected Gemmell.

Closer to the finish, Watson began to run Lawrence up the track from the bottom lane on the restarts.

Danny Benedict started on pole after an invert with Andrew Gresel alongside on the front row. Gresel would lead the opening laps of the race before the first caution for several cars spinning in Turn 2. Shepherd and Lawrence moved into second and third during the first lap and a half and the battle was on.

RESULTS

  1. Jo Lawrence
  2. Brandon Watson
  3. Pete Shepherd
  4. Ryan Kimball
  5. Treyten Lapcevich
  6. Shawn Chenoweth
  7. Erik Dalla Riva
  8. Mat Box
  9. Matt Pritiko
  10. Patrick Freel
  11. Gary Adriaensen
  12. Josh Stade
  13. Tyler Di Venanzo
  14. Blair Wickett
  15. Shawn McGlynn
  16. Jade Franklin
  17. Tom Gibbons
  18. Nick Goetz
  19. Andrew Gresel
  20. Shae Gemmell
  21. Jake Sheridan
  22. Danny Benedict
  23. Ray Morneau Jr.
  24. Dale Shaw
  25. Dwayne Baker

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Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

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