Jo Lawrence opened the pandemic delayed APC United Pro Late Model Series with a victory on Saturday afternoon in the Dayco 75 at Jukasa Motor Speedway in Hagersville, Ontario.
Due to the pandemic, Ontario’s premier Pro Late Model division will contest just five races across six weeks and now Lawrence has a leg up on the season-long championship, earning both the pole and victory at the Canadian Crown Jewel of Short Track Racing.
“Yeah, it was a great race,” Lawrence said. “We talked about what we wanted to do at the beginning. We didn’t really feel these tires were going to last at the pace we were doing in qualifying so we opted as a team to hit our marks and wait until the end to see if it was there.
“It was there, and it was awesome.”
Lawrence claimed the pole by 0.011 second over former champion Brandon Watson and just ahead of defending champion Matt Pritiko.
Watson took the lead early and Lawrence stuck to his tire conservation plan, riding behind the 2018 champion at a comfortable pace while still pulling away from Treyton Lapcevich, Pete Shepherd III and Pritiko.
“American Racer gave us good information and we made the decisions we could with what they gave us, so we can’t thank them enough,” Lawrence said. “This was a rocket ship.”
The decisive moment of the race might have occurred with 29 laps to go when Watson was forced to slam on brakes from the lead directly behind a spinning Piper Adams. Watson had built up a 15 car length lead over Lawrence, and that was erased by the spin.
There was also the risk of Watson having flat spotted the tires, something the former champion admits to have felt during the caution immediately afterwards.
Overall, Watson just believes they got beat, getting passed by Lawrence with 19 to go.
“Unfortunately, I think we missed the set-up a little bit,” Watson said. “This car is amazing. I don’t want to be disappointed with a top-three here, but I do think we missed the set-up a little bit. We were loose off the start and I just tried to keep the tires under the car.
“I knew Jo would be good at the end. I figured he was saving a little bit. I tried to hold on as long as we could, and we almost got in trouble there in 2, and might have flat spotted them a little bit. Overall, we had a good car.”
Lawrence began to drive away from Watson and wouldn’t look back en route to his first career touring victory.
Pritiko, DJ Kennington and Shepherd completed the top-five.
“I’m very proud with a third-place finish,” Pritiko said. “Qualified third, drew a fifth for the redraw, battled hard with some other drivers. There wasn’t a lot of tire left at the end and drove a hard race.”
The APC Series will take the next week off before heading to Sauble Speedway in Hepworth, Ontario for the Stewart’s 100 presented by Pennzoil on August 22. Fans will not be in attendance for that race but it will be broadcast live for free by GForceTV.
The race replay can be found here:
The complete results from Jukasa can be found below.
- Jo Lawrence
- Brandon Watson
- Matt Pritiko
- DJ Kennington
- Pete Shepherd
- Shae Gammell
- Treyton Lapcevich
- Blair Wickett
- Mat Box
- Travs Hallyburton
- Ryan Kimball
- Shane Maginnnis
- JR Fitzpatrick
- Rat Morneaus Jr.
- Lane Zardo
- Darrell Lake
- Dale Shaw
- Josh Stade
- Patrick Freel
- Gary Adriaensen
- Shawn McGlynn
- Jason Lidster
- Tim Norris
- Andrew Gresel
- Tom Gibbons
- Bryan Mercer
- Tyler Di Venanzo
- Piper Adams
- Jake Sheridan
- Shawn Chenoweth
- Carson Nagy
- Danny Benedict