HAGERSVILLE, ON - A mid-week event at the track dubbed ‘Canada’s Crown Jewel’ saw one of the largest fields in series history on hand to race alongside racing icon Kenny Wallace, who made the trek north from St. Louis, Missouri. The short track racing industry as a whole has seen a push for more mid-week specials, something not completely new to the APC Series with a Canada Day event highlighting the 2015 schedule on a Wednesday night.
Group qualifying sessions would set the starting lineup for the 100 lap main event later in the evening, as groups of five were released to the track for five lap time trials. Getting the night off on the right foot is always important, but for the teams, a less than desirable effort would present a very steep uphill climb with a near record car count. Brandon Watson would set the fastest time bettering Jo Lawrence, Treyten Lapcevich, Jordan Howse, and Ryan Kimball.
100 laps of green flag racing began with Danny Benedict on the pole alongside Shaw Motorsports teammate, Dale Shaw. Dale Shaw would jump out to the early lead and immediately stretch his legs on the field, opening up a very sizeable gap. Nine laps into the race, Jo Lawrence made a move on Danny Benedict to take over the second position.
The first caution of the race came on lap 11 when several cars went around in turn three and four after slipping in fluid laid down by Jordan Sims after his motor let go. The restart saw Brandon Watson enter the top five while Dale Shaw continued to show the way up front. Billy Schwartzenburg’s night ended on lap 17 when he entered the pits and the team diagnosed the points leader with a blown motor.
The second caution of the race came on lap 24 when Shane Maginnis went around in turn four and backed into the outside wall with an apparent blown right rear tire. The restart was trouble for race leader Dale Shaw as he stumbled, slide up the track, and fell all the way to the rear of the field with a flat tire. Shaw would limp around and catch a break as the caution came out on lap 28 for Paighton Jacobs backing into the turn one wall.
Shaw would get the lucky dog as a result of the caution and immediately go to work passing cars high and low, and even three wide. Brandon Watson took the race lead for the restart and would keep that spot as those behind shuffled spots. Dale Shaw moved into the top 15 by lap 43 and continued to march his way forward with his newly gained dad super powers after his first child was born the night before.
The caution flag came out again on lap 43 when Branden Verhoeven went around in turn four. Just a few laps after the restart, Dale Shaw moved back into the top 10 as Brandon Watson continued to pace the field. Treyten Lapcevich began pressuring for the race lead in the last quarter of the race, looking low several times as himself and Brandon Watson separated themselves from the field, lapping drivers at an incredible pace.
As Lapcevich continued to get runs and get alongside Watson for the lead, lapped cars would cause him to have to tuck back into line and regroup. Dale Shaw made his way into the third spot on lap 85, moving Shae Gemmell to fourth. Lapcevich would have several more looks but would come up just short for the second race in a row with Watson scoring his 15th career series win. Shaw, Gemmell and JR Fitzpatrick rounded out the top five.
The 2019 season for the APC Series will continue at Sauble Speedway with a massive doubleheader weekend beginning with the Hy-Grade Shakin it Up 100 Presented by Shell Rotella on Friday, August 2nd and the Spira Beat the Heat 100 on Sunday, August 4th.
Ryan Dyson - APC Series PR
Photos by Dave Franks Photography