Race 6 of the 2016 APC Series season was at Sauble Speedway for the Spira Fire Protection 100. A field of 22 pro late models took to the track to do battle, in what turned out to be a wild evening of racing that saw Brandon Watson drive to victory.
In Bennett GM Pole Qualifying, four drivers dipped under the track record, which was set last time the series took to the track. Matt Pritiko set the fast time with a 14.307, bettering his old track record by over a tenth of a second. After the pill draw, Pritiko would start the feature race from the 3rd position. Jamie Cox qualified 2nd, Jason Parker 3rd, Brandon Watson 4th, and Andrew Gresel 5th. The pill draw would put Jason Parker’s #8 on the pole for the 100 lap main event. With the points battle so tight, qualifying points are proving to be a major factor, as Gresel’s points margin narrowed following this qualifying session.
The 100 lap main event saw Jason Parker lead the field to the green flag, however it was Andrew Gresel leading the opening lap on the high side. Gresel and Parker would race side by side for the opening 5 laps of the race, trading the lead at the line numerous times. On lap 5, Parker took sole possession of the race lead, advancing past Andrew Gresel. The races first caution came out on lap 18 as Dwayne Baker and Shawn McGlynn made contact, sending the #23 car of McGlynn around.
On lap 31, Shae Gemmell was spun on the back straightaway, resulting in the races 2nd caution flag. On the ensuing restart, Brandon Watson, who was filling in for Nick Goetz, took over the race lead. On lap 46, the races 3rd caution came out for Billy Schwartzenburg spinning in turn 3.
Lap 54 saw Shawn McGlynn go around off of turn 4, resulting in the races 4th caution flag. On the restart, Jaxson Jacobs was turned in turn 4, resulting in another caution flag. One lap after the restart, Willie Reyns came to a stop on the front straightaway with a mechanical issue, ending his day on the tow truck.
Shortly after the lap 55 restart, Jason Parker regained the race lead with an outside line pass on Brandon Watson. Lap 66 saw the races 7th caution come out as Dwayne Baker went around in the apex of turn 3 and 4. One lap after the restart, Watson would take over the top spot once again, with a move around Jason Parker’s #8.
On lap 91, Jaxson Jacobs came to a stop on the front straightaway, resulting in the races 8th caution flag.The restart saw Andrew Gresel take over the race lead, with a bold move around Brandon Watson. On lap 92, Brandon Watson got into the back of Gresel entering turn 3, resulting in a full field stackup. Jamie Cox, who was running in the top 5 at the time, made significant contact with the outside wall, ending his day and hurting his championship points battle. On lap 93, contact between Rick Burbridge and Shawn Chenoweth resulted in Billy Schwartzenburg and Dwayne Baker getting stuck together in the infield grass. While this happened entering turn 1, Josh Stade had an issue on the back straightaway.
The 11th caution of the race came out when Andrew Kamrath cut a tire and came to a stop on the front straightaway. On lap 94, Andrew Gresel was turned entering turn 3 by Shawn Chenoweth, resulting in the races 12th and final caution.
Brandon Watson would lead the field to green for the final restart, which was a mad scramble for positions as drivers went 3 wide off of the 2nd corner. Tom Gibbons threaded the needle up the middle to advance into the 2nd position, while Steve Laking battled hard with Mat Box for the 3rd position. Brandon Watson would go on to win the Spira Fire Protection 100 over Gibbons and Laking, making a statement in his return to the series for the first time in 2016, while substituting for Nick Goetz in the #24.
The next event for the APC Series is on August 13th as the tour returns to Flamboro Speedway for the London Recreational Racing 100. The event gets started at 6:00pm, more information including the event itinerary will become available in the coming days. The championship battle will tighten as the races wind down, with Flamboro Speedway being race 7 of 9 in 2016.
Photos by Thompson Photography