Photos by Thompson Photography
SAUBLE BEACH, Ont. – May 28, 2017 – Andrew Gresel began his APC United Late Model Series title defense with a fourth-place finish in the season-opening Gumout 100 at Sunset Speedway in Innisfil, Ont. on Saturday night. The Sauble Beach, Ont. native ran as high as second and never worse than fifth on his way to a top-five finish behind the wheel of the McRobert Fuels No.81 Ford Fusion.
Gresel, the APC Series’ all-time wins leader, qualified second quickest in time trials with a lap faster than the previous track record, but rival Jamie Cox edged ahead for the quick time award. Gresel pulled the third starting position for the 100-lap main event in the top-five redraw.
The inside lane starting position proved difficult for several drivers, including Gresel. The extra momentum in the outside groove of the high-banked 1/3-mile oval proved beneficial on many occasions, but Gresel often found himself pinned to the bottom lane throughout the race’s five restarts.
“We got stuck on the inside for most of the race and that will eat up all your rubber,” Gresel said. “The inside lane is really tough here. There’s no grip there. I got outside pretty early in the race and it was going, but that only lasted about three laps. Then we got down low again – that was a mistake – and got stuck down there for the rest of the race.”
Gresel persevered, but the tire wear from early in the race hindered his efforts later on, including during a side-by-side battle for fourth with London Recreational Racing teammate Shawn Chenoweth with 30 laps to go.
“It was a good battle we had going there,” Gresel said of Chenoweth. “He definitely had a better car at the end. He got underneath us and it was nice to be able to put the car up high. I think we cleared him twice, but for me to come down and take that spot wasn’t going to happen.”
Gresel outpaced Shawn McGlynn in the closing laps of the race to maintain the fourth spot at the checked flag. All five caution flags waved in the first 52 laps of the race, leaving a 46-lap green flag run to conclude the event. A late-race restart could have helped Gresel regain a few positions, he said.
“It would have helped us, for sure,” Gresel said. “We’re pretty good at restarting here and I think we would have made up at least one spot. That just didn’t work out our way. Today we just didn’t get it and unfortunately just didn’t have the car to win at the end.”
Nonetheless, Gresel and his Sauble Falls Racing team are happy with their season opening performance. The top-five result is especially impressive considering the car had not hit the track for any test sessions prior to Saturday’s practice. The clean run established a strong baseline which will allow Gresel and his crew to fine tune the car before the series’ second race.
“We spent the last month just putting body panels on, braces everywhere and you don’t really get a lot of time with your setup,” Gresel said, outlining his final month of preparation. “Now we’ll be able to work on that stuff and get the car better so we can get a win for all our sponsors.”
Gresel will return to action with the APC Series at Flamboro Speedway near Hamilton, Ont. on June 10. Andrew Gresel 2016 championship t-shirts will be available for sale again at the APC Series souvenir tent on June 10.
81 Andrew Gresel – 1 Starts: 0 Wins, 1 Top-5, 1 Top-10
SAUBLE FALLS RACING MEDIA