Matt Pritiko Continues Podium Streak With Second-Place Finish At SunsetSunday - August - 2017
Matt Pritiko races into turn three as he laid down the second quickest lap in qualifying for the AP Exhaust 100 at Sunset Speedway on Saturday night. (Photo by Derek Smith).
LONDON, Ont. – August 20, 2017 – Matt Pritiko continued his string of podium finishes with a second-place finish in the AP Exhaust 100 for the APC United Late Model Series at Sunset Speedway on Saturday night. The London, Ont. driver led 31 laps before settling into the second spot in the latter half of the race for his third straight podium effort.
“It was really stout off the initial green,” Pritiko described happily. “I think we past two guys on one lap – one going into the corner, one coming out. Early on, it was a great handling car. I got up to about a seven car-length lead, but I think I just burnt those tires a little too soon.”
Pritiko was strong all day long. He and his team, which included multi-time Sunset champion Stompin’ Tom Walters, made several adjustments to the car throughout the afternoon practice sessions that were disrupted by intermittent rain showers. Nonetheless, Pritiko turned the second fastest lap in qualifying to earn valuable bonus points and qualify for the top-five redraw.
“We were kind of throwing a lot of stuff at it in practice,” Pritiko explained. “We were on some really old tires just trying to get a feel for what the car was going to be like near the end of the race. I think we were fifth or sixth in practice and we knew as soon as we put on some stickers we were going to be in the top-three. We did that and qualified second. The crew did a great job and they’ve done a great job all year.”
Pritiko pulled the third starting spot for the main event in the redraw for the top-five qualifiers. The inside lane position was to his benefit as he quickly raced under second-starting Andy Kamrath on lap three and then used the momentum to drive past polesitter Andrew Gresel for the lead on lap five.
By lap 15, Pritiko had paced the Global Warranty No.21 Toyota to a half straightaway lead over eventual winner Brandon Watson and was looking quite comfortable in front of the field. His lead was erased however in the laps leading up to lap 34 caution. On the ensuing restart, Watson and Pritiko raced side-by-side for the lead. Watson got the better jump up top and took the lead.
Pritiko had a chance to battle with Watson on a couple of restarts, including at lap 43 when the two drivers raced side-by-side for six laps, but Pritiko couldn’t get the same drive off the corners.
“He was getting some really nice jumps on the outside,” Pritiko said. “I could probably get on him a little bit coming out of turn two. Turns one and two were really good corners for us, but three and four he had us all day. I could have a pretty nice corner going in, but he’d have it going out.”
While Pritiko settled into second in the closing laps of the race, he got one final chance to retake the lead when a caution on lap 99 setup a green-white-checkered finish and put the two drivers side-by-side again. The Inside lane didn’t work well enough for Pritiko to take the lead, but he earned a strong second-place finish.
“I thought about dumping him going into turn three on the very last lap,” Pritiko joked. “That’s not how I like to do things. I’d rather come out second than last and have him destroy his car. Both cars are kept at the same shop and we pit beside each other all the time. He was working the outside lane really nicely and unfortunately got the better of us on the last lap. We’ll take a second-place finish.”
Pritiko’s focus now shifts to Monday night where he will strap into a Super Late Model for the first time in a year at Flamboro Speedway’s $5,000-to-win Gold Rush 100. Race time is 7:00pm. Additional event information is available at www.flamborospeedway.ca.
Then, he will head to the biggest event of the season at Jukasa Motor Speedway in Hagersville, Ont. for the Rankin Construction Late Model Summer Shootout. The former Cayuga Motor Speedway has undergone a massive renovation and is now set for its debut event.
“It’s going to be a bad fast race,” Pritiko said. “We were fast there and I know we can go faster than the times we posted there last weekend. I think the race is going to be kind of crazy.”
Qualifying will take place on Saturday, August 26 before a pair of APC United Late Model Series 75-lap Features on Sunday, August 27. For additional information, visit www.jukasamotorspeedway.com.
2017 SEASON STATS
Matt Pritiko – 7 Starts: 0 Wins, 4 Top-5, 6 Top-10s
Matt Pritiko is proud to partner with several dedicated marketing partners for the 2017 race season, including Global Warranty, NAPA Certfied Bodyshops, Burwell Autobody Ltd., Cadillac Industrial Cleaning, Glencoe Auto Recyclers, SellToWin.com, Aquahydrate and Palasad of London.
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