The afternoon started with Gresel qualifying second-fastest in time trials and under the previous track record for the series.
“We started pretty well with a second in time trial, so that was pretty good,” said Gresel. “In practice we were good and we had really old tires on the car still. It was fast. We were third on the speed chart. I knew the car was good. We made a few adjustments and the car was good, but Brandon Watson was a little bit quicker.”
Following the post-qualifying redraw for the top-five drivers, Gresel pulled the third starting spot for the Meineke 100 main event.
“At Flamboro, that was a good starting spot for us; it was exactly where we wanted to be,” Gresel said. “It was a pretty good start. (Josh) Stade was on the outside pole and he fell back, so we took over second spot just a few laps in. We just kind of paced out the whole race from there.”
Gresel ran second behind polesitter Matt Lockwood until he pounced at an opportunity to take the lead on the outside off a lap 27 restart. Brandon Watson quickly followed Gresel and the two cars broke away from the rest of the field.
“Once we got the lead, I thought maybe Watson’s stuff was going to fall off,” Gresel said. “He was a couple of car lengths behind me. Then, he closed the gap and was basically riding around on our bumper for about 25 laps. I wasn’t pushing the car at all. I wasn’t slipping a tire or anything.”
Watson, however, equaled Gresel’s every move and on lap 71 was able to wrestle the lead away.
“He got underneath me and made the pass, but once he got out front he started to pull away a bit,” Gresel explained. “He really wasn’t using up the car. I guess his car was pretty good and ours just fell off that little bit more.”
Gresel stayed within five car lengths of Watson over the final 29 laps, but couldn’t get close enough to retake the lead. Gresel’s second-place finish continues a strong start following a top-five to start the season at Sunset two weeks ago. After two races, he is just six points behind Watson at the top of the series standings.
“We had a fourth-place finish in the first race and a second at Flamboro, so we’re staying in the hunt,” Gresel said. “You see a lot of other teams having some bad luck. We were able to have some decent finishes to start off the year, so that’s been good. If we keep finishing the way we do, then we’ll be in the championship hunt at the end. We still have a long season here. We’re still in the game, so we’ll keep doing what we’re doing.”
Gresel and his Sauble Fall Racing team have a short turnaround to prepare for the series’ next race, the Hy-Grade Roofing 100 at Peterborough Speedway on Saturday, June 17.
“Hopefully we qualify well, start up front and maintain it. I think that will be our toughest challenge this year – Peterborough Speedway,” Gresel stated. “Last year, we struggled a bit there. We had decent finishes, but weren’t where we should be. We’re going to try and change that around. Peterborough can be a very dangerous, one groove track.”
Race time for the Hy-Grade Roofing 100 is 6:00pm. A full event itinerary will be available at www.apcracingseries.com.
81 Andrew Gresel – 2 Starts: 0 Wins, 2 Top-5s, 2 Top-10s
SAUBLE FALLS RACING MEDIA
Andrew Gresel and the Sauble Falls Racing team are proud to partner with several dedicated marketing partners for the 2017 race season, including McRobert Fuels, Sauble Falls Tent & Trailer Park, CUSW - Canadian Union of Skilled Workers, Hy-Grade Roofing, London Recreational, Gallinger Ford Lincoln, F1 Freight Systems, Ron O’Brien Remax, Barry’s Construction and Raden Givari at Ehomes.