Grand Prix of Edmonton brings Lapcevich to CASCAR victory lane

EDMONTON – The wait is over for Jeff Lapcevich. After an almost two-year run of chasing the Super Series checkered flag, the Caistor Centre driver was finally handed the prize Saturday at CASCAR’s Griddly Headz 100 at the Grand Prix of Edmonton. With his sixth career Super Series win, Lapcevich maintained his 11th place position in CASCAR’s points parade. The Tim Hortons / EMCEA Transport Chevy last visited victory lane at the Vancouver Indy, on July 24, 2004.

Jeff Lapcevich won the Griddly Headz 100 CASCAR Super Series race at the Grand Prix of Edmonton on Saturday. (Photo: Pierre Clemente)

Starting fourth in the 38-car field, Lapcevich ran a consistent race and led the field for 21 of the 32 lap feature, battling polesitter and points leader J. R. Fitzpatrick for the first 10 laps.

Kerry Micks, who won the Father’s Day CASCAR race at Mosport Raceway, finished second in his Canadian Detailing Services Ford Taurus, ahead of CASCAR newcomer Kenny Habul (Hot Wheels Chevy), who recorded his first-ever Super Series podium finish.

Smithville’s Ron VanEs and his Star Van Systems Chevrolet Monte Carlo ran into problems and finished 35 after starting in the 18th pole position. He completed only 13 laps.

Fitzpatrick of Ayr, Ont., earned the No. 1 starting position after dominating practice and qualifying sessions in his Milwaukee Tools Chevy. His Fitzpatrick Motorsports teammate Don Thomson Jr. of Hamilton, who is fourth in the points standings, started alongside of him, in the Home Hardware Chevy, but had a tire go down early in the race, forcing him to the pits for new rubber. The five-time and defending Super Series champion recovered to finish fifth.

The early action featured back-and-forth racing between Fitzpatrick and Lapcevich. After swapping the lead a few times following the race’s lone full-course caution, Fitzpatrick experienced electrical problems and fell off the pace, to 14th at the finish. At the checkered flag, Lapcevich cruised home almost 15 seconds ahead of Micks, despite never having raced on the Edmonton circuit before.

“After we got past J.R. [Fitzpatrick] that second time, it was pretty uneventful,” said Lapcevich. “My biggest concern was making sure that we had a few cars between us and Kerry [Micks] in case there were any late restarts. I was behind him for that restart at Mosport when he got by [Peter] Gibbons and I didn’t want to take any chance of that happening to me today.”

Lapcevich credited his A.P Engine for putting him into contention in Edmonton. “We had trouble at Mosport and we found out later that we had an ignition problem that we weren’t aware of for a while. We fixed that and we were more than competitive in Edmonton.” Lapcevich continued, “I don’t know what the crowd was today, but I spoke with people who said it was the biggest we’ve ever raced in front of. I did several ‘donuts’ during my victory lap and there were a lot of people who hung around to enjoy them.”

Fourth-place went to CASCAR’s ‘Ironman’ DJ Kennington in the Castrol Dodge Charger. Dodge Charger racers Ron Beauchamp (MOPAR), Mark Dilley (Dodge) and Dave Whitlock (NTN Bower / Headz Gamez) came home sixth through eighth, respectively, while Peter Gibbons (Cdn. Tire Chevy) and Hamilton’s Jim Lapcevich (EMCEA / Tim Hortons Chevy) rounded out the top 10.

After a pair of events in western Canada, the CASCAR Super Series returns to the east and will make its next appearance on the streets of Trois-Rivieres, Quebec on Aug. 4-6 for the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres.

POINT STANDINGS: CASCAR SUPER SERIES: Unofficial After 5 Events (Top 15): 1. J.R. Fitzpatrick (907 pts.); 2. Kerry Micks (902); 3. Scott Steckly (889); 4. Don Thomson Jr. (877); 5. DJ Kennington (860); 6. Dave Whitlock (852); 7. Brad Graham (849); 8. Doug Brown (837); 9. Mark Dilley (819); 10. Peter Gibbons (816); 11. Jim Lapcevich (809); 12. Ron Beauchamp Jr. (801); 13. Jason Hathaway (772); 14. John Fitzpatrick (752); 15. Ron VanEs (702)