Andrew Gresel didn't waste any time making his presence felt in his return to OSCAAR Super Late Model racing as the Sauble Beach, Ont. native won in his first start of the season on Friday night at Delaware Speedway.
Gresel took the lead from Shane Maginnis on lap 26 of the 50-lap race and led the final 24 circuits to claim the victory. The car was good all night long for Gresel in his 2016 Super Late Model debut.
"It was pretty good right off the trailer. We just had old tires on it (in practice) and it was holding on, which is pretty awesome for those cars because they slip with all the power. The car was phenomenal," Gresel explained excitedly.
Gresel won his first heat of the night and used the second heat to scuff in a new set of tires for the main event. The initial green flag produced the only yellow of the night with some confusion as caution lights remained illuminated while the green flag waved. After that point, the race went green to checkered without incident.
"A couple of guys pushed up the track right off the bat and we drove underneath them. That put us to third right off the bat," said Gresel, who had started seventh.
On lap 19, Gresel maintained the third spot as Shane Maginnis made a move to take the lead from Rob Clarke. Gresel capitalized on the opportunity to take the second spot and followed Maginnis around the bottom of the racetrack to the runner-up position.
From there, Gresel set out to track down a very fast Maginnis in an aggressive battle at the front of the field.
"A couple of times I had a good run off the corner and I'd just get the nose inside him, but mid straightaway, he would pull away by a car-length in to the corner. I couldn't believe it," Gresel said of Maginnis' speed.
The two drivers made contact at one point during the battle and Gresel barely averted disaster.
"It put me sideways and I almost looped it down the backstretch, which would have been really bad, but I just held on to it," Gresel said. "We managed to catch him again and then we finally got around him."
Gresel's ability to get around the tight ends of the big egg-shaped half-mile propelled him to the victory, his third this season in as many starts at the London-area track.
The opportunity to race the Super Late Model, which Gresel piloted to an OSCAAR championship in 2014, was a breath of fresh air for the 31-year old driver who competes on a more regular basis with the APC United Late Model Series.
"From a driver's point of view, it's tons of fun. It's like nothing else really. There's lots of power and it handled. When they're handling it's awesome," Gresel explained. "You drive them so much differently. You can really power it around the corner if you need to get it to turn."
The 50-lap distance was just half the usual 100 laps for an APC Series event and reminded Gresel of the different approach required.
"You're in that much more of a rush. It's basically go, go, go, right from lap one with the Supers. Once you get in to the top-three, you start having a little bit more patience, but you have to hurry to get there first," Gresel said.
Gresel is unsure of his next start in Super Late Model action, but at minimum he does plan to test the car at Flamboro Speedway prior to the $10,000 Gold Rush 100 at that track on August 22. Stay tuned to www.saublefallsracing.com and Andrew Gresel's social media for up to date team schedule information.
Pro Late Model – 7 Starts: 3 Wins, 6 Top-5s, 7 Top-10s
Super Late Model – 1 Start: 1 Win, 1 Top-5, 1 Top-10