CAMBRIDGE, ON – Fan favourite JR Fitzpatrick worked to put his nightmare 2017 season in his rear view mirror for good on Saturday night, utilizing a late-race of perennial contender Brandon Watson to fashion his first career APC United Late Model Series victory.
“This makes all the hard work and hours and disappointment worth it,” said Fitzpatrick in the pit-area post-race. “We came into the off-season feeling like we had to reinvent ourselves after everything that happened in 2017.”
“We tore this car down to nothing and rebuilt it and racked our brains for days at a time to find a setup that was going to help us come out and contend every single night. This right here is the product of all that work.”
And, much like he has for the last year, Fitzpatrick wasted little time in handing credit to his Meineke Car Care-supported team and their indefatigable will to win.
“Pound-for-pound my team of guys are just as good as any other group on this roster,” noted the APC Series point-leader with pride. “This is the tour that is always going to separate the teams that have their programs together from the teams that don’t.”
“If you work hard out here – eventually you’re going to get rewarded. We’ve been knocked down a whole lot in the last year, but tonight we picked ourselves up in the biggest way possible.”
After a 2017 campaign marred with DNFs and mechanical issues that reduced Fitzpatrick to ‘also ran’ status, there’s no overestimating just what it means to the young veteran to be back in victory lane with a program he can call his own.
“No matter what kind‘ve bad hand you’ve been dealt – you can always come back from it,” smiled Fitzpatrick. “This was our year to start at the bottom of the roster and work our way up to the top. I’m more motivated now than I’ve ever been. Hopefully this is the first win of many. We’ll be back in the shop this week to see what we can do to make sure this car stays out in front of the rest of these guys.”