By: Ashley McCubbin
At the age of 11, Treyten Lapcevich jumped behind the wheel of a stock car for the first time. Success immediately followed as he became Sunset Speedway’s youngest track champion with the Mighty Mini division title.
Flash forward six years later, and he is ready to take on the biggest opportunity of his career, set to run the full NASCAR Pinty’s Series schedule with 22 Racing.
“It is pretty crazy. It doesn’t seem that long ago now,” he told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “You know, it’s been a lot of fun and I’ve gained a lot of experience. It honestly feels like I’ve been racing for years at this point, but no, I’m just so thankful for all the people that have helped me to get to the point that I am at now. I have been given a real good opportunity this year and hope to make the most of it.”
For Lapcevich, the opportunity comes forth thanks to support from Qwick Wick, RGC Group, Leland Industries and SharkBite.
“I’m truly excited,” he commented. “I’m really excited for all the support from the QuickWick, RGC, and all the other sponsors that we have on the car there. I know I’m in a good piece of equipment with 22 Racing. We had a couple top-five’s with my first two starts with them so hope to back those up and hopefully a little bit more this season and be in contention for some wins on the ovals that I am familiar with.”
Lapcevich got his first chance in the series last season, subbing for Alex Tagliani at Sunset Speedway during the shortened schedule. He made the most of those two races, placing second and fourth in the events.
Looking back, the level of aggressiveness at the front of the field surprised him the most, noting he may need to adjust his driving style from Late Models to put himself in contention and be in a good place for the end of a race.
The pair of results, as well as strength of the equipment underneath him, have resulted in confidence entering the season. Lapcevich has set his early goals on being consistent and running inside the top-five regularly.
“I want to pick up some wins as well,” he added. “I generally don’t think that’s setting the bar too high because there’s a lot of tracks that I am really familiar with and I hope the proper experience I have on them will be enough to get me any sort of advantage. Other than that, the other tracks I am new too – like the road courses and the dirt race. I just hope we can contend and get some top-five’s.”
His experience on the ovals, combined with the raving reviews from his brother Cayden Lapcevich, have him circling Autodrome Chaudiere despite having no laps there, yet.
While several tracks on the schedule will be new for him, he has fortunately spent a lot of time around them. His father Jeff Lapcevich competed in the series for several years, followed by older brother Cayden winning a championship in 2016. Being able to lean on them both for advice means a lot as Treyten embarks on this new chapter himself.
“My dad will actually be there in the pits with me, and Cayden really just wants me to do the best that I can possibly do,” he commented. “So it’s great to have them to help and as much as Cayden was really good on ovals, he’ll definitely have some feedback on how I can be there at the end of the races – and my dad was obviously pretty good on the road courses. It’s nice to have him to lean on too because I have no prior road course experience. So I’ll definitely need some help getting into it.”
He will also have his own experience to lean back on, with having competed in the APC Auto Parts United Late Model Series in Ontario over the past four seasons. Lapcevich feels the experience will be beneficial, especially when it comes to tire conservation.
“APC is kind of the same length at a smaller scale in regards to the amount of laps and cars are a little better handling than the Late Model, too,” he explained. “I think I need to take what I was doing in the Late Model and try to fine tune it in the Pinty’s Series and really learn the difference in the cars, and what I need to do to keep the tires underneath.”
Despite the new opportunity, he will also be back behind the wheel of Late Model once again in 2021.
“The competition in the APC Series – I’d say it’s greater than ever at this point,” he commented. “It’s kind of been escalating every year since we got into it in 2017 and now, it’s at the top point. I mean, everybody is building new cars – everybody is building fast cars actually with a lot of good drivers.
“So we finally figured it was in our best interest to build a brand new car for the season so it’ll be my first brand new car so we’ll see how that goes there. We’ll probably have some more information to come about that very soon, but I’m really excited to get going in the APC Series. I’ve come really close to that first win and I just hope that this year we can make that happen.”
While he has yet to reach victory lane, the statistics speak for themselves with multiple top-five’s and top-10’s, highlighted by placing third in the standings in 2019.
“I think about that Flamboro (Speedway) race a lot there where I led a lot of it and lost it at the end,” he said. “I think it’s going to be being consistent. There’s a very competitive group of guys that we’re going against so it’s making sure we can be right there with them.”