LONDON, Ontario — Consistently showing speed on a weekly basis paid off for Treyten Lapcevich, as he was able to complete the NASCAR Pinty’s Series season with the Rookie of the Year Award in hand.
“Really proud to get that as that’s what we set forth to do – get experience and get Rookie of the Year and that’s what we did,’ he told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “It was a pretty good year all in all, and I got a lot of good experience on road courses – I had two top-five’s on road courses, which is something that I wouldn’t expected coming into this season. We’re really happy with that and I think we’ve really set ourselves up well to progress forward and run well next year.”
The third-generation racer would have liked to close out the year with his first career victory, and certainly had enough speed to make it happen at Delaware Speedway. Unfortunately, he came up short on his bid for a different reason each event – a bump-and-run on Friday night, a flat tire in the Qwick Wick 125, and a wreck in the Pinty’s Fall Brawl.
“It was pretty disappointing,” he admitted. “We would’ve liked to grab that first win and I really wanted to get it for 22 Racing, Qwick Wick and RGC Sports. They’ve supported me so much this season and we’ve come so close so many times this year to getting the first win. Friday, it was a matter of a last lap, last corner move, and Sunday, it was just really everything backed up against with us with a ton of bad luck.
“I think we made a statement this weekend. I think everyone knew we had a fast car – three poles with a track record. I really wish we could’ve been there on the last lap when we needed it but overall, it just didn’t turn out well for us.”
Beyond the finale weekend, he was able to score five top-five’s and seven top-10’s to place fifth in the year-end standings. Admittedly, a pair of those good runs surprised him the most, given he had not road course raced prior to 2021.
“I didn’t think I’d be horrible at road courses, but I didn’t think I’d able to run upfront as quickly as I did with the group of strong road course racers in the Pinty’s Series,” he shared. “That’s something that I’m excited to build on next year because I think that’s something tat I have a lot of room for improvement in. Road course racing is definitely not easy, especially someone that hasn’t done any of it in my whole career. I’d be excited to improve upon on those skills and learn more.”
When looking at specific moments, the fourth-place finish at Circuit de Trois-Rivieres was a memorable moment for how the weekend played out. Lapcevich qualified the car ninth, only to fly from Quebec to Ontario that night to run the APC Auto Parts United Late Model Series event at Sunset Speedway. He scored a ninth after starting tail of the field, before driving back to Quebec on Sunday for a fourth in his first ever road course start.
“That was pretty memorable and probably something I won’t forget anytime soon,” he commented. “The third-place run at CTMP (Canadian Tire Motorsports Park) was pretty cool. That track has always been my dad’s favourite. He always constantly says to me, ‘if I was able to get in a car anywhere else ever again, it’d have to be CTMP.’ So it was pretty cool to grab my first podium on a road course at CTMP was pretty cool because I knew it meant a lot to my dad, as well.
“Then obviously two track records as well was pretty memorable and cool.”
Certainly going into the year, there were a lot of eyes on Lapcevich with everybody having seen the success of both his father Jeff Lapcevich and brother Cayden Lapcevich in the series. Though while handling the pressure with ease, the pair also became critical for him through the season.
“My dad and my brother were such a big help,” he said. “My dad, we’ve worked together. He’s been around me for so long and understands me as a driver to help give me the advice that I need and give me good pointers to move forward, as well as my brother. He ran in the Pinty’s Series for a couple years and was able to get a championship. I relied on him a ton, especially tracks that I’ve never been too – and my dad too for the road courses as he’s a pretty good road course racer.
“I relied on Cayden a lot for how to better drive the Pinty’s car and as for Cayden, he’s driven both the Pinty’s Series cars and the late models so it was nice to ask him what the main differences were and how he changes his driving style to adapt to both cars. I’ve mainly been just driving late models recently so adapting to the heavier car, and all sorts of stuff like that, just being able to rely on his advice in moving from the late model to the Pinty’s car and being competitive the whole race was really helpful for me.”
Now looking towards the future, he says while they consistently put themselves in a good position each event, they need to work on finishing out races.
“For myself as a driver, communicating my crew is something that my crew chief Terry helped me with a lot this year,” he added. “This was our first year really working together and I was really able to understand what feedback he wanted as a crew chief, and he understood my driving style pretty well. It was overall a good pairing and something that I’d like to continue into the future.”