Jeff LapcevichJeff Lapcevich and the #23 Tim Hortons Chevrolet team arrived at the Mosport Speedway for round number eight of the NASCAR Canadian Tire series looking expecting to duplicate the strong performance they showed during a test session at the track in recent days.  However the day would wind up being both frustrating to disappointing for the entire team.

Through the afternoon practice session Lapcevich and the Tim Hortons Chevrolet team felt they had a decent car but looked to improve their lap times and when the sixty minute session by making a gear change before qualifying.  Completing the change would make the team late for technical inspection and result in Jeff only being allowed one qualifying lap.  “I only had one lap to work with and I didn’t make the most of it” said a frustrated Lapcevich.

The #23 Tim Hortons Chevy would start from the back of the pack but with what Lapcevich felt was an improved race car before practice.  As the green flag waved to begin the 200 lap feature event, Jeff worked the car hard and gained several positions in the opening few laps.  “It’s hard when you start toward the back, but the Tim Hortons car was pretty good at the start and I was happy to pick up a few spot” said the driver.

The first seventy laps of the race went caution free and as the laps ticked away Lapcevich began to experience a strange sensation in the Tim Hortons Chevrolet.  “We just couldn’t get into the turns properly” he stated. “We were okay in the middle and coming off, but they were eating us up coming into the corner.  This seem strange to us with the changes we had made to the car” he added.

And ill handling race car does not allow the driver to make the kind of aggressive maneuvers necessary to be successful.  “It was a very tough night, the car was so free that it was unsettled and I couldn’t afford to adjust the brakes too much because we were already using up our front brakes” he stated.  The Tim Hortons Chevrolet was not demonstrating the same characteristics it did during the teams test and Lapcevich had his hands full for the entire night.

The Tim Hortons driver would use all of his driving skills to complete the race and take the checkered flag, but his thirteenth place finish was very disappointing.  “I had a very frustrating night.  We tested here a couple of weeks ago and we ran lap times of 21.7 seconds and we just couldn’t get below a 22 today for some reason.  It’s upsetting because we came here with really high expectations.  We came here really prepared and we just ran slow.  We’ll have to make sure things are square with this car and also we plan to do some testing with the road course car before Trois Rivieres”.

Jeff Lapcevich and the Tim Hortons team are back in action on Sunday August 16th at the Fortieth anniversary edition of the Grand Prix of Trois Rivieres.  This year’s series events will consist of ovals, road courses and temporary street circuits from coast to coast in Canada.  All events are once again scheduled to appear on TSN.

Photo by Rod Henderson