Editor’s Note: With the outbreak of COVID-19 forcing racing around the globe to a sudden stop, SPEED SPORT is reaching out to members of the racing community to find out how the outbreak is impacting them, both as racers and in their daily lives.
This story is part of that ongoing series.
GRIMSBY, Ontario — Treyten Lapcevich was prepared and eager to embark on a new chapter in his racing career before the COVID-19 pandemic put those plans on hold.
Now he, like the rest of the motorsports world, is waiting to find out when he’ll be able to get back to the track.
The 16-year-old Canadian was set to make his debut in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series – Canada’s top level of stock car racing — prior to the sports shutdown in mid-March that washed across the globe.
That had him counting the days until race season, Lapcevich admitted. Since the virus outbreak, any hope of racing has been shelved for now, leaving him unsure when he’ll make his first Pinty’s start.
“It was a real downer (when racing came to a stop),” Lapcevich told SPEED SPORT. “I know it was tough on everyone, but it was really sad for me because I was really excited for this next season. I still want to make my Pinty’s debut this year — we’ve still got a deal for that — so I just really hope that we get to that because I’m really excited to step up to that level and see what I can do.
“It’s the top level of racing we have here in Canada and I just hate that we’ve had to put it off,” he added. “Hopefully the wait will make it worthwhile when we get back to racing.”
When he is able to get back behind the wheel, Lapcevich will have the backing of Leland Industries and the Rinomato Group of Companies aboard his Pinty’s Series entry. Both businesses jumped at the opportunity to support the teenager in his step up the racing ladder, something Lapcevich values.
“I’m just grateful for their support,” he said. “This deal coming together has been thanks to the help of Mark Dilley and T.J. Rinomato from the beginning. We’ve been close with Mark ever since my dad raced with him. And this past year, when my results really started to show at the APC (Late Model Series) level, we figured it was time to get me in something a little better.
“That’s really how the Pinty’s deal came about. Things have really been looking up recently, it’s just that we have to hang tight for a little while now.”
As the younger brother of 2016 Pinty’s Series champion Cayden Lapcevich, Treyten Lapcevich recognizes that there is pressure that will come with carrying his last name back into the Canadian racing headlines.
He’s not stressing about that part, however, at least at this point.
“I think because of the program that we’re starting out with, in my eyes, it’s a lesser-pressure situation,” the younger Lapcevich said. “Right now, it looks like it’s going to be a three-race minimum, so we selected three races (based on the original schedule) … and hopefully what those are will be released soon, once we all know how this virus is going to impact that schedule. So we’ll see how that works.
“At least as of right now, it’s just three races,” he continued. “It’s enough to get my feet wet and for me to get a chance to adapt to those cars compared to the late models. We’re going to see how that goes, and then hopefully if that goes well, we can do more in the future. I’m more excited than anything.”
Lapcevich has been racing virtually, much like many of his contemporaries. He’s been competing regularly in the Rowdy Energy Super Select Series and is coming off back-to-back top fives.
“So far, doing the virtual stuff has been a lot of fun,” he noted. “It’s been a lot of exposure for myself and my sponsors by doing the Rowdy stuff. Ace Services has been helping us out on the late model side. I just need some luck, man. I seem to always have the speed, but I always get caught up in something or things don’t work out quite right for me in the iRacing world.
“I’m getting by with that right now, but I’m just really excited to get going in the real world.”
When things do get back going on track, expect to see Treyten Lapcevich in an APC late model, pending sponsorship, as well as a Pinty’s car. He nearly made it to victory lane in 2019 with the APC Series and hopes to change that with a year of wisdom under his belt.
A busy racing calendar once sports can resume will also mean a busier calendar in general for Lapcevich, but he was quick to note that from a flow standpoint, things will largely look as they do now for him.
“I don’t mind how we’re doing school from home and online right now … because for me, most of my teachers give me all my work for the week on Mondays. So Mondays and Tuesdays I’ll work on school work and then the rest of the week, I really just have time to do iRacing or whatever else I need to do.
“So far, other than the racing itself, this whole situation hasn’t affected me too much, but I know there’s others that it has and I hate that for everyone,” he added. “We’ll just wait this deal out for now and see how this all goes in the future.”