By Clayton Johns
LONDON, ONT. – Veteran Delaware Speedway late model driver Matt Pritiko has signed a three-race deal with DJK Racing to compete in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series (NCATS) in 2014.
Pritiko will drive a Derek White Motorsports-owned Dodge prepared by two-time NCATS champion D.J. Kennington. The former Grand Am KONI Challenge series competitor will test his road-course talent in a stock car for the first time this summer.
“He’s a very talented young man,” said Kennington. “I like how he takes care of his equipment. He doesn’t tear stuff up. NCATS is the premier series in Canada. The more young people we can get involved in it, the better it is for all of us.”
Pritiko will compete in both races at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (CTMP) in Bowmanville, Ont. and at the GP3R in Trois-Rivieres, Que. Between the Kennington and White stables, as many as four cars will be prepared for the season opening race at CTMP.
The London, Ont. native will receive marketing support from longtime sponsor Global Warranty, which will also fund his weekly program at Delaware.
“I can’t thank Global Warranty enough for this opportunity. They are a great company to partner with and I am thrilled to represent them,” said Pritiko.
“It’s huge exposure for Matt and Global Warranty,” said Global Warranty’s general manager Rick Fitzelle. “I think he’s one of the best drivers around and I think he can make a big difference in the series. We’re planning to take a bus full of people from Global Warranty to Trois-Rivieres and see Matt win.”
Pritiko says CTMP and Trois-Rivieres were specifically chosen because of his experience on the circuits.
“When I raced in Grand Am, we raced at both tracks,” said Pritiko. “I also do driver coaching at CTMP, so I’m very familiar with the challenges of each track.”
Pritiko will also be at CTMP for the MOPAR test day in early May. The on-track session will be Pritiko’s first opportunity to get used to the heaviest race car he’s piloted to date.
“I will be getting used to the characteristics of the NCATS car.” said Pritiko. “The first test day is going to be very beneficial. We are going to run as many laps as possible .”
Pritiko’s traditional number 21 is already taken by series-regular Jason White, so a new number will be on the side of his Challenger. But a number is not going to stop Pritiko achieving his goal.
“It’s the highest tier of all racing in Canada. All the races are televised,” said Pritiko. “It is great sponsor exposure and I definitely feel like I have enough experience to move up to this level of stock car racing.”
In addition to three NCATS events, Pritiko hopes to run a full schedule at Delaware Speedway and earn his first track championship. The London, Ont. driver also hopes to compete in the Flamboro Speedway home-and-home series and various invitational races.
With the NCATS schedule released last week, Pritiko is anticipating a busy schedule.
“There is a definite possibility I will race at Delaware on the Friday night and then drive up to (CTMP) to race on Sunday,” said Pritiko. “I could be pulling double-duty on the weekend, which is awesome.”