My apologies for being a little late with this. I will explain later.
First off, I want to take a moment and thank Phil Viveiros and the entire Phil’s Propane team for being a part of our 2018 season. Phil has been a part of Seekonk Speedway for as long as I can remember. From a small sponsor, to a team partner, to a team owner. He has continued to support the speedway in many ways over the years. The last several, he has partnered up with the speedway for the Phil’s Propane Triple Crown for all nine divisions. That has come to a close for this season, and without his support, this may not have happened at all.
Congratulations to all of our Triple Crown winners, where we crowned our final four this past weekend. Derek Gluchaki on Friday night, Corey Fanning, Ray Parent and Jake Johnson on Saturday. It was an action filled weekend of action.
Corey Fanning won the Sportsman Triple Crown with a second place finish Saturday night, finishing in a Lallier sandwich. Paul picked up the win, while Tyler finished third. There were a couple of bad wrecks in this race, and it was good to see everyone was ok.
Ray Parent returned for his final LM race, as has procured a ride in the NASCAR Whelen Modifieds. He put on a great show, working the outside, battling with Dan Johnson for much of the race. They put on a great show, with Chase Belcher lying in waiting.
Jake Johnson picked up his first career Pro Stock win, becoming the youngest Pro Stock winner ever at Seekonk. Part of that is because it was only recently that the track started allowing drivers that young to compete with the Pro Stocks. Don’t get me wrong, Jake earned that opportunity. Two years ago, he won the Nick’s Pit Stop Legends championship, and the LM Rookie of the year last year. He currently sits atop the rookie standings this season, and second overall in the championship standings.
Derek picked up his sixth win Friday night in the Nick’s Pit Stop Legends, but still sits on the outside looking in on the championship chase. He missed opening night due to being sick, and had one DNF, costing him valuable points. But don’t count him out yet. There are still three races remaining.
That’s right. There is still three races remaining for the championship chase in all of our divisions, and the battles are still up for grabs in all classes.
Dave Darling, who has been the most consistent driver over the past ten plus seasons, had a rare bad night. He got caught up in an early incident, putting him at the bottom of the top ten. He still sits atop the standings, but his lead has been cut to 29 points. Not an insurmountable distance, but he has been the epitome of consistency, usually landing on the podium most weeks. It will be tough to catch Dave. When he has a bad week, he has always bounced back with top threes and wins.
The Late Model chase was closed up as well, as Ryan Kuhn saw his win streak stop at three. He finished just outside the top five, but still commands the top spot. This battle will go down to the final weeks. There are only 12 points separating Ryan from Ryan. Lineham has climbed back into the picture, and will be a tough competitor over the final three events.
The Sportsman division saw points leader Paul Lallier inch closer to his third title, as he picked up his second victory of the season. His closest challenger is three time and defending champion Scott Bruneau. He sits 12 points behind, and has a very legitimate shot at the top spot. Kyle Casper is also inching into the fight after starting slow.
Bobby Tripp picked up another win in the Sports Truck division. He currently holds a 20 point advantage over defending truck champion Mike Duarte. Josh Hedges is only ten points behind him. This will be a fun battle to watch.
We also awarded our Most Popular Drivers Saturday during our Meet and Greet before the races. There was a great turnout of competitors and fans that joined us. A big thank you to our Fast Friday competitors that came back to show off their cars for the Meet and Greet.
It was good to see Todd Annarummo have a good run in his #10. Todd returned this season, but has struggled getting back into rhythm, not to mention fighting being sick a couple of weeks. He led a lot of the race, and held on for a second place finish. Good run Todd. Getting closer to getting back into Everett’s Auto Parts Victory lane.
Mark Hudson has shown a lot of speed this season, and on Saturday, he had a great run going running in the top five all night. Well, until the final corner when something happened. I didn’t see what happened, but when I looked up, he was sideways, tangled up with a couple of other cars. That’s a tough way to end a great run for him.
Tom Scully has struggled this year in the Pro Stocks, but has run real well in the Late Model. Driving for the Gifford Brothers, he has led laps and run toward the front many weeks. His results don’t show how well they have run.
Tom has a big distraction this year, however. His mom has been fighting cancer for a few years, and the families focus has been with her. I haven’t had a chance to talk one on one with Tom, but I am sure when he is behind the wheel, it’s been a good way to focus on something else.
Our Fast Friday championships are coming down to the wire. The championship at the top of the Nick’s Pit Stop Legends is even Steven with three races remaining. Jake Matheson from NH has led most of the season, but over the past few weeks, Josh Parsons has closed in to make it a three race series. Gluchaki is only 24 points in arrears, making this an exciting race to the finish.
The South Coast Power Equipment Pure Stocks however, have an almost runaway at the top of the standings. Doug Benoit, who won that division’s Triple Crown, has a commanding 58 point advantage. It will take a couple of real bad outings for DJ Pires to catch him there.
AJ Manuel holds a similar advantage in the Sport4 division lead over Triple Crown champion Mike LeFort. While this title chase isn’t close, the racing in this division has been spectacular week after week.
Evan Marchand currently leads the standings in the Seekonk Grand Prix Bandolero’s, holding a slight 4 point advantage over Tyler Tomassi. These youngsters have been getting better and better each week.
In the Bandit class of the Bandolero’s, Devin Deshaies has been all but dominant this season, but only holds a 16 point lead going into the final few events.
There has been some great racing on Friday nights this season. You don’t want to miss any of it.
Don’t forget, the Fan’s on Parade was rescheduled to September 15th. What a better way to celebrate than to show your support of your favorite driver than participating in the parade.
Ok, why was I late this week? I had this all typed out, and after I read it, I was a little disgusted with what I put down. It was a very negative piece, and wasn’t at all what the racing is here. Is it perfect? No, and it never has been, never will be. BUT!!! I’ve been to several race tracks this season, and week in and week out, our show is among the best there is.
We are blessed with very good car counts compared to other tracks, even in New England. The teams all put their heart and soul into their program. Are they perfect? Not even close. But when those magical moments happen, boy, they sit in your memory for a long time.
It may be just a particular moment in a race. It might have been a close finish. It might have been a move on another driver. Every fan has one. It may not have been this year. It may not have been in the last ten years. But there are moments that keep us coming back week after week.
I shared a post online earlier this week about the average fan. They sit on a wooden or aluminum bench for several hours. They stretch occasionally, they get up to get something to eat or to hit the restroom. They move their legs so they don’t fall asleep. When they get up, they walk like they are struggling. And the entire ride home, they talk about what a good time they had and that they can’t wait to go back.
It’s not every fan on every night, but I will tell you this. For the admission, you will not find another sport that will tug at your emotions like racing does. Whether your driver wins or is knocked out by an accident or part failure, your emotions ride like they do. Highs and lows. Good and bad. If there was a way to bottle it up, it would be a best seller.
If you’ve been here at all, you know what I am talking about. The passion that lives in this sport, at this facility, with these competitors. There is nothing like it. No matter where you go, it’s not the same. Where we race is why we race.
The negativity, you can find in social media. And most of it is bull.