Well, here it is, championship week. A pair of nights that each driver had been striving for since opening day. Over 200 drivers have taken the green since the beginning of May, but at the end of the night, there will only be 9 drivers that will be able to be called Champion.
Fast Friday this week will see the champions declared in the Seekonk Youth Racing Association 600 and 750 classes, the Sport4’s, the Pure Stocks and the Nick’s Pit Stop Legends.
The SYRA 600 division has a 20 point differential between a second generation and a third generation racer. Evan Marchand is a third generation racer out of Somerset. His mom and dad both raced in the Formula Four division, with his mother making her way to the now defunct NASCAR Baby Grand division. His grandfather raced here for many years, and even raced in the Baby Grands as well. Who are they? Ed and Stacy Holewiak, his father, Kyle Marchand. Evan is in his second year of competition in the SYRA division.
Scott Serydynski is in his third year of SYRA competition, and has watched his dad Scott Sr and his cousin Crystal compete here and throughout southern New England for several years.
Both of these drivers are competitive and passionate when they compete. Both drivers have visited Everett’s Auto Parts Victory Lane a few times, and Scott picked up the Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Championship this year. Regardless of who wins the title, it has been a great battle this year for both drivers.
They SYRA 750 class has Luke LeBron leading that division with enough of a cushion that he has clinched the title in this class, the final title for the 750 division, as the INEX Bandalero’s will be moving into their slot on the schedule in 2017. More on that later.
The Sport4 title has been decided already, as Mike Belanger avoided the Sophomore Slump and picked up a handful of victories, as well as the Phil’s Propane Triple Crown title. He won two out of the three races there, and finished second in the third.
The Pure Stocks have defending champion Andrew Kun leading former champion Scott Cestodio by 38 points going into the finale. That equates to 19 positions on the track. Depending on the car count, which has averaged 16-20 cars this season, he may clinch the title by just taking the green flag.
The Nick’s Pit Stop Legends come into the night with a pair of second generation racers fighting for the title. 46 points separate Jake Johnson and Ryan Kuhn from the title position. Jake has a pair of wins while Ryan has 7 wins here at Seekonk, and three others on the road this year. While Ryan has been hot over the second half of the season, Jake has been the model of consistency, with a finish no worse than sixth all year. If not for a slow start and one bad race for Kuhn, this race would be much closer. If Johnson can hang on, he will become the youngest non-SYRA driver to win a championship in the 71 year history of the speedway at the age of 13.
On Saturday, there are four more champions to be crowned, with two of them already being sewed up.
The Sport Trucks have the closest battle going into the final night. Over the past several weeks, both Mike Cavallaro and Chase Belcher have had their ups and downs, including some controversial battles. Mike is a five time champion and has picked up 8 wins so far this season. Chase has visited victory lane a few times as well, as well as picking up the Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Championship, not to mention the defending Sport Truck Champion.
The gap is only 13 points between them. With points in qualifying coming into play, this will come down to only a few positions on the track. If it comes down to a tie, Mike will win the title based on wins.
The Street Stocks have their champion decided. Scott Bruneau clinched when 2015 champ Paul Lallier, who was pushing Scott to the limit, broke a fuel pump in the 25 lap main event. Scott has had a great season, with only one DNF.
In the Everett’s Auto Parts Late Models, Dylan Estrella followed up his 2015 title with the 2016 championship as well. Dylan has been fast most weeks and picked up several wins on his way to his second consecutive title.
The Pro Stocks have had one of the most exciting title chases out of all of the divisions. Why do I say that? Well, over the past six races, Tom Scully Jr, who has led most of the season, has lost the lead, and gained it back. A few weeks ago, the top three were within 10 points of each other.
Going into the finale, Tom Scully Jr leads six time champion Fred Astle by 35 points. Tom has been one of the most consistent drivers over the past 8 years, not finishing out of the top five in the final standings. This looks like it will be the season he finally claims that title.
What a night we are coming off of. We saw some great racing. My favorite race of the night? The Street Stocks. Tommy Adams had something to say about getting the win the previous week after a disqualification to Cory Fanning. Happy to get the win? Yes, but he wanted the glory of capturing the checkered in front of the crowd.
So, what did he do? He passed Fanning for the lead with only a handful of laps remaining to pick up the convincing win. That wasn’t the best part though. Throughout the race, Scott Serydynski and early leader Sparky Arsenault were both sideways, looking into the infield, and made some great saves. You might have thought they were on dirt the way they were wheeling those machines. That was exciting to watch.
I love talking to new winners, and we had another last week. In the Sport Trucks rookie contender Josh Hedges hung on and picked up his first career win. He had been close a couple of times, but it took until two races left on the season. Regardless, he can now be called a winner.
The Pro Stocks saw a scary incident with Mike Brightman and Kevin Folan making contact. The pair, racing for the lead, got together on the back stretch. When they did, something broke in the right front of Folan’s #17, and with no brakes and no steering, he hit the wall heading into turn three. When he hit, he broke the fuel pump off the engine and there were flames coming from under the hood. When they made contact, the right rear suspension on Brightman’s mount broke, sending the right rear spring through the tin and right rear window, and ending up in the fence. Unfortunately, both were done for the night, and possibly this week as well.
We will end this with one of the funniest things I have heard at the track in a long time. From the files of Kids Say the Darndest Things.
Pride Hyundai of Seekonk has provided us with a new Hyundai Veloster for the “Ride with Pride”. It gives a chance for the fans to take a ride around the track with one of our drivers. This past weeks’ guest driver was Dylan Estrella.
A young fan, who is an avid Gerry DeGasparre fan, was our final rider of the night. He had on his 71 hat and a die cast that he painted and numbered for his favorite driver. He didn’t even want Dylan to get into his picture. But he wasn’t giving up his ride.
When he got out of the ride, which he did enjoy, the question was asked if Dylan was now his SECOND favorite driver. His response was unexpected. “I’ll have to go down the checklist!” is what he proudly exclaimed. I was in stitches, as was anyone else that was listening over the P.A. I loved it.
Don’t miss championship night. You might miss something great.