by Kevin Boucher
John Paiva is coming off his first championship, and they say the hardest thing is getting the first one. We will see if the Fall River native can continue to find himself in the right place at the right time this season and repeat. This is the one division that will see some of the most change in competition, while much of it remains.
Gone is one of the toughest drivers out there, Rick Martin. Well, not entirely gone, just moved back to where many think he belongs. Both Scott and Branden Dion have both moved on as well. That’s three winning drivers from a year ago. But don’t think the fight will be any less for Paiva, and don’t think he isn’t up for the challenge.
Mike Cavallaro has vowed to keep his wrist in one piece, and not hamper his chance at title number 6. Mike has been the proverbial measuring stick in the Sport Trucks since he came on the scene about a decade ago, and will continue to be one of the drivers to beat to be the best.
The Dion Duo may be gone, but their trucks live on. Darryl Church purchased the machine that Scott drove to the Phil’s Propane Triple Crown championship, and he looks like he is ready to break through for a great season.
Nick Uhrig showed has shown great resiliency over the past few seasons in the Sport Trucks. After coming off the Pure Stock Championship a few years ago, Nick appeared ready to show the Truckers what he can do behind the wheel. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to show much of his talent. If he could rid his bag of tricks of the mechanical gremlins and bad timing, we just might see him in Everett’s Auto Parts Victory Lane like we used to in the Pure Stocks, which was often.
Chris Lima is another driver making the jump from the Pure Stocks after picking up the second Dion Chevy, this one Branden took to two wins and the ROY title. Chris was a fast learner in the Pure Stocks, winning several shows, and could continue his schooling.
Add in Lenny Guy, Ana Gregoire, Chase Belcher, Mike Duarte, Joey Wakefield and a handful of returning veterans, and the Sport Truck season will take a back seat to no one.
The rookie class this season is another one for the record books. Dave Lougee joins Lima, along with Gil Bradstreet, Ashley Kuhn, Shawn DeMello, Darryl Dutch and more, showing this division will continue to grow over the long term.