by Kyle Souza
“It feels really good, on my victory lap, I saw everyone standing up, and it made me so happy.”
Those were some of the first words from Brittany Campbell last Saturday, as she climbed from her No. 8 Watermark Electric Seekonk Sport Truck after winning the 25-lap feature. It was Campbell’s first triumph in the division, and you would know it by just watching her victory speech. The emotion flowing from her in Victory Lane was yet another example why becoming a first-time winner in any of Seekonk’s racing divisions is an experience to remember forever.
With the win, based on available record, Campbell becomes the second female to score a NASCAR Saturday night victory at Seekonk in the 2000s, joining Robin Sloane Berghman, who picked up two NASCAR sanctioned wins in the Sport Truck division in the early 2000s. Berghman was also a winner in the Late Model division, but not under the NASCAR sanction. The list of female winners at Seekonk in the last 20 years is constantly growing.
As part of Fast Friday, more than 15 female drivers have earned their first checkered flag. In the last five years, two female drivers earned championships in Seekonk’s Friday classes — Shelby Donavan became the first female champion in Seekonk’s history to win a title in the Seekonk Youth Racing Association Mini Cup division in 2014, and Ava Chouinard earned the final Mini Cup title in 2017, before making a jump to the Pure Stocks.
Outside of those two, some additional female winners include Amy Arsenault, who has frequented Pure Stock Victory Lane, Samantha Dell, who has multiple wins in the Seekonk Grand Prix Bandolero division this season, and Taylor Bowser, who made a habit of winning Mini Cup races in her time on the track. Going back a few years, names like Crystal Serydynski, Taylor Therrien and Stacey Holewiak were also female winners in Seekonk’s 74-year history. Based on available record, there are at least 15 others who can be included in that list. Fans might remember names like Ashley Kuhn, Kait Donavan, Cassie Meservey and current Seekonk Sport Truck driver Maddie Harkin winning on Friday night as well. This year, around 20 female competitors have hit the track between the Fast Friday and NASCAR Saturday programs — a number that is the highest in Seekonk’s history.
Who can forget the end of August, when Samantha Mattera earned her first Sport 4 victory after years of racing as part of Thrill Shows, while on the same night, Crystal Murray, continuing a family tradition, earned the Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Series championship in the Sport 4 class. Those two females on the track celebrating with each other in one night will go down as one of the most historic night’s in Seekonk history.
And so will Campbell’s Sport Truck win this past Saturday. She started her Seekonk career in the Mini Cup on Fast Friday, just like many other drivers who eventually start winning on NASCAR Saturday. She was able to score a win in the Mini Cup class, before moving to the Bandolero’s, where she came close, but just missed the checkered flag. Just two years later, she’s a Seekonk Sport Trucks winner.
“Jumping from the Bandolero to the Truck, I didn’t even know how to drive a manual (transmission), so last year was all about learning that and the new racing groove, along with the different field of people I was racing with,” she said.
Her learning curve really started at a young age. Campbell frequented the track as a child, watching her father David crew chief for Ray Parent, one of the more successful Late Model and Pro Stock drivers from this Seekonk era. Before long, she was on the track. She competed in the entire Truck schedule last year, but this season, the speed has improved, and she’s become a constant threat to win. She joins a Truck division that is filled with rising talent, like points leader Richie Murray, and veteran champions, like Mike Cavallaro.
“A lot of people, including other drivers, were helping me with some pointers on where to brake in the corner and where to get on the gas, and it kind of just clicked for me,” she said. “It’s very satisfying, going out there with people who have been racing for 10 or 15 years, and I just barely started. Being able to run with them, and beat them, is such a great feeling.”
Last Saturday, she finally earned the checkered flag she had been looking for. But it didn’t come without a little bit of mid-season drama. Campbell was involved in a crash on the backstretch around the halfway point in the schedule, which sidelined her for a few weeks, while her crew helped to fix the truck. She also received some other help from some current and former competitors in the division.
“A lot of the hard work finally paying off, it just feels great,” she said.
Outside of the support from her dad, friends and family, she also has sponsorship from Timmy Brown Music, Liberty & Union Alehouse, Electrical Wholesalers and The Downtown. Above all, her dad is the one that she says has elevated her to this point.
“My dad definitely is the one who has really got me here, it’s always him and I in the pits working on the truck,” she said. “Kyle Marchand has helped me a lot, and when I hit the wall, Vern Belcher, PJ, Darryl Church… they all helped to fix the truck for me.”
A few days later, she’s still living in the moment of carrying the checkered flag around Seekonk as a Sport Truck winner on NASCAR Saturday.
“In the moment, I couldn’t even believe that I had won the race,” she said. “I’m definitely more excited now. I think my season has been made a success. I’m hoping for another win, but at least a top five. I’m hoping to run for points next year.”