Seekonk Speedway concluded the 2017 NASCAR Whelen All American Series season on Saturday night and crowned four champions in the process. Each of the four champions visited Victory Lane this season and three of them were prior champions. There is one driver who is a first-time champion.
In the Pro Stocks, David Darling dominated the entire season, running circles around the competition each week. Behind the wheel of his No. 52 Bristol Toyota Pro Stock, Darling captured feature wins in half of the races. There were 16 feature events, including three extra-distances races, and Darling went to Victory Lane eight times. He finished inside the top five 14 times and never finished outside the top 10. The Rehoboth, Mass. driver put together a nearly perfect season with his team and captured his fifth career track championship. He won the title by 56 points over Ryan Vanasse, who had two feature wins. Tom Scully Jr., Fred Astle and Bobby Pelland will round out the top five in the final standings.
In the Late Models, Ryan Lineham came into the season planning to only run a few events. He was driving a backup car for Nick Uring and went out onto the track Opening Day and wheeled the car into Victory Lane. After a few weeks, Lineham decided to give up his Pro Stock ride and concentrate on capturing the title in the Late Models. Many weeks later, the decision turned out to be the right one. The Hope Valley, R.I. driver took the championship with five victories in 16 races, along with 15 top 10 finishes. He won the title by 42 points over former champion Dylan Estrella. Lineham was a former Seekonk champion in the Sportsman class, but made the move to the Late Models and showed he can get the job done. With Estrella second, Jake Johnson, a rookie in the class, made a late season charge and finished third.
The 2017 Seekonk Sportsman season saw 14 different drivers visit the winner’s circle in the 18 feature events. But when it came down to consistency, it was Tiverton, R.I. driver Scott Bruneau who stood above the rest. Bruneau only went into Victory Lane once this season, but he was able to capture 14 top five finishes. He finished inside the top 10 in all of the races except one and ended up with an 82 point gap when the season came to a close. This is the second straight championship for Bruneau behind the wheel of the No. 74 machine. Paul Lallier finished second, while Sparky Arsenault went to Victory Lane once and came home third in the final standings.
The Seekonk Sport Truck championship chase came right down to the final lap of the final race of the season. In the end, it was Dighton, Mass. driver Mike Duarte taking down his first career championship at Seekonk Speedway. The man they call ‘Showtime’ worked his way to the winner’s circle only once, but was able to finish inside the top 10 in all of the races but one. He finished inside the top five in 13 of the 18 points events and ended the season with a four point lead in the championship standings. Josh Hedges finished second, four back, while Chase Belcher and Barry Shaw Jr. tied for third spot. Lenny Guy rounded out the top five.
These four champions will be honored at the banquet, which will be held on November 11 at the Venus de Milo in Swansea, Mass.