Normally, when we hit the month of June, we are already three, maybe even four races into the season. However, with the rain in the area the last month, this past Saturday night was the first race of the season for our NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions. And, better yet, we had the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in town for the opener.
In the Seekonk 150, Justin Bonsignore started from the pole position, and went on to capture the checkered flag, which was his second win of the season on the Whelen Modified Tour. Bonsignore changed his chassis over the offseason, and also brought on a new crew chief, and it seems as though those changes are working well for him. In the final stages of the race, Bonsignore had to hold off charges from Chase Dowling and Matt Hirschman, while fans sat on the edge of their seats wondering who would capture the flag. This was the only visit for the tour to Seekonk this year, so we look forward to seeing them back next season, and wish them the best for their next race and the rest of the season.
Our weekly races also put fans on the edge of their seats on Saturday. In the Seekonk Sports Trucks, Bobby Tripp made his return to the track, and that return ended with him carrying the checkered flag. Driving the Everett’s Auto Parts No. 81, Tripp got to the lead early, but he had to hold off a hard charge from Josh Hedges, and Mike Duarte in the final few restarts in order to roll to the victory. What a way for Tripp to start his relationship with Everett’s, especially since he ended up finishing sixth in the Late Model feature later in the night. Mike Duarte, the defending champion, finished second in the 35-lap Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Series feature to open the year and his title defense.
In the Sportsman, Scott Bruneau started up front, and the defending champion opened his new season with a win in the 35-lap Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Series feature. While Bruneau ran up front, the charge from the middle and back of the field found two drivers racing their way through the pack. Corey Fanning and Kyle Casper both started at the rear, and they worked their way to the top of the field and both joined Bruneau on the podium, with Casper second, and Fanning third. Bruneau looks to be the early favorite for the championship once again this season, which should come as no surprise to anyone who has watched the Sportsman over the last few years.
With the Pro Stocks off, the headline race for our Seekonk NWAAS divisions was the 50-lap Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Series feature for the Late Models. Ray Parent made an appearance in his No. 98, and it wasn’t long before he found himself in Victory Lane. However, that run to the checkered flag was not easy. Parent put his machine at the front early, but the second half of the race saw Jake Johnson hound the back bumper, and in the end, Johnson ended up putting on a show with his challengers. They were three-wide with Vinny Arrenegado for the lead in the final circuits, but in the end, Parent ended up holding the big trophy in the first race of the season. Anyone who didn’t attend Saturday night’s races missed a true battle between a rising star and a Seekonk veteran.
Next week, the Pro Stocks will finally (hopefully) get their first race of the season into the record books, with the first 65-lap Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Series race on the card.