After a long winter away from the track, it was great to be back on Sunday as we opened the 73rd season of racing at Seekonk Speedway. The annual Opening Day starts with Pro Stock time trials each year and there was no surprise when the time trial session was over. Former multiple time champion David Darling returned to his form, posting the fastest time of the session and setting himself up for success later in the day.
Darling started inside the top five for the 40 lap feature event on Sunday and he ended up taking down the checkered flag when it was all set and done. Behind the wheel of his No. 52, Darling took the lead late in the race from Ryan Vanasse and even though Vanasse was able to hang with him for a while, he didn’t have enough. It was a solid start to the season for Vanasse and fellow Team V teammate Bobby Pelland, with both of them running strong and finishing top three to start the year.
In the Everett’s Auto Parts Late Model feature on Sunday, it was Ryan Lineham in a borrowed ride taking down the victory. Lineham sat behind the wheel of Nick Uring’s Late Model and he took it right to the front of the pack, finishing second in his heat race and taking down the win during a late race dash to the finish. Lineham worked the outside of Ray Parent into turn one in one of the final circuits and he was able to hold on and take down the victory. Although Parent came home with a second place finish behind the wheel of his Anytime Realty No. 98, the car was disqualified for having incorrect fuel in the fuel cell, which was a tough break for him. With the DQ, Austin Blais moved up to second spot and leads the list of championship contenders going into week two.
In the Helger’s Southcoast Power Equipment Sportsman class, it was a great start to the year for Paul Lallier on the track. Lallier took the lead from Scott Serydynski Sr. late and crossed the finish line first as the winner of the Opening Day 25 lap feature. However, shortly after the race was over, Lallier faced technical inspection and did not pass. That handed the win to Serydynski, who had dominated much of the race. Scott had a strong car for much of last season with a lot of bad luck, but this time things went the opposite way for him. Rob Murphy came home with a second place finish, while defending champion Scott Bruneau grabbed third.
Finally, the Sports Truck feature event saw Chase Belcher take down his first win of the season behind the wheel of the Everett’s Auto Parts No. 81 truck. Belcher defeated defending champion Mike Cavallaro in the final laps of the 25 lap feature to take down the victory. Last season, these two had a fierce battle for the title going down the stretch and it ended up being Cavallaro at the head table as champion. But this year, Belcher is looking to take him down. Mike Duarte, the man they nickname “Showtime,” finished in third on Sunday after starting towards the back of the pack — showing he will be the one to challenge both of them for the title this year.
Next Saturday night we return to racing action and get back in the normal swing of things at the third-mile oval. The Pro Stocks, Late Models, Sportsman and Sport Trucks will all be back in action along with the Spectator Drag Series.