Every year, the Seekonk staff works hard to select nominees for the Wall of Fame.
When the voting first was released last summer, I knew it was going to be difficult for the fans to select the next class. And after a long process, and plenty of votes, Vinny Annarummo and Ed St. Angelo were the two drivers who were inducted onto the Wall this past Saturday night. I want to thank the staff that works on putting that together, and I want to congratulate both of the drivers on making it to the Wall. I don’t remember much about Ed, because let’s face it — I’m not that old, so he raced before my time. However, I do remember watching Vinny compete in the modifieds around the third-mile, and I have heard plenty of stories about his successful Pro Stock efforts. Both are well-deserving of the honor.
On the track, the racing Saturday night started with Josh Hedges returning to Victory Lane in the Sports Trucks division. Hedges had a rough start to the season last week after being sent to the tail end during a restart, but he wasn’t going to be denied this week. He got to the front quickly, and won the 30-lap feature by over two seconds. Going forward, Hedges is going to be difficult to beat, but I think Mike Duarte might be the title favorite already. He won his first championship last year, and has opened 2018 with two consecutive second-place finishes. Barry Shaw, Jr., has also been strong so far, running on the podium for the second straight week.
In the Late Models, it looked as though Ryan Kuhn was going to rebound from some opening night struggles and capture his first win of the year, but defending champion Ryan Lineham used a late pass to return to the winner’s circle. Lineham seems to have a lot of speed this year again, and he showed it in the final laps of Saturday’s 35-lap feature. Kuhn was able to settle for second, while Vinnie Arrenegado finished third. I have been impressed with the speed and confidence from the Arrenegado team early this season — they have shown they are going to be a threat all year long.
The Pro Stocks finally took the green flag for their first feature, and yes, you read that correctly! Mother Nature has been brutal this year, so the Pro Stocks weren’t able to take the green flag until Saturday night’s opener for the Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Series, a 65-lap feature. Early on, it looked like David Darling was going to continue his dominance in the class after winning half of the races last year. However, on one of the final restarts, Dylan Estrella, a rookie and former Late Model champion, worked the inside of Darling and drove away with his first career win. It reminds me of a few years ago, when rookie Angelo Belsito came in and stole the show as a rookie. Dylan has experience, and has quickly shown the Everett’s Auto Parts No. 46 has the speed to capture the wins he will need to run for the title.
The only other feature Saturday was the Sportsman, and for the second straight week, a former champion was in Victory Lane. This time it was Paul Lallier, who struggled opening night, but he was able to rebound in a big way. Congrats to Paul on his first win — and I think everyone noticed that Scott Brunueau finished third again. Two straight podiums for the defending champion to open the year, and no signs of slowing down.