However, entering the 2018 season, the division is set to undergo a major change because former two-time champion Dylan Estrella will be moving away from the class. He won the title in 2015 and 2016 and was able to finish second to Ryan Lineham last year. He is heading for the Pro Stocks, kicking the door wide-open for new challengers to Lineham’s quest for another title.
If someone wants to win the title in 2018 — they will need to beat defending champion Lineham first. The Coventry, R.I. driver will be returning to the division looking to repeat as champion driving a full schedule with Nick Uhrig’s team. Lineham comes off a season that saw him visit the winner’s circle five times in 16 races. He won the title by nearly a full race over his closest competitor, and the former Sportsman champion now will have his sights set on winning another Late Model title.
Behind Lineham, the veteran experience of Gerry DeGaspere Jr. will make him a threat for the title right from the drop of the first green flag. DeGaspere Jr. hasn’t won a championship in a few years, but finished fourth in the standings last season and visited Victory Lane once. Not only does he have an experienced crew behind him, the driver definitely knows how to get it done on the track. Could this finally be the year that Gerry returns to glory and continues to etch his name in the record books?
One of the youngest drivers in the division, Ryan Kuhn, is going to be one of the toughest to beat. Kuhn was able to win last season in his Rookie campaign and finished inside the top five in nearly half of the races. He drives for Everett’s Auto Parts, a sponsor that makes sure their drivers have the best of the best under the hood.
Kuhn will be joined by Chase Belcher in the Everett’s Auto Parts sponsor category. The former Sports Trucks champion will be making a move to the Late Model class in 2018, taking the next step in his racing career at Seekonk. His experience in the Sports Trucks could help him become a factor quickly in a tough class.
On the veteran side, Vinny Arrenegado Jr. is expected to contend for the title in 2018. Last year, he scored one victory, but missed two races and still finished eighth in the championship chase. He has shown that he knows how to seal the deal for victories — but now — it’s just about time for him to make a run at the championship.
Names like Nick Uhrig, Jeramee Lille, Mike Teague, Joey Parker, Charlie Rose and many others who ran last season, are also expected to run at least a part-time schedule in 2018, while some will run for the title. The class always includes a few surprises along the way.
The drop of the first green flag is scheduled for Sunday, May 6. The season will include 30 lap feature races, but will also include five Power 5 races, scheduled for 35 laps. The three-race Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Series will also be part of the calendar for 50-laps.