Wednesday night, we had the chance to witness one of the top Super Late Model races in all of New England right here at the Seekonk Speedway. Star drivers like Joey Pole, Eddie MacDonald and Travis Benjamin came down to the third-mile to join the list of our weekly regulars in a 200 lap main event worth $10,000 to the winner.
In the end, it was Derek Griffith, one of the rising stars in New England, who came out on top. The driver of the No. 12 used a late pass of MacDonald to take the lead, but there was much more of a story to it. The final 40 laps of the race were thrilling, with Reid Lanpher trying to hold off all challengers in the lead. Lapped cars played a factor when Mike Brightman and Ryan Vanasse got together and the leaders were just able to squeak by. But it set up a late restart that helped Griffith work his way to the front and eventually to the $10,000 check.
Griffith has won races on the Granite State Pro Stock Series and is a former champion of that tour. He also has been successful on the Pro All Star Series and won the DAV Fall Classic at Seekonk last October. This time, Griffith got the big check. A $10,000 prize will help him fund the team and keep his operation going. All money won helps a team and a prize like this will surely go to good use.
The stout field of Super Late Models will only continue to grow as this event gets bigger and better over the next few years with the track promoting it. We hope that as the event grows, more cars join in on the action. Our Seekonk regulars put up a strong fight, with David Darling, Mike Brightman and Kyle Casper all coming home with top-10 finishes in the 200 lap race. Defending race winner Tom Scully Jr. had a part failure that cost him a chance at finishing.
We also had some impressive Sportsman racing on Wednesday night in a race that was added to the lineup over the past week when the Pro 4 Modifieds couldn’t return. Chad Baxter captured his first career Sportsman win in the race, one that went from the start to the finish without a caution flag. Baxter started from fifth, but worked his way to the front in just a short time and found himself taking over the lead with six laps to go. Early leader and former division champion John Hanafin finished second, with Paul Lallier coming home third.
The Nick’s Pit Stop Legends also had a 25 lap race on Wednesday night and it was young-gun Ryan Kuhn who took down another division win behind the wheel of his Modern Auto Body, Everett’s Auto Parts No. 72. Kuhn won more than a handful of races last season and even though he is only running part-time in the class this year, he hasn’t lost anything. Kuhn used a three-wide move early in the race to take the lead on lap eight and he was able to lead the rest of the distance. Congrats to Ryan and his entire team on another job well done. Let’s see if he can grab his first Late Model win on Saturday night.
All three of our divisions will have a quick break before we get racing underway this weekend. Our Fast Friday Series continues with the Pure Stocks, Legends, Bandolero and MiniCups all set for action. Then, Saturday, we have the second of three Pro Stock Triple Crown races, a 65 lap main. The Sportsman, Late Models and the New England Truck Series will also join in on the fun. Don’t miss it!