Last year was a statement performance by AJ Manuel. After visiting Victory Lane countless times, Manuel found himself in position to clinch the title before the final checkered flag fell, and he capitalized on the chance to earn his first Seekonk trophy.
Now, with the offseason almost ready to go into the rear-view mirror, Manuel is setting his sights on repeating as champion of the Friday night Sport 4 division. Manuel will return for another season, and if the setup under the hood is anything close to last year, Manuel is certainly going to be the favorite to win it again this season. He gained crucial experience coming from the back to the front each week in 2018.
But, there is going to be a long list of drivers looking to chase him down.
Former champion Dave Westgate has to lead that list. As a veteran of the division, Westgate is continuously at the front of the field each Friday night, and has plenty of championship experience in his past. The Taunton, Massachusetts, driver sold his car during the 2017 offseason, and even though last year definitely included some new car gremlins, Westgate is hoping those are behind him as he returns to chase more glory. As one of few veterans in the division, his experience will certainly help him get to the front of the standings.
A stout list of female competitors is coming to the front as well. Sam Mattera, who is quickly becoming a veteran of the Fast Friday division, will bring her TTM Motorsports machine back to the track hoping to end in Victory Lane. The Foster, Rhode Island, driver his quickly come into her own in the class, and it won’t be long before she is celebrating with a checkered flag. Christine Simpson joins Mattera in the TTM stable as she looks to find some consistency en route to what she hopes will be her first victory.
Right with her, the Murray family name is going to continue to live on with Crystal Murray behind the wheel. After splitting the No. 38 with her brother Richie last year, Crystal has become the primary driver as Richie makes the move to the NASCAR Sport Trucks division on Saturday night. With Crystal’s family having years of success at the third-mile, she has family to lean on as she looks to put together a title run. Last year, she visited Victory Lane once in her Rookie season.
Veterans of the division already registered include Henry Lavallee, Karlin Levesque and Nick Mattera. Upcoming drivers like Tyler Almeida and Tyler Duhancik are also hoping to pick up victories in 2019.
The Sport Four division will blast off the season with a non points race at the Memorial Day Thrill Show on May 25th. The 2019 Sport 4 championship season gets underway as part of the Fast Friday opener on Friday, May 31. The opening race of the season is slated for 20 laps.