When the schedule came out over the winter for the 2018 schedule, it was a welcome sight from many competitors that there were several weeks off. It was one of the concerns by some, that the long season was taking a toll on the drivers, teams and the wallet.
After the first two months of the season were over, I am sure they are not overly enthused with the way mother nature has treated us. If you would have told me by the second week of July that we would only have five weeks of racing in, I would have laughed. Now, Mother Nature is the one laughing.
After a week off to celebrate Independence Day, Fast Friday turned us back into action. The competitors were ready for action and put on some great racing.
Devin Deshais moved back to the front of the field and picked up another win in the Seekonk Grand Prix Bandelero Bandits, making it 4 on the season. Riley Caron had a great run in finishing second.
Tyler Tomassi picked up his second win of the season, holding off the hard charges of point leader Evan Marchand.
Both of these main events were Phil’s Propane Triple Crown main events.
If you aren’t familiar with the Bandeleros, it’s a great way to get your youngster into the sport. Young boys and girls have been able to get their start in racing, starting at the age of six. There are several second and third generation kids behind the wheel weekly, as well as, if I am not mistaken, a fourth generation racer.
The Sport4s also had a Phil’s Propane Triple Crown event, and the driver sitting at the top of the standings picked up his second win of the season. Last year, AJ Manuel picked up the PPTC event, and won the first round as well. He’s going to be tough to beat for this years’ Triple Crown.
As the Pure Stocks ran their 25 lap main event, the action continued to be hot and heavy. DJ Pires picked up his second victory of the year, besting points leader Doug Benoit.
Did you know that Doug has not finished out of the top two all year? It’s bound to happen, but it hasn’t yet. That’s an impressive run.
Jake Matheson picked up his second win of the season as well. While Jake was celebrating his victory, Brendon Hammann was celebrating his career best finish. Skeeter has been trying to shake his bad luck for the last year, and so far, this season he’s been one of the quickest cars week in and week out. À runner up position is just what the Dr ordered as he gets ready to run on Wednesday, where he will try to celebrate his birthday in Everett’s Auto Parts Victory Lane.
Saturday took us back to yesteryear for a bit, as the Senior Tour Auto Racers were on hand. Unfortunately the weather started to turn, and we had to forgo their interviews. My apologies to the winners.
Josh Hedges was the winner in the Sport Truck feature. It was his second win of the season. Rob Murphy followed up his win with a second place run, while Barry Shaw picked up another third place finish.
The Pro Stocks were moved up to second on the schedule. 65 laps for their second round of the Phil’s Propane Triple Crown. It was a reversal of what we witnessed in round one. This time, it was Dylan Estrella who was leading late in the race, but he couldn’t hold off the defending champion. This was Dave Darling’s second win of the season, and his most impressive in years, in my opinion. Darling started scratch in the field, and worked his way through the field by the 55th lap.
The racing throughout the top ten was exciting. Mike Mitchell had a career best fourth place finish. They are ready to turn the corner in being a weekly contender.
It was good to see former champion Angelo Belsito have a good run, finishing third..
The Sportsman put on a great run, going green to checkered. Sparky Arsenault picked up his first win of the season. Sparky started on the outside of the front row, and jumped out on the opening lap. From there, he never looked back.
Ryan Flood had his best run of the season, finishing second.
The Late Models once again put on another great show. Ryan Kuhn picked up his second win of the season after he and Charlie Rose made contact going through the final corners. Ryan Lineham and Tom Adams rounded out the top three, a career best for Adams.
I have to say, our racing this year has been awesome. Far from perfect, but that’s the beauty of it. Thing happen, good and well, not so good, but every week, the drivers and teams put forth their best efforts to put on their best show possible.
When the teams get to the track, you think that there isn’t much to do to the car. And, mostly you would be correct. But that wasn’t the case for two teams this past week.
Todd Annarummo had clutch problems in practice, and missed the third round of practice as they had to replace the clutch. The hard part of doing that was lying on the ground to perform the repairs. The team was able to get the repairs completed in time for qualifying. Unfortunately, their efforts didn’t translate into a good finish, as he struggled in the feature.
Another team that had to perform some in between repairs was Gerry DeGasparre’s Late Model team.
They had problems with the rear end after qualifying. Gerry said there was help from other teams to get him out for the feature. They had about 15 minutes to spare.
There are a lot things that happen behind the scenes between the time the pit gates open to the time the green flag drops. There are times where a team is short on help, and that can hamper their ability to compete weekly, or compete at a higher level.
Many a time, a driver will only compete here or there due to the lack of help. Only himself and one or two other people to help, which means it takes longer to complete a repair, or even basic maintenance. And it happens in all of our classes.
Getting onto a team isn’t all that difficult either. Sometimes, all you have to do is ask someone if they would like some help.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not all fandom, where you sit there and watch what they do. There is some hard work to be done. Some weeks it’s easier than others. Others, it can be grueling. But the benefits are some of the best available. No, not those kind of benefits.
I’m talking about being part of a team, making some lifelong friends, getting an opportunity to be a part of a great team sport. Not to mention learning some great skills.
On Wednesday, it is the third annual Pro Stock/SLM Nationals. Tom Scully was the winner in a thriller. Last year, Derek Griffith picked up the 10K check.
They will both be in action, in addition to other great drivers from the northeast. Scully, Estrella, Darling, Pelland, Vanasse, Johnson, Johnson, (the other Johnson) and others will be gunning for the 10K. Can Todd Annarummo become the first driver to win both the Open Wheel Wednesday and the Pro Stock/SLM Nationals? Tune in and find out.
The INEX Legends will be racing, as well as the Pro4 Modifieds. It will be the Jim Darlington Memorial.
Oh, and don’t forget the Monster Trucks on Saturday.