On October 8th, the green flag unfurled for the twentieth annual DAV Fall Classic at the “Action Track of the East,” Seekonk Speedway. In the feature portion of the opening day, the Seekonk Youth Racing Association 600 and 750 classes took to the track accompanied by the Sport Fours, NEMA Lites, and Pure Stocks.
Following post-race inspection, Chase Belcher and Kaitlyn Donovan were awarded the SYRA victories after crossing the line finish line in second. Alan Leach notched his first career victory in his first race in the Sport Four division by leading the field from start to finish. Ian Cummings guided his NEMA Lite to the checkered flag for his first victory of the 2011 campaign in only his fourth start of the year. In the main event, pure stock veteran and two time champion Bill Chouinard picked up his first DAV Victory in the last race of his full time racing career.
First out of the tunnel was the SYRA 600 division for a twenty lap feature. Prior to the feature, Chase Belcher and Austin Blais scored wins in the eight lap heat races.
Early on, the yellow flag was displayed for an incident involving the #04 of series newcomer Josh Smith. Driving his first race of his career in Branden Dion’s old mini cup, Smith lost control and spun into the turn two grass on the second lap. Three laps later, another debut driver brought out the yellow. This time, the culprit was the #25 of Madison Birchall, who spun exiting turn four on lap five. The ensuing restart was a clean one. Rookie Austin Blais jumped out to a fairly large lead over Shelby Donovan, but the lead wouldn’t last. With merely four laps to go, the #28 was ensnared by another lapped car tangle. Josh Smith attempted to clear the racing line after being given the passing flag, but the car snapped out of control and into Blais, spinning both cars around and bumping the leader to the tail end of the field. David Lougee took over the race lead in the #22 and led the field to the start finish line at the conclusion of the race. However, a technical violation resulted in the driver being stripped of the win. West Wareham, Massachusetts native Chase Belcher was awarded the victory.
In the sister division with more horsepower under the hood and more experience in the cockpit, the SYRA 750s, champion Branden Dion and runner up Nick Lascuola notched the heat race victories.
Dion started on the pole and led the opening lap. However, Waterford Speedbowl Legends rookie of the year and former two time SYRA 600 champion Nick Lascuola took the lead on the second lap. Dion quickly spiraled to fourth, passed by the #9 of Tylar Nailor and the #95 of Kaitlyn Donovan. Out front, the #33 of Lascuola circled the track and opened up a wide margin out front until the lead was negated by a caution on lap thirteen involving Dion and Donovan in the battle for third. While racing side by side, the two mini cups got together and spun exiting turn four. After one lap was completed, the #87 of Christine Cavallaro, daughter of Sport Truck champion Mike Cavallaro, spun in the second turn to unfurl the yellow flag once more. On the restart, Lascuola pulled away from the pack once again to take the checkered flag. However, a post-race complication pulled the Abington native from the top spot. Kaitlyn Donovan of Waterford, Connecticut, inherited the race victory.
The Sport Four division was led by another rookie. Alan Leach has been connected to the Seekonk Speedway through other drivers, but he stepped behind the wheel of a car for the first time on DAV Weekend. He picked up the victory in his heat race and started on the pole for the twenty lap feature.
Leach immediately created space between himself and the rest of the competitors from the drop of the green flag. As the rest of the field jockeyed for position behind him, Leach opened a gap which stretched to over three seconds. Despite starting at the top of the starting grid, Michael Morin quickly descended to the back of the pack and eventually dipped behind the wall due to a mechanical issue. Rich Sprague brought out the first caution after he stalled his car in between turns one and two on lap fifteen. One lap following the restart, Ed Gould and Sprague made contact sending the #6 of Gould and the #10 of Sprague around into the front stretch grass. The caution light was illuminated after Sprague’s failure to restart the car. Alan Leach held his line at the bottom of the track once the green flag waved, holding on to lead the Sport Four feature start to finish and earn himself a spot in the DAV Victory Lane.
Following the Sport Fours were the NEMA Lites, serving as the co main event of the evening. Joey Mucciacciaro and Ian Cummings each eclipsed the one hundred miles per hour mark in their heat races, guiding the competitors to the checkered flag.
Former Seekonk Youth Racing Association veteran Carl Medieros Jr. and Bethany Stoehr comprised the front row. Medieros zipped out to the early lead, leading the opening four laps. On the fifth lap of the race, Ian Cummings darted to the outside in the #9 and stole the lead from the local favorite, accompanied by the #71 of Seth Carlson who moved into second. On the ninth lap, Anthony Marvuglio passed Brandon Igo to snatch the fifth spot. Five laps later Igo would move to the inside and take the final spot in the top five away from Marvuglio in a battle contested for nearly the entire duration of the race. Trouble struck the #50 of Medieros, forcing him to pull off the track with five to go. Out front, Cummings held on for his first DAV Fall Classic victory.
The Pure Stock division served as the nightcap for the opening day of the DAV, a pleasant but pressure filled deviation from their normal status as the main event on “Fast Fridays.” Dan Massa Jr. and champion Bill Chouinard picked up the victories in the heats.
Derek DeMoura led the opening lap of the twenty five lap feature, only to have the race lead stolen from him one lap later by Lou Robinson in the #87x, the car which usually serves as the backup for Jamie Salley. 2007 and 2011 Pure Stock champion Bill Chouinard quickly moved up to the top of the leaderboard on lap four, where he began to open up a gap on the rest of the field. Jesse Melberg started ninth, but quickly became the race’s biggest mover by slotting himself into the third position by lap six. By the halfway point, Salley’s #87 broke into the top five after completing the pass on the #81 of David Desrosiers. After twenty five laps, Bill Chouinard took the checkered flag for the first time at the DAV Fall Classic. After winning his second career championship, Chouinard plans to walk away from the driver’s seat to focus on his ten year old daughter Ava’s racing aspirations in the 2012 SYRA 600 division.