DAVID DARLING OPENS BID FOR EIGHTH PRO STOCK TITLE IN VICTORY LANE
BY ADAM BELUE
SEEKONK, Mass. — The new racing year kicked off with a very familiar start in the Pro Stock division on opening day at Seekonk Speedway, as Dave Darling took the first step in his quest for eight track championships with a victory on Sunday afternoon, May 2.
Darling, who won eight times in 2019 – including the season-opener – nearly saw his chance for another checkered flag thwarted by Mother Nature, as some unforeseen showers popped up prior to the final race of the afternoon. But, once the skies cleared after a brief delay, with a rainbow appearing over turn two, Darling wasted little time moving up from his starting position of fourth to the front, and was victorious in the opener of the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series season.
Bobby Pelland sat on the pole to begin the 45-lap feature, and battled with Mike Brightman for the top spot during the first few laps. Brightman was able to clear Pelland for the lead after three laps, with Darling peaking to the outside to pounce if Pelland gave even the slightest of openings early on. The top two continued to fight for positioning until both cars swapped paint, which hurt Pelland’s momentum and allowed Darling to take over the second spot.
Darling passed Brightman for the lead on lap 13 and never looked back, while Ryan Kuhn and Tom Scully Jr. began a march from their middle-of-the-pack starting spots to quickly move up the field. Kuhn made it past Brightman to claim second place with 18 laps remaining, and Scully Jr. progressed to third on lap 30, with his own pass of the No. 27 car.
Dylan Estrella and Kenny Spencer, who also started outside of the first four rows, claimed fourth and fifth respectively, with both putting in passes on Brightman within the final 10 laps of the race. Rick Martin finished sixth, followed by Ryan Vanasse – who finished second earlier in the day in the Late Model race – and Fred Astle. Pelland (ninth) and Brightman (tenth) were unable to finish off their great starts but did land in the top 10 in a race that saw zero cautions to close out the first event of the season at Seekonk Speedway.
The Pro Stocks return to action on Saturday, May 8, with a 40-lap feature as part of the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series. Due to limited capacity restrictions, advanced tickets will be on sale at seekonktickets.net on Tuesday, May 4 at 10AM.