MANUEL MAKES IT FOUR IN SPORT 4
BY SOUZA MEDIA
SEEKONK, Mass. — AJ Manuel is making a habit of visiting Victory Lane. The driver of the No. 88 in the Sport 4 division, a former champion, now has four victories in four races during the 2020 season. However, Friday night’s final round of the Everett’s Auto Parts Diamond Dash wasn’t that easy.
The Seekonk Speedway Fast Friday season added another chapter to the books with the final round of the Everett’s Auto Parts Diamond Dash, with no fans in attendance and following protocols from the state of Massachusetts due to COVID-19.
Manuel started in the middle of the 16-car field, and it didn’t look like he was going to end up in the winner’s circle for much of the race. Former champion David Westgate, who led many laps a week prior, worked his way out front from the pole position and looked to be the dominant factor early. Westgate would lead the first 25 laps of the race, before Manuel took control.
Westgate held off the challenges of Henry Lavalle first, then had to deal with pressure from Tyler Almeida over a large portion of the second half of the race — but it was Manuel who decided to use the outside lane, while the leaders hit the bottom groove. Westgate was worried about Almeida, guarding the bottom, while Manuel passed Mikey Lefort, Lavalle and Almeida, then drove around Westgate coming to just four laps to go.
A quick caution slowed the race, but it wasn’t enough to steer Manuel away. Manuel scored the win over Almeida, Lefort, Karlin Levesque and Westgate. Crystal Murray was sixth, followed by Lavalle, Jack Dumas, Samantha Mattera and Jared Bigos.
Manuel swept all three races of the Everett’s Auto Parts Diamond Dash to pick up the victory.
The Sport 4’s are back in action next Friday night, September 18, with the first green flag going in the air at 7 p.m.