SEASON PREVIEW: Fanning Looks For Repeat in Stout Sportsman Field

By Souza Media/Kyle Souza

From the top to the bottom, the Helger’s Southcoast Power Equipment Sportsman division for 2021 at Seekonk Speedway has a lot to offer. Three-wide racing is the normal, drivers are trading paint on a weekly basis, and many find themselves holding the checkered flag just once or twice, as the winning pot is spread throughout the field.

There is no reason to think 2021 will be any different. Corey Fanning, who earned his first championship in 2019, is the odds-on favorite to get the job done again. His consistency near the front of the field and the speed under the hood mixed well together. He picked up Everett’s Auto Parts as a sponsor, and rolled straight to the title. Don’t expect him to slow down.

Are there contenders to possibly take him off the top? Plenty. Former champion Sparky Arsenault would be a good start. Throw Adam Petty, Colby Lambert and Craig Pianka into the mix and it has the chance to be quite the battle. And, there are two Serydynski names registered looking to possibly get back to Victory Lane: Scott and Crystal. Scott currently sits as the all-time Sportsman wins leader at Seekonk.

Even Steve Axon, who ended up running full-time in 2019, is no stranger to success. He’s been winning races in the Sportsman for years, and should be back as a threat in 2021. Sparky Arsenault might have a bit of a new energy behind him coming into a new year. He’s been around a while, but still proves he can get it done at a high level.

Petty, who comes from a family with a strong racing background, competed to an eighth-place points finish in 2019, and gained crucial experience he can use in 2021 with a refreshed ride. Craig Pianka, who took the second-half of 2019 off, is coming back looking for more in a division where he is used to running in the top 10. Pianka could easily rocket into championship contention.

The registered drivers list, which approaches 50 competitors, includes a mix of additional veterans, newcomers and rising stars. Names like Ed Perry, Chris Rioux, Gil Bradstreet, Don Perry, Mike Teague, Paul Williams, Joe Kohler, David Garago Jr., Ed Holewiak and more are registered. Add Joe Melberg, Adam Giacomozzi, Matthew Desnoyers, Jay Steely, Randy Moretti, rookie Cody Tripp and more and you have a stout list.

The Sportsman season will include the return of the Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Series, a three-race series with extra laps and cash on the line, and its own champion, along with a special non-points, 50-lap feature as part of the inaugural Bay State Classic on Wednesday, July 28. The Power 5 series also returns, sponsored by Helger’s South Coast Power Equipment, with five, 30-lap races on the schedule.

Seekonk’s 75th anniversary season of racing is scheduled to kick-off on Sunday May 2, under capacity restrictions due to COVID-19. For more information on Seekonk Speedway, visit seekonkspeedway.com and follow the track on social media channels.