Mikey Lefort, AJ Manuel and Jordan Lopes went into the 2019 Sport 4 finale nearly locked even on top of the championship standings. In the end, Lefort, a native of West Warwick, Rhode Island, edged out front in a tie with Manuel and earned his first crown. Now, with COVID shortening the 2020 Fast Friday season at Seekonk Speedway, Lefort will look to become just the second back-to-back champion in the history of the division. The only driver to win two straight was Devin Miranda in ’13 and ’14.

The Sport 4 division has continuously grown over the years, starting with just a handful of cars, and jumping to its largest car count ever last year, with more than 30 showing up at the beginning of the season. It’s likely the start of this year will include a consi race before the feature, where drivers will need to work their way into the field.

Lefort is just one of many drivers who are going to be in contention for the championship in the scheduled 14-race series. Though it looks like his challengers could be a bit different this time. Manuel, who came up short in the tie last year, is registered for the season, but isn’t necessarily planning to compete in all races, which would take him from title contention. Unless something changes, he will be out there chasing wins when he shows up — not points.

Former champion David Westgate, who has two of his own titles in ’15 & ’17, is going to be a major threat. Even in the years Westgate won the championship, he doesn’t always win a large chunk of races, but he has the consistency at the front of the field to show the way to the points title. The Taunton, Massachusetts, driver is one of the longest tenured drivers in the division.

The next four drivers on the obvious list of favorites are Tyler Almeida, Sam Mattera, Karlin Levesque and David Simpson Jr.. All have shown they can consistently run up front, but, are they ready to become title contenders? Almeida has been through a large amount of pre-season testing, so he is sure to be ready once the green flag drops. Mattera, who did attend some pre-season testing as well, earned her breakthrough first career win last year, one of the most popular wins in recent memory.

Levesque, who has been strong in pre-season testing, is another driver who has proven he can get to Victory Lane and have consistency. He’s been running with Seekonk’s group of virtual racers over the winter, keeping his mental head in the racing game. Back on the track, look for the red No. 44 to be one of the major challengers come time to crown a champion. Simpson, who is following in the footsteps of his father, who moved up to the Sport Trucks, has shown he can have speed, and should be a contender for wins this season.

Taylor Bowser, a former winner in the Seekonk Youth Racing Association, had taken a few years off from racing, but is returning with a fire in 2020, moving to the Sport 4 class. The Taunton, Massachusetts, native comes from a deep racing family where at least two others have been in competition. Crystal Murray, who also comes from a family with deep racing roots, is back for another season on Friday night. Murray, who has a brother, Richie, who earned the Sport Truck championship last year, might not be able to compete for the championship. She will be heading back to college in late August, and could miss a handful of races to end the year, but it’s still not quite clear. No matter what, she’ll be looking for wins.

Some others expected to compete in 2020 include Jaden Hamilton, a rookie contender, Dave Pitassi, Sabinra Beaulieu, Tyler Duhancik, Christine Cavallaro, Henry Lavallee and more.

The 2020 Fast Friday season begins on Friday, July 10, and rolls through Friday, October 9, with no breaks throughout the summer to get the most of the 2020 season. The season has been delayed over one month due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Seekonk Speedway has put together a strict list of protocols and procedures for Fast Friday to keep all patrons safe. Although grandstands will be closed to start the season, the track hopes to open them for the great fans of Seekonk in the near future.

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