In the first month and a half of racing action at Seekonk Speedway, fans have been treated to thrilling battles in the Late Models, consolation qualifying races in the Sport 4’s, three and even four-wide racing in the Sportsman, and much more.
Three Fast Friday races are in the books, while NASCAR Saturday night has taken the green flag five times. In weeks where both nights are racing, over 160 cars have appeared on the pit area on a weekly basis. Those car counts are not only some of the best Seekonk has seen since the formation of the Fast Friday series, but. also include an increase for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions.
An average of just over 70 cars are competing in NWAAS action each Saturday, and an average of just over 90 cars compete on Friday.
The Late Models, formed under the ACT Tour rules package with a few Seekonk tweaks, continue to put on some of the best stock car racing in New England. Over the first five weeks, fans have been treated to multiple races that doesn’t have a victor decided until the final few corners. It was rising stars Derek Gluchacki and Tom “The Bomb” Adams who duked it out side-by-side, throwing crossover moves on each other before Adams came out victorious. Then, it was two racing veterans — Mark Jension and Bobby Tripp — who were throwing down for the victory in the final seven laps of the most recent feature. Jension came out on top that night, and leads a list of five different winners in the first five events.
In the Pro Stocks, although David Darling has been able to take the checkered flag in three of the first four races, he isn’t doing it without a struggle. Darling starts the deep in the field each week, and has to maneuver his way to the front through multiple veteran contenders. Last week, it was Mike Brightman who led the first 53 laps in the Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Series opener, before Darling took control. With 15 Pro Stocks entering the pit area each week, the new rules package is showing a bit of an increase in car counts.
The Helger’s Southcoast Power Equipment Sportsman class continues to see three and four-wide racing on a regular basis. Steve Axon has bested an average of 22 cars twice now, taking two wins in the first five. But, three others — Scott Bruneau, Kyle Casper and Chad Baxter have also been to Victory Lane. New names rising to the front this year include Chad Baxter, Adam Pettey, and points leader Tyler Lalier, the son of defending champion Paul Lallier.
And in the Seekonk Sports Trucks, an average of 16 trucks, up from this point last year, are competing each week with another mix of veterans and rookie contenders. Barry Shaw Jr., a veteran, has a victory and the early lead in the standings, while four rookies — Richie Murray (2nd), Mikey Cooper (5th), Mike Belanger (8th) and Connor Souza (9th) are all inside the top 10 in the point standings. Cooper picked up his first truck win earlier in the year, while Belanger, a former Sport 4 champion, is having some fun competing for Dave Simpson. Murray, a winner in the Sport 4 class last year, and Souza, a competitor in both the Trucks and Legends Cars, are trying to capture their own checkered flags. All four rookie contenders graduated from the Fast Friday series.
That Fast Friday night is off to one of the best starts in recent memory. When the Sport 4 division first started, it was one car, driven by Taylor Therrien (now Pelletier), who competed by herself each week. Now, we are holding consolation races for the class. In the first three weeks, there were so many cars in the pit area that we had to send some of them home. With about 30 cars unloading, and only 26 scheduled to start, the competition is at an all-time high. On top of the strong car count, Jordan Lopes has opened with two victories in three races, while Arthur Meack picked up his first career win in the second race.
The Seekonk Grand Prix Bandolero division continues to grow. As Seekonk continues to showcase the youth racing New England offers, an average of 24 cars are competing combined between the Bandit and Outlaw division. In a total of six races, we have seen four drivers take their first checkered flags. Seekonk’s Bandolero count is not only the highest in the three-year history at the third-mile, but it’s also one of the highest in all of New England.
The Pure Stock class continues to showcase some veterans against some rising rookie contenders, with an average of 19 cars appearing each week. There have been three different winners in three weeks, and Doug Benoit, the defending champion, hasn’t even carried the checkered flag yet. Amy Arsenault, Len Sousa and Mike Henriques all had won before, but are back in prime form with trophies so far. Greg Perry is off to the strongest start, leading the point standings.
In the Nick’s Pit Stop Legends, three different feature winners have graced Victory Lane, beating out fields that average 20 cars or more. Drivers incoming from all across New England have been strong, but after three races, Josh Parsons, who finished second in the title chase last year, is out to the early lead. Names like Nikolas Frechette, Connor Souza and Isaiah Newcomb are just a few drivers who have competed in the Legends after making the move from the youth racing program.
Seekonk’s 2019 season continues this weekend, with two more nights of action-packed racing. It all begins on Friday, with round one of the Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Series for the Pure Stocks. On Saturday, the Seekonk Sport Trucks take center stage with their second race in the Phil’s Triple Crown Series.