SEEKONK, Mass. — One year ago, Derek Griffith came a mere few inches away from winning the inaugural Super Late Model Nationals at Seekonk Speedway. When contact between Griffith and Dalton Sargeant got both of them sideways, Griffith went spinning across the line and Tom Scully Jr. passed him en route to the win.
Even though that was disappointing for the Hudson, New Hampshire driver, he knew one thing. He had a stout car on the third-mile that night and when he would return looking for the trophy, his car would be there. Wednesday night, it was there for him. Griffith used a late pass of Eddie MacDonald to rocket his way to the $10,000 check behind the wheel of his LCM Motorsports No. 12. The victory was his second career at Seekonk, with the other coming in last year’s DAV Fall Classic 150 — which was a $5,000 payday. This 200 lap main event brought a $10,000 check with it instead.
“He (MacDonald) was slowing down so much in the corner, so I knew if I could get a nose up under him I could probably pass him,” Griffth said. “Eddie and Joey (Pole) were battling hard. I just saw my opportunity and I took it. My guys busted there buts today. I’m just so happy to make this happen after what happened to me last year.”
The 200 lap distance was split up into two segments, with the first 100 starting things off just after 7:30 p.m. At the start, Joey Pole found himself setting the pace, one year after almost winning the race. Pole was leading the 2016 event with just over 10 laps to go when the car caught on fire and ended his chances. Wednesday, Pole was looking for revenge. He captured the lead early in the first segment and never looked back in route to the easy victory.
Unfortunately for Pole, the first segment didn’t pay the big cash. When the officials decided they were going to invert five cars, Reid Lanpher found himself in prime position as the race leader to begin the second segment. At green, Lanpher was impressive and pulled away from some of the top challengers. He was at the point all the way until lap 173 and during his time out front, Lanpher saw it almost all go away. While leading the race, Lanpher was right behind Mike Brightman and Ryan Vanasse, two lapped cars at the time. When they both spun, Lanpher just was able to slide by without disaster.
But the incident affected his car enough to give Pole the lead on lap 174, with MacDonald following him through. While those two battled for the lead, Griffith found himself in the right position at the right time. With some car left, Griffith worked by Pole and then used the move by MacDonald at lap 185 to put himself at the front of the pack. The LCM Motorsports driver was able to pull away in the final stages in route to the payday at the third-mile oval.
In the final laps, Garrett Hall used some fresh rubber to work his way through the field and finish second. Derek Ramstrom, who also pitted late in the race, came home third with a flat tire at the checkered flag. Luckily, it made it the final few laps and allowed him to capture a podium run. MacDonald finished fourth, while David Darling rounded out the top five.
Positions six through 10 went to Travis Benjamin, Mike Brightman, Joey Pole, Reid Lanpher and Kyle Casper.
RESULTS: Derek Griffith, Garrett Hall, Derek Ramstrom, Eddie MacDonald, David Darling, Travis Benjamin, Mike Brightman, Joey Pole, Reid Lanpher, Kyle Casper, Bobby Pelland III, Woody Pitkat, Cole Littlewood, Ryan Vanasse, Joseph Graf, Raphael Lessard, Tom Scully Jr., Kevin Folan, Steve Pailler, Devin O’Connell, Joey Mooch
EDITOR’S NOTE: *This story was first published in Area Auto Racing News*