SEEKONK, Mass. — Story by Race Chaser Online New England Correspondent Kyle Souza — Seekonk Speedway photo —
For the tenth time in Seekonk Speedway history, the Action Track of the East opened for mid-week racing — open wheel style — on Wednesday, July 23, 2014.
The stage was set with a purse of over $30,000 up on the line for the whole field and $10,000 ready to be handed to the winner of the feature. When the back pit gates opened up that day, 42 of New England’s best modified gladiators packed the paddock area.
When the first cars hit the third-mile oval, it was a hometown boy who stole the show. Local Swansea, Massachusetts driver Todd Annarummo rolled from third spot but quickly grabbed the lead after polesitter Andy Jankowiak was sent to the rear for jumping the original start. He would go on to lead the duration of his heat race.
Young gun Tommy Barrett Jr., NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour star Woody Pitkat and “Big Money” Matt Hirschman also scored wins in their respective 12-lap heat races on the night. Since five cars qualified from each heat, 20 cars were officially locked in headed into the consi races.
Local Seekonk regular Branden Dion shocked the track in consi number one by scoring the win over Jankowiak, and former Valenti Modified Racing Series champion Jon McKennedy drove from his pole starting spot to capture the checkers in the second consi.
The last chance race came down to a thrilling battle between SK regular Matt Galko and longtime Seekonk Pro Stock veteran Dick Houlihan, one in which Galko made a crossover move coming to the white flag and notched the win in style. That set the stage with 24 cars and 100 laps to come.
The feature event started with Annarummo and Barrett on the front row after winning their respective heat races earlier on in the night. Annarummo is a well-known Seekonk driver and knows the track like the back of his hand. He went on to hold the lead with Barrett second for the first quarter of the event.
The first caution flag on the night flew at lap 20, when B-Main winner Matt Galko got collected with Karl Fredrickson and spun on the backstretch. The caution allowed drivers towards the back to pit and get changes to their ride.
The next two-thirds of the race was much of the same story. Both Annarummo and Barrett swapped the lead back and forth multiple times in a game of cat and mouse. Who could save their tires the best for a run at the finish?
Just after the halfway point on lap 53, Andy Jankowiak went for a slide down off turn two and drew the second yellow flag. That allowed drivers to catch up to the top two and line up a battle to the finish.
After Annarummo lead laps 53-86, a move to the inside allowed Tommy Barrett Jr. to slide on by and take the point. He held off a hard charging Matt Hirschman to notch the $10,000 check and the third round of the Tri Track Open Modified Series.
After storming from the back to the front late, Jon McKennedy grabbed the Tri Track Open Series points championship.
Two support divisions also joined the action that night for the annual Boston Louie Memorial Classic NEMA Midget race. The NEMA Light portion saw P.J. Stergios charge and notch the win.
The NEMA Midget portion of the night’s action saw multi-time champion Randy Cabral notch another Seekonk Speedway victory, this time in a special event.
The 2015 edition of the Tri Track Open Modified Series will start at Lee USA Speedway on Sunday, May 17. It will continue at Monadnock Speedway on June 13 and conclude right back at Seekonk Speedway on Wednesday, July 1.