SEEKONK, Mass. — Preview by Race Chaser Online New England Correspondent Kyle Souza for Seekonk Speedway — Seekonk Speedway photo —
Late Model driver Dylan Estrella finished last season at the head table during the annual awards banquet. Not only did he celebrate his championship, but he also made a big sponsorship announcement for 2016 that night.
Estrella will lead the Late Model field into this season carrying the Everett’s Auto Parts white and green colors on his No. 46 machine. The car will still come out of the Bernard stable, but the new colors will provide Estrella with extra sponsorship backing of a company that is already well respected and has won Pro Stock races with Freddy Astle. There is no question that with his Everett’s Late Model, Estrella is the one to beat.
Though he hasn’t filed his entry forms yet, Bobby Pelland III is expected to compete in the Late Models this season, at least on a part-time basis. Pelland is a former champion and always is a threat each week. He chased Estrella to the checkers many times last season — but could chasing him last year help him defeat him this season?
Seven-time division champion Gerry DeGaspere Jr. will return this year behind the wheel of his familiar green and yellow No. 71. Who said that green wasn’t a lucky color at a race track? Gerry has won more races than anyone could believe and comes into this year searching more victories, but also an eighth championship.
Somerset, Mass. native Austin Blais comes into 2016 with some new colors after a top-five points finish in 2015. Blais ran consistently towards the front and was able to visit victory lane last year and now has even more experience behind the wheel. He should be able to tangle with Estrella, Pelland and the rest of the gang for the win each week and could collect enough points to win the title. This could be his final season since he will be going away to college next year — could he end with championship glory?
Vinny Arrenegado comes into this season riding momentum after the win in the 50 lap D.A.V. Fall Classic. Arrenegado also scored a victory in another 50 lap race in 2015, the Crab Manchester Memorial. His nack for 50 lap feature wins could come in handy, especially during the double points Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Series events.
Teammates Charlie Rose and Jeramee Lille come into 2015 after both finishing inside the top-1o in points last year. Both have years of experience in the division and often share setups and information to make sure one visits victory lane. Rose was in contention for the title last year and Lille was in victory lane — they should both be up front this year as well.
Names like second-year driver TJ Moreshead, Dan and Nick Johnson, defending Rookie of the Year Nick Uring and Curtis Rolando are also among those that will return this year. Two ladies in the field in 2016 will be Crystal Serydynski and Emily Sprague. Crystal has won Street Stock races while Sprague has been up front in the Fast Friday Sport 4 class before.
The 2016 Late Model season goes green on Sunday May 1, with the rest of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions. Don’t forget the Late Models will be allowed to compete when the American Canadian Tour comes to Seekonk on July 16 for a 150 lap feature.
CREDIT: Seekonk Speedway