SEEKONK, Mass. — Preview by Race Chaser Online New England Correspondent Kyle Souza for Seekonk Speedway — Seekonk Speedway photo —
The Sports Truck division at the 1/3 mile Seekonk Speedway has continued to provide a mix of rookies and veterans battling against each other — and the 2016 season should be no different.
The defending champion, Chase Belcher, will return for this year and look to defend his crown behind the wheel of the No. 81 truck. Belcher really came on during the second half of last season and beat out Rob Murphy to capture the championship crown. Murphy will not be competing this year in the division, so Belcher goes into the year the favorite.
In behind Belcher is the five-time champion and Sports Trucks veteran Mike Cavallaro, who will be back behind the wheel of his No. 80. Cavallaro comes into the year in the top-10 on the track all-time wins list and should continue to climb up the ladder in 2016. His veteran driving experience behind the wheel of his truck for more than a decade will show on the track.
Mike “Showtime” Duarte will return to the Sports Truck division this year and he is definitely one to watch. Duarte scored a few victories last year behind the wheel of the No. 50 and is now more experienced than he has ever been.
Veteran of New Bedford, Mass., Lenny Guy, has also been behind the wheel in the Sports Trucks for a decade. Guy’s experience is top-notch, but he has struggled with the handles on his No. 77 in the past two seasons. Can he continue to use his experience to get the handling of his truck better and grab a few feature victories?
What about returning names like former Sport 4 division winner Shawn DeMello and former Pure Stock champion John Robidoux? Both drivers have some experience in the Sports Trucks after last year and are no strangers to Everett’s Auto Parts victory lane. They should be fighting for glory up front this year.
Coming off his D.A.V. season finale victory, Joe Fortin Jr. has filed an entry driving car No. 12. He is riding momentum going into this year and after finishing the season with a win, he showed his strength. Look for him to ride up front and compete with the veterans of the class.
Veteran Darryl Church will return, as will Dan Johnson and Ed Perry. Rookies Cole Jackson and Josh Hedges will have their maiden voyage in 2016.
The action in the Sports Trucks at the end of 2016 was some of the most intense of all of the Seekonk divisions. The mix of rookie and veteran talent provides the fans with a flash into the past and a look into the future at the same time. Who will bet against the veterans like Belcher and Cavallaro? Who will shine as the sophomore and rookie contenders?
The Sports Trucks join the Pro Stocks, Late Models and Street Stocks as part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series in 2016. All the action begins at 1 p.m. on Sunday May 1.
CREDIT: Seekonk Speedway