SEEKONK, Mass. — Story by Race Chaser Online New England Correspondent Kyle Souza for Seekonk Speedway — Seekonk Speedway photo —
Two weeks down, many more to come.
The Seekonk Speedway, a third-mile oval in Seekonk, Mass., will be competing in week three NASCAR Whelen All American Series action on Saturday evening.
Through two weeks of racing action, eight different feature winners have sat in Everett’s Auto Parts Victory Lane and this weekend four more drivers could easily be added to the list.
This Saturday night, all military members will be given free admission to the track. It is also Youth Sports Night at the track, with anyone from their local team coming into the Speedway in uniform receiving free admission as well.
Below is a preview the NASCAR Whelen All American Series action on the track:
Weekend Preview: Pro Stocks
The premiere division since 1978 will be in week three action, with multiple faces possibly heading to the winners circle when the 40-lap feature event is over. In the first two weeks of the season, Tom Scully Jr. and David Darling have been crowned victors after thrilling races that saw limited amounts of caution flags. Both drivers are clearly threats to return to the throne again this week.
Angelo Belsito has been knocking on the door so far this season. Coming off a fourth and second place finish in the first two events, he seems to be the clear-cut favorite to rise to the occasion on Saturday. His R.J. Wood No. 8 Chevrolet has backing from Jeff Belyea, crew chief on the Pro All Star Series North Tour. The youngster, in his sophomore season in the Pro Stocks, passes cars on the outside arguably better then anyone else in the division — which is a tough task at the Cement Palace.
After a rough 2014, Flyin’ Freddy Astle has shown promise through two races. His No. 30 Everett’s Auto Parts Chevrolet has finished inside the top seven in both events and has been cutting through traffic extremely well. Astle, a former six-time track champion, could be on pace to breakthrough on Saturday — and history shows that once Astle grabs on victory, the rest fall into place in a hurry.
Former Late Model champion and Pro Stock front-runner Ryan Vanasse has been quiet through two events. The No. 11 Ocean State Oil machine started mid-pack in both of the races and finished there as well, sixth and eighth respectively. However, his consistency across the board in the past has put him in the championship fight at season’s end. Could his top ten finish streak continue on Saturday? Will he breakout to victory?
Another thing to keep an eye on will be if Kyle Casper can score his elusive first victory this weekend. After a fifth place finish on Opening Day and a solid run from the back of the pack to score a 10th place result last week, Casper has showed gains in the division. He rolls into his seventh season in the Pro Stock class, still searching for his first checkered flag — but do not let that fool you. Casper’s solid runs have shown he can compete with the best at the track and now, he is putting himself closer and closer to being a driver to watch for to charge through the field each Saturday.
Can someone else steal the glory? Will Mike Brightman sit back in Victory Lane? Can veteran Dick Houlihan take his Len Ellis Motorsports machine to the checkers first? Will Ryan Lineham put the Lindblad special at the top?
Weekend Preview: Late Models
Two races are down in the Late Model division and the car counts have been perfect so far. A full-field of Late Models on Opening Day was followed by 21 last Saturday, just three short of the cut-off.
So far, veteran experience has prevailed in a stout field of drivers. Ray Parent came touring to Seekonk for a one-time visit to score the season opening win, while Dylan Estrella returned to his winning ways in week two. Estrella has now scored a win in almost half of the division’s last 22 races, an amazing feat.
Vinny Arrenegado has been extremely solid behind the wheel of the No. 17 thus far. The Warren, R.I. driver has finished second and seventh in the first two events, but his lap times have been some of the best in the field. Arrenegado clearly made solid gains in the off-season and is putting his car in the right position for solid finishes. A break-out victory could just be right around the corner.
Gerry DeGaspere Jr. has been solid in his own right thus far, but a win could go a long way for the former champion’s team. DeGaspere Jr. was strong early on last season, but an array of problems in the second half slowed his momentum down. His No. 71 ride is always a threat towards the end of a feature event and he moves through traffic better than anyone else in the class.
The old veteran Charlie Rose has been extremely solid so far. His No. 7 machine was breathing down the back bumper of Dylan Estrella in the fight for the checkered flag last week, so he will be forced to come from mid-pack. However Rose, a former Pro Stock front-runner, has set some of the fastest times so far in the class. He too is sitting on the cusp of a victory.
Can Bill Bernard put his red and white No. 47 on top? Can defending champion Bobby Pelland III soar to the top?
Weekend Preview: Street Stocks
The Street Stocks had a rough go of things last Saturday night. Multiple cautions and crashes in the second half of the feature event sent some cars home damaged, but the action all around the track has been some of the best we have seen in recent years.
Ray Lovelace has had an up and down two weeks in the track’s most exciting division week in and week out. Lovelace, the defending track champion, failed post-race technical inspection after finishing second on Opening Day, but came back strong in week two. A late-race move to the inside put him in the top three on a final restart, one in which he came home second at the checkers. How long is it before he rolls into Victory Lane?
Both Paul and Tyler Lallier, father and son, have both been two of the fastest cars in the class this season. The new look colors on both of the family-owned Street Stocks are just as sharp as anyone else on the track. Both drivers have been fast off the truck so far and have been threats to score wins. Will a family one-two finish be in store this weekend?
Steve Potter came away the victor on Opening Day and was in prime position to do it again on Saturday, until an incident with two laps to go sent him to the tail end. Even though Potter came back to finish 10th, he was clearly upset post-race.
On the good side, his No. 31 Street Stock has been the fastest car on the track thus far. His lap times are some of the most consistent in which the track has ever seen in the division. Potter will surely be a front-runner this weekend.
Does anyone else step to the top? Can Corey Fanning storm to victory? Will a rookie contender carry the trophy?
Weekend Preview: Sports Trucks
The Seekonk Sports Trucks have been through two races that saw two familiar faces sit in Victory Lane. In week one, multi-time track champion Mike Cavallaro carried the checkered flag after a hard-fought 25-lap event. In week two, defending champion Rob Murphy pulled away from all challengers to grab the win.
Could Mike “Showtime” Duarte be next up on top of the podium? Duarte has been extremely fast in the first two weeks of the season, clicking off lap times better than anyone else at the track in the division. But, he has had two mechanical problems that have forced him out of the events — even while he was running inside the top five. With help from veteran crew chief George Tourgee, Duarte has showed multiple gains from last season. He is on pace to score victory.
What about former champion John Paiva? Paiva has finished in the top-five in both feature races so far and is always a threat. The driver of the Frank Sousa owned No. 21 has been one of the fastest trucks in the division in past five seasons. His determination on the track will have him sitting in Everett’s Auto Parts Victory Lane before long.
What about Rookie contenders? Can Lenny Guy sit in glory? Chase Belcher?
The storylines are set. It’s time to roll for the third time in 2015.