SEEKONK, Mass. — Column by Race Chaser Online New England Correspondent Kyle Souza — Seekonk Speedway photo —
Winter is going away in New England and the sunshine and warmer temperatures are right around the corner.
With that will come the opening of Seekonk Speedway, a NASCAR Home Track on the coast of Massachusetts that is going into their 71st season of racing. In my opinion, with the way the schedule is shaping up, it will be one of the track’s best years yet.
Seekonk will open the season on Sunday, May 1 with the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series’ four divisions — going at it for glory in front of what surely will be a packed house. The winter will be gone and the fans will be itching to get back to the track and I think the drivers will put on some great racing right from the start. Watch those Pro Stock drivers tangle especially. They always put on some side-by-side racing on Opening Day and normally, a veteran pulls out the victory.
Regular Saturday night shows will be the order of business in May, including special events like Little League night on May 7, where the baseball players across the area will join together in uniform to watch some exciting battles. Don’t forget that on Saturday May 21, Seekonk will induct Dave Humphrey and Leo Cleary into the WPRO Wall of Fame. That honor will be one those two former drivers remember and treasure for the rest of their lives.
May will end with the annual Memorial Day Thrill Show, which should surely give the fans something to scream about. If you haven’t been to one of the Thrill Shows at Seekonk, you’re missing out. Whether it be the Spectator Drags or the Enduro cars beating and banging around the third-mile oval, the excitment is something you can’t miss.
June will see the start of the “Fast Friday” series where the younger talent is showcased, starting at age 10. The Seekonk Youth Racing Association (SYRA) will have their weekly battles as the children behind the wheel look to gain experience and move up the latter. That series starts Friday, June 3 and will run all the way through the middle of September. The Sport 4, Pure Stocks and Nick’s Pit Stop Legends classes will also contest weekly battles. Those divisions especially provide fans with a mix of younger and older talent.
June 4 will see the return of the Valenti Modified Racing Series (VMRS) to Seekonk, as those drivers will pound the ground with hopes of scoring the checkered flag. When they come to town, it’s hard to bet against local favorite Todd Annarummo, but there are so many talented drivers that will be right with him. That will be their only appearance of 2016 at the ‘Action Track of the East’.
June is also going to be the true full-time start of the Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Series. That’s a three-race series where each division will have extra distance and double championship points up on the line. The double points can either make or break a drivers title hopes, but it creates a TON of excitment for the fans. Those guys give everything they have in the extra distance affairs in hope for glory, especially since the track will crown a Phil’s champion in each division at years end.
A special 75 lap Pro Stock race on Saturday, June 18 will be the Brad Scott Memorial. That race has always been a thriller and it remembers a late great who touched a lot of people in the paddock area. After 75 laps of Super Late Model action at Seekonk, the winner deserves the trophy.
On Wednesday, June 29, Seekonk will end the month with a bang with the annual “Open Wheel Wednesday” spectacular headlined by the NorthEast Race Cars Tri Track Open Modified Series. That 100 lap, $10,000 to win feature will showcase top modified talents from across the East Coast and all of the racing divisions. Don’t forget that the NEMA Midgets and NEMA Lites will also have their Boston Louie Seymour Memorial 29 lap races that night. Those guys put it all on the line in a small cockpit winged midget — they are true warriors.
The second Thrill Show of the year will happen on July 2, meaning there will be no Friday or Saturday night racing that week. That’ll be a great chance for drivers to work on their cars for the second half of the season and reset before going back to work behind the wheel. I’d have to say July will be the most packed month for a racing fan this year.
On Wednesday July 13, the U.S. National Pro Stock Championship race will happen. 200 laps, yes, 200 laps will happen around the Seekonk Speedway for the Super Late Model drivers with $10,000 up for grabs for the winner. Invaders from the Pro All Star Series (PASS) will likely come down to Seekonk and see if they can tangle with the weekly regulars. Could a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular even make the trip? (cough, cough, Kyle Busch…) Those guys will be in New Hampshire that same week, so it is possible.
Not only will the Pro Stocks take center stage that week, but so will the Late Models as part of the American Canadian Tour (ACT) 150 on July 16. That Saturday night event will also showcase invading drivers against the track regulars that pretty much have the setup down. Can a regular Seekonk driver show the invaders how it’s done?
August will include a few special events, like the finale of the Phi’s Propane Triple Crown Series for each of the Seekonk divisions. Don’t forget that the Crab Manchester Memorial Late Model 50 lap feature will also happen in August. “Crabs” was a former crew member on Bill Bernard’s No. 47 Late Model and the event has had a ton of anticipation around it for the past few years.
September is the month where the long-awaited return of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour happens for the venerable track. Names like Doug Coby, Bobby Santos and Justin Bonsignore will battle it out for points in one of the final five races in the tour’s season. Eric Beers won the last time the tour invaded the oval, but this time a battle of young talent versus those veterans will be staged.
The points championship will wrap up in Sept. with the Fast Friday divisions concluding their season on Sept. 23 and the Saturday divisions the night after, Sept. 24. It’s a true honor to be a track champion at Seekonk because of the storied history the track has, but also because one has their name etched in the history books of NASCAR as a Whelen All-American Series champion.
The season doesn’t end there though. The final event for racing in 2016 will be the annual D.A.V. Fall Classic, a race remembering the founder of the track, D. Anthony Vendetti. Friday Sept. 30 will see the conclusion of the Fast Friday season, while Oct. 1 will be headlined by a $10,00to win Pro Stock special with open rules. The Late Models, Street Stocks and Sports Trucks will also all be in action to conclude the season.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, this season is sure to be thrilling at Seekonk.
The return of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is definitely on everyone’s mind as the year approaches, but so is that incredible stretch in July. A Pro Stock National Championship race and the ACT Tour all in the same week? Count me in!
Not only that, but the Fast Friday series truly does create a fan friendly and children friendly environment. Walking around the stands on a Friday and watching the kids play with their toy cars and watch some children close to their age compete on track is really something.
The weekly drivers at Seekonk, as every other track in the country, put a lot of effort into their cars and the crews work extremely hard each week to prepare the rides. This season should be a great battle of some of the veterans in the Pro Stock division like Fred Astle and David Darling against some of those youngsters like defending champion Angelo Belsito and Nick Lascuola.
I only touched on some of the events for this year, believe it or not.
If you’d like to see the entire schedule for 2016, click here.
See you at the track, race fans! Buckle up for what should be an intense year at Seekonk Speedway.
The opinions expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Race Chaser Online, Speed77 Radio, the Performance Motorsports Network, their sponsors or other contributors.
About the Writer
Kyle Souza is an aspiring Journalism major at the Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. Souza is Race Chaser Online’s New England motorsports insider, covering everything from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to the NASCAR Whelen All American Series and the PASS North Super Late Models.
When not writing, Souza works at the Seekonk Speedway as the track’s Friday night public address announcer and press writer, and is also the Media Director for both the Granite State Pro Stock Series and the Tri Track Open Modified Series.
Email Kyle at: [email protected]
Follow on Twitter: @Kouza34
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