(May 31, 2013 by Kyle Souza) – Seekonk Speedway held their first Fast Friday Program of the season on Friday. Sunshine along with high humidity and hot temperatures made things a little difficult on the drivers as they attempted to start the year off with a good show for the fans.
The SYRA 600 class, mostly made up of rookies, put on an amazing race at the front of field. The first few restarts of the race were a bit tenuous as the young racers settled down and got used to the procedures. When it came down to the end a great battle ensued between Matt Barboza and Brett Meservey. Brett was winding up the outside lane for the better part of the event but could never clear for the advantage.
With five laps to go that changed as Meservey took the point by inches. It winded up coming down to a side-by-side battle, wheel to wheel up off turn four to the checkers!
When they hit the line, Barboza edged Meservey by inches to pick up his first win of the season. TJ Morsehead followed the two across the line in third, Doug Meservey Jr in fourth, and Shea Kulpa rounded out the top five.
The Sport 4 class just continues to grow larger and larger with more cars and improved excitement. Sixteen cars were on hand for the 20 lap feature on Friday night, when years ago the division had only one car.
Friday’s racing saw the CT drivers dominate most of the event. An incident early on sent two top competitors to the tail end of the field. Henry Lavallee made contact with Lenny Sousa who was in the lead at the time causing both to spin. Both cars were able to continue.
When things settled out for the final stretch run, Frank Shephard pulled away to a one-second advantage but lapped traffic brought the field back to him. Teammate Jeff Dombrowski closed the gap and was up to the bumper of the race leader when the twin sticks went up from the flag stand.
Slipping his way around a few lapped cars, Shephard hung on for his first win of the season and second career win at Seekonk. Dombrowski followed in second, DeMello in third, former SYRA champion Tyler Boudreau finished fourth, and Lenny Sousa came back to round out the top five.
The SYRA 750 class showed that even only seven cars could put on a very solid race. The ladies dominate the division, even though last night a gentleman showed the way around. Curtis Rolando jumped out front, and there was no looking back. He pulled away and had a two second lead at one point.
The battle for second was man v.s. woman with David Lougee and Taylor Bowser battling wheel to wheel for most of the event. Lougee wound up picking up the spot but with the race going green to checkers he had no chance to catch Rolando. Curtis took his first win of the season, followed by Lougee in second, Bowser, Christine Cavallaro, and Ashley Kuhn completed the top five.
The Nick’s Pit Stop Legends were also on hand for a 25-lap main event. It turned out to be another battle of the “Nicks” as Nick Ladyga and Nick Lascoula put on a show for the fans. They both went three-wide on the early start and Lascoula fought his way to the point. Ladyga settled in behind trying to size him up for the pass at just the right time.
Finally, lapped traffic gave Ladyga the chance to drive to the inside. He darted to the bottom, pinned Lascoula up high behind a lapped car and took the advantage. A late race caution gave Lascoula one more shot but it wasn’t enough. He was forced to settle for second as Ladyga picked up the win. Joey Parker finished third followed by Wisialko fourth, and Brandon Martinez rounding out the top five.
The Pure Stocks put on the best show of the night that included lots of side-by-side racing. Earl Curtin III started from the outside pole and when the green flag flew it was as if he were shot out of a cannon as he took the lead. Sideways for much of the night, Keri Lynn Manfredo backed up the field early on when she slipped up off turn four. She made a great save and was able to continue but only after much of the field snuck by.
Lapped traffic was once again a major factor in this portion of the evening. Curtin opened up a huge advantage as former winners such as Jesse Melberg and Chris Lima got stuck deep in the pack. Everything seemed to be going his way until the white flag went into the wind.
A late race caution for a spinning car set the stage for a green-white-checkered finish. With everything on the line and Lima and Melberg now breathing down his neck, the pressure was on Curtin. He found himself in the fast company of teammates but was able to hang on and pick up the victory. Melberg finished second, followed by Lima, Amy Arsenault, and Dave Derosiers.
Fast Friday action continues next Friday night with gates opening at 5 P.M, and racing starting at 7.
PHOTO: Seekonk Speedway