SEEKONK, Mass. — Story by Race Chaser Online New England Correspondent Kyle Souza — Tracy Strohmier photo — From the days of old to the days of the present at Seekonk Speedway, the family name Casper has always been competing on the historic third-mile oval.
Back in the day it was Kenny Casper, winning races in the Sports Trucks and making a strong push to bring the racetrack to it’s highest level of excitement. Kenny has also been a part of both of his sons’ racing careers at Seekonk Speedway.
Kevin Casper is a former Sports Trucks champion in his own right and now competes in the Pro Stocks weekly on Saturday nights, sponsored by Phil’s Propane out of Tiverton, RI. Kevin fights hard every single week to run up front and has one career feature win to his credit in the Pro Stocks. He also has added some Late Models wins to his list in the past.
His brother Kyle Casper also competes full-time in the Pro Stocks at Seekonk and oddly enough is also a truck champion himself. Kyle won the Sports Trucks title back in 2002, before he decided to take a jump into the Late Models to see what was in store for him.
Kyle started his Late Model career in a family run No. 28, with equipment that wasn’t fully up to par. Despite the struggling equipment, Kyle fought hard every single week, looking to break through and almost did on multiple occasions. The night Kyle finally did win a Late Model race was the culmination of years of effort and may be a memory he will never forget. He held off some challenges from some of the best of the division at that time and scored his first victory of what was many to come in the class that chilly night.
Everyone around the pit area for years had said, “Get that kid some good equipment and watch and learn.” It seemed like after that first win and some other solid runs along with it, Kyle found himself in the pool of drivers slated to drive John Hayes’ #7 Late Model. The ride had already had multiple different drivers that season — Ray Alexander and Rey Negely, to name a few. Ultimately, Kyle found himself jumping into the seat of the Hayes ride late in the 2007 season.
Things just took off from there.
Kyle got behind the wheel of the No. 7 and to no one’s surprise, rolled into Victory Lane in his first night behind the wheel. Kyle was amazed, as were his crew and fans, that he could jump into this ride and sit on top so quickly. Luckily for him, he found his way to the top multiple more times in the car that season. He went on to win the DAV Fall Classic Late Model race that year, arguably the biggest race of the season for the class.
The 2008 season got off to a great note after an off-season rebuild, when Kyle grabbed the win on Seekonk opening night. He went on to win three times that season, including the first annual Dusty Young Memorial Classic race in June. He had built himself a solid championship lead as well, until one summer night that went downhill. Kyle had a mechanical issue while leading the race, forcing him to pull out and handing the title lead to Gerry DeGaspere Jr, who eventually went on to win the championship that season.
The 2009-2012 story of Kyle’s career saw him continue to run strong in the Late Model at times and also move up into the premier Pro Stock division at Seekonk, in combination with John Hayes and Kidd Motorsports. Kyle admits they struggled at first, but made some big gains as well and when the 2013 season came around the team was primed to grab a victory.
Kyle had two races that season where he should have won, but late cautions flew and allowed others to slide around the inside, leaving him stuck in second. Those defeats have arguably shaped the current success of the star driver.
The 2014 season started off with much of the same, with Casper leading on lap 35 during the May 17th event when a caution flew. Four restarts ensued on that lap before Casper was passed by Dave Darling late, forced to finish second.
So now you know the background about Kyle Casper, but what’s the point today?
Despite strong runs and close calls, Kyle still is looking for that first career Pro Stock win at Seekonk. Everyone on the team has been fighting hard for years and when that win does come, there will be no one in the pit area that will be disappointed for one of the legendary families of the Seekonk Speedway.
Kyle runs on a lower budget team, but that team has finished in the top five multiple times this seasons and has become a front-running car whenever it rolls into the pit area.
The team is one of the only with an open trailer there; they take no shame in that, and the put together pit box is a hassle just to get off the truck sometimes. However, none of that takes away from the hard fought energy Kyle and the crew put in every week.
George, Sandi, GT and the rest of the gang fight hard alongside of their driver, all in hope that win will come soon.
So for the rest of this season at Seekonk, keep an eye on the No. 7. Yes, Casper is a historic track family name, but beyond that they are some of the best people in the paddock area.
When that win comes, it will be long overdue and well-deserved.