2023 sport truck PREVIEW: Can Anyone Stop Rick Martin as Chaz Auto Body Sport Trucks Roll Into 2023?
Radical Rick Martin dominated the Chaz Auto Body Sport Trucks in 2022, and there’s not much other way to say it. Countless wins, dominating performances, top speed and more, Martin returned to the top of the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Division IV Seekonk Speedway class in style driving for Richie’s Insulation in his familiar No. 14.
Entering 2023, the real story in the Sport Trucks is – will anyone be able to knock him off the top? A few drivers come to the top of mind when looking at the list of registered contenders – Brittany Campbell, Mike Duarte, Jake Vanada, Amy Arsenault and Mike Cavallaro. All of these contenders are proven winners, and a few of them former champions. Let’s start there.
Cavallaro has seven championships, and would love to join Dave Darling as the only eight-time champion in the history of Seekonk Speedway. A midseason wreck in 2022 sidelined his normal Truck for part of the season and he struggled to get the backup ride exactly where he wanted it to be. Will 2023 bring a new push of speed for him? Duarte, who made the Final Four of the Sunoco Drive For The Cup last season, returns looking to get back there, but seal the deal. Duarte is often around the top-five at the end of Sport Truck action and should be for most of the events again in 2023. He’s a proven winner, and champion.
Campbell is another proven winner in the division. She’s driving the Watermark Electric No. 8 full speed into 2023 and will look to be a champion. She would become just the fourth female driver in the history of Seekonk Speedway to be crowned champion if she can accomplish the task, and she is expected to be a contender for that, and multiple feature wins along the way.
Amy Arsenault is right there with Campbell looking to park the No. 9 at the front. Arsenault, a former regular in the Fast Friday Pure Stocks, has multiple Sport Trucks wins already to her credit. She was also recently named to the Busch Light Accelerate Her Program in partnership with Woman in Motorsports North America, which only gives her additional confidence.
Jake Vanada, who missed a race and still made a run at the Sport Truck title last year, is returning to the Action Track of the East in 2023 with confidence booming. After the birth of his first child early in the offseason, and him grabbing a second Truck for the stable during the winter, look out for Vanada to come out of the gate strong after a top-five finish in the books already in Connecticut.
Tom Scully III, Bobby Tripp and Daryl Church also have to be considered. Scully improved consistently over last season, picking up his first career win in the No. 5, and cementing the Scully name even further in the track record books. With a year under his belt, can he improve to winning multiple events? Tripp, coming back to competition for 2023, will return to the Everett’s Auto Parts stable in the No. 88. He’s expected to win, and win often, when driving for that organization. He should surely make the playoffs and contend for the title. Church has been around the division for years, and went back to Victory Lane last year. Don’t count him out when you look at drivers who can win and contend for that championship.
One of the other major stories of the season? Jeff Belyea making his driving debut in the Chaz Auto Body Sport Trucks. As the mastermind behind the setup of eight-time track champion Dave Darling for multiple years, the GWD Motorsports team has registered a Sport Truck, with Jeff as the driver. As a crew chief now turning driver, will he have some learning to do out there on the track? Or will he catch on quick and contend for strong runs? It's going to be one of the top stories to watch in this class as 2023 kicks-off.
Ethan Heilborn improved through 2022 and returns for another year in 2023, while names like Richard Stockwell, Anatasia Lebrun, Danny Thibeault, Tim Bolger, Nick Mattera, and maybe even a returning John Pavia are ones to look at entering the season.
The Chaz Auto Body Sport Trucks will open their 2023 season on Sunday, May 7, as part of Seekonk Speedway’s 77th season opening weekend. On Saturday, May 6, the annual Car Show & Go returns to the Action Track of the East, while opening day roars the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series divisions to life at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 7. Tickets for opening day and all Seekonk Speedway 2023 events are available today at SeekonkSpeedway.com.
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