2021 moment NUMBER 1: Rick Martin scores 100th career win in August, making track history in dramatic finish with finishes within inches
NUMBER 1: Rick Martin scores 100th career win in August, making track history in dramatic finish with finishes within inches
Few words will describe the feeling at Seekonk Speedway on Saturday, August 7, 2021, when Radical Rick Martin edged Tom Scully Jr. by a literal three inches for his 100th career win. But, a few quick words do come to mind: improbable, unimaginable, epic, and flat phenomenal. That’s about all you can say.
It all started on May 12, 1979, when Martin went to Victory Lane for the first time at Seekonk in a Late Model. I can promise you that over 40 years later, Martin would have never imagined how the 40-lap Pro Stock feature would have ended to seal one of the biggest accomplishments of his entire life. And, one of the most historic nights in the 75-year history of Seekonk Speedway.
Martin took the lead and was driving away from the field inside the final 10 laps, but a caution slowed the action with just a few more circuits left to go. Martin restarted on the pole, and led the race rather easily until the white flag went in the air, when Scully used a tap to the back bumper to get underneath, and the battle was on over the final third-mile. When they raced down the backstretch, into turn three, Martin throttled up on the outside of Scully and rocketed off turn four. In the final 100 feet, it was like a race between two drag cars, just inches apart.
Martin edged Scully in one of the closest finishes in Seekonk history, and it went down as one of the most historic moments in track history. Yeah — a track that has been around since 1946 still has those moments you will never forget. Each and every one of the fans, teams, and staff of Seekonk Speedway will remember exactly where they were standing when everyone in the grandstands started screaming wildly as Rick Martin was officially declared the winner of his 100th race.
After crossing the line, while Martin’s emotions boiled over inside the car, he drove at full speed into turn three on the cool-down lap and nearly lost control of the car in excitement. When he parked at the start-finish line to accept the checkered flag from Tim Bolduc, Martin’s face was full of emotion — and his fans weren’t going anywhere until he climbed from the car and started the celebration. In what felt like the longest and most well-deserved victory lap of his career, which included a congratulations from his entire crew, which had walked onto the track, Martin finally stopped at the finish line and climbed from the car in front of hundreds of fans who were still left at the track screaming wildly.
The celebration — which lasted well over 30 minutes — was exactly what everyone dreamed it would be. But, I can promise you that NO ONE could have dreamed the way the race ended. With sparks flying and energy filling the grandstands, Martin’s victory will go down in the record books forever. The Westport, Massachusetts, native, a five-time Pro Stock champion, and former track title holder in the Sport Trucks, also has two championships at Thompson Speedway. He will forever go down as one of the top drivers at Seekonk Speedway.
It’s cliche, but it’s true: the blood, the sweat, and the tears that Martin has put into his cars over the years in the one stall garage in his own yard in Westport, Massachusetts finally paid off in the biggest way. It was all worth it. It will all forever be worth it. And without a laundry list of supporters, friends, family, sponsors, crew members and more, Martin wouldn’t have been able to do it. Now, the chase for 101 begins.
So, again: improbable, unimaginable, and flat phenomenal. That’s about all you can say. Congrats to Radical Rick on a truly special accomplishment.
2021 moment NUMBER 2: Seekonk Speedway faithful rallies behind Rich Helger; Amy Arsenault donates kidney to save his life
NUMBER 2: Seekonk Speedway faithful rallies behind Rich Helger; Amy Arsenault donates kidney to save his life
The Seekonk Speedway family came together in a big way this year. Before 2021 took the first green flag, Seekonk track sponsor Rich Helger (Helger’s South Coast Power Equipment) came to us looking for help. His kidney was failing, and he needed some help with a transplant to make sure he was able to take his next laps into the future and capture his own trophy of life.
Someone needed to Donate Life.
In the end, the community came together like never before. It was on the local NBC 10 Providence news station, just days after on the track Facebook page, Rich poured out his story in an Open Letter we will never forget. We spent most of the summer watching Rich and his son, Richie Helger Jr., race for the championship in the Seekonk Grand Prix Bandolero division. On the final night, they celebrated together with their family and friends in championship glory.
Then, just two short months after the season ended, it happened. Rich found a kidney donor, and no one could have ever imagined who it was: Seekonk Speedway Sport Truck driver Amy Arsenault. The two went in for surgery, completed it successfully, and now are well on their way to recovery.
In this moment, we are reminded how the community is truly a family. We may argue, we may disagree, and drivers may tangle on the track. But when it mattered most — to save a life — one of our own came forward with a checkered flag.
Do you want to donate life? Want to learn more about how you can help others and save their lives with a donation? Learn more at DonateLife.net & get the information you need to make a difference: https://www.donatelife.net.
2021 moment NUMBER 3: Seekonk Speedway reopens with fans, full capacity one year after being shut down due to COVID-19 pandemic
NUMBER 3: Seekonk Speedway reopens with fans, full capacity one year after being shut down due to COVID-19 pandemic
It’s number three in our top-10 countdown, but it would likely be number one for some of the Seekonk Speedway faithful. After dealing with limited races with no fans in 2020, Seekonk swung the gates open on a full capacity season in 2021, starting with a 100% capacity show to celebrate Memorial Day.
This one is short, and sweet in our countdown.
Welcome back, race fans. We missed you. A lot.
We missed the smell of burning rubber and fuel, the taste of chicken fingers and fries, and the screaming of fans when their favorite driver took the lead, or even the boo’s when the driver that won a race wasn’t your favorite.
The re-opening of the Speedway was a historic moment none of us will ever forget. It was like Christmas morning, just in May.
NUMBER 4: Dave Darling clinches 8th Seekonk Speedway championship
Dave Darling made history in 2021. Don’t let anyone sugarcoat it for you.
Darling was the dominant force again in the NASCAR Division I Pro Stocks, capturing the most wins in the division and rolling to another track title. But, this one was a historic mark in his career, and in the history of the track.
For the first time in 75 years of racing, someone clinched a championship for the eighth time at Seekonk. It had never been done before, and we can only predict if it will ever happen again. Talk about history. With all of the greats in the history of the track, only Darling was able to get to eight titles so far.
This season was another one to remember for Darling. Winning historic races, continuing his streak of top-five success, and celebrating with Jeff Belyea, Ronnie Pond and his entire team is nothing new. On the final night, after being collected in an early wreck, Darling finished eighth in the 40-lap feature, rolling to his eighth title.
It was the lucky number this year: 8.
Seekonk Speedway congratulates Dave Darling and his team on their historic mark this season & we look forward to seeing if he can continue to rewrite the record books again in 2022!
2021 moment NUMBER 5: Seekonk Speedway celebrates increased attendance, record car counts during return from COVID
NUMBER 5: Seekonk Speedway celebrates increased attendance, record car counts during return from COVID
It was a year we will never forget, for a ton of different reasons.
After shutting down the entire 2020 season due to COVID-19, Seekonk Speedway swung open the gates in a big way in 2021. It may have started with a limited capacity of fans due to the guidelines in place by the state, but by the end of the first month, the track was rocking with excitement and an unlimited number of fans slammed into the track at the end of May.
The first event truly “back" from COVID was the Memorial Day Thrill Show. Who will ever forget the amount of people and the energy that packed into the stadium that day for the big return? Even after the Thrill Show, our fans, teams, staff and everyone involved went to work for an incredible summer. We had weekly racing on Fast Friday and NASCAR Saturday, Thrill Shows, special events and more.
The car counts were up.
The grandstand counts were at incredible levels.
The sun was shining more often than not.
And the racing on the track — for all events — was something special to watch.
We can’t thank everyone enough for an incredible 2021. But, this is only number five in our top 10 countdown. That should show you something in itself. Some exciting moments still to come! We are halfway through the top-10.
Do you have any guesses for the top four?
2021 moment NUMBER 6: Chad Baxter demolishes Sportsman field, rolls to track title & NASCAR Division III National Championship
NUMBER 6: Chad Baxter demolishes Sportsman field, rolls to track title & NASCAR Division III National Championship
It will go down as one of the most dominating seasons in Seekonk Speedway track history. In 2021, Chad Baxter was the man in the Helger’s South Coast Power Equipment Sportsman, and his championship run at the track also meant a lot more at a higher-level.
With more than a handful of wins, Baxter drove away from a competitive field to capture his first track title driving for Richard Sprague. Winning a track championship in the 75th season of Seekonk action, and adding himself to the historic list of track champions, was an important moment for Baxter, and one he will never forget.
What he might not have realized until the final month is that he was racing for a high NASCAR honor. With the title and his impressive season stats, Baxter celebrated the NASCAR Division III National Championship this season. He bested hundreds of drivers across the country to capture the honor, and put Seekonk in the spotlight as one of many NASCAR tracks around the country. NASCAR compiled points for all divisions of local-short track racing under the NASCAR sanction, and Baxter had more than anyone else in Division three.
For Baxter, the 2021 season will be one to remember. For the track, it will be one we never forget — and it continues to show why Seekonk Speedway drivers are some of the best in the country.
NUMBER 7: Barstool Sports picks Seekonk Speedway to be part of the Barstool Fund
With the beginning of the 2021 season closing in, Seekonk Speedway took a chance, reaching out to Barstool Sports to see if they would be willing to have the track be part of their “Barstool Fund”.
The fund, spread across the country, gave back to small businesses who had been suffering due to closure from COVID precautions. In the end, Seekonk Speedway seemed to be the perfect fit. As a family fun, local short-track and entertainment venue that ran 10 races with no fans during 2020, and zero races with fans in the grandstands that season, Barstool Sports came up big for the track.
A provided check to the track helped us get through the beginning of the 2021 season and get racing off the ground running with limited fans in the grandstands. Just a few weeks later, the stands were opened up at full capacity, and fans flocked back to Seekonk for the first time in over a year.
The Barstool Fund provided millions of dollars to local, small businesses across the country, and Seekonk Speedway is so thankful to their team for the help to get the Action Track of the East into its next laps.
2021 moment NUMBER 8: Haunted Hundred Ends Season in Style; More Than 100 Cars Show For One of Seekonk’s Top Events in Last Decade
NUMBER 8: Haunted Hundred Ends Season in Style; More Than 100 Cars Show For One of Seekonk’s Top Events in Last Decade
The 2021 edition of the Haunted Hundred is one for the record books for many reasons. Seekonk Speedway played host to the championship races for the Pro All Star Series, Tri Track Open Modified Series and American-Canadian Tour, which is a remarkable statement in itself. However, on this special but chilly October afternoon, the track saw one of the largest car counts in the pit area we have seen in many years. In fact, we even had to open the pit area into the parking lot to fill all of the race cars.
It was a good problem to have.
The Pro All Star Series gave fans an incredible race, with former track champions Dylan Estrella and Angelo Belsito doing their best to defend the home turf. At the checkered, however, it was Johnny Clark taking the win with a late pass and winning the division championship in the process.
In similar style, the ACT Tour feature was a battle between Seekonk stars and invading Late Model competitors. After 100 laps, it was a thrilling finish with Ben Rowe and DJ Shaw slamming off each other on the final lap, and Rowe winning the race and the ACT title by just a few feet.
The Tri Track Modified feature was also no disappointment. Chase Dowling may have dominated the final race of the season, but former Seekonk champion Jake Johnson, making his Tour-Type Modified debut, finished inside the top-five with some dazzling moves.
The Haunted Hundred showcased the best of the invading stars and the best of Seekonk’s weekly NASCAR divisions, and we can’t wait to see it all happen again in 2022.
2021 moment NUMBER 9: Darling and Spencer Tangle For the Lead; Martin Rolls By To Score Career Win 98
n honor of the end of the 2021 season, and as we look on the horizon to 2022, Seekonk Speedway will look back at the top-10 moments of the year, as voted on by the fans!
NUMBER 9: Darling and Spencer Tangle For the Lead; Martin Rolls By To Score Career Win 98
It was a night to remember for a few different reasons on June 26, 2021. It was a historic night, as Seekonk Speedway completed “double” feature races for the Sportsman division for the first time in many years. After rain a week earlier in the middle of their race, the Sportsman finished their Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Series event to start the night, then ran their normal feature to close the night. After the opener, the Pro Stocks hit the track for a rained-out race from the week before — and it was in the running for the top race of the season by the time it ended.
Former champion Kenny Spencer led the field to the green for the 40-lap race in the sunshine, and he would be in contention right down to the wire. Near halfway, Tom Scully Jr. gave him a run for his money for the lead, but wasn’t able to get around. Before long, it was down to the final five laps, and Dave Darling was up inside the top-five. Darling looked to the outside of Spencer, allowing Scully to sneak a peak underneath. However, as the field came to the white flag, Darling slid from the top to the bottom, behind Spencer. But, as they exited turn four, contact between Darling and Spencer sent both dramatically spinning down the frontstretch, and Scully was caught up in it. That left Martin to inherit the lead, and the veteran took advantage — scoring what was his 98th career Seekonk Speedway win at the time.
It was a hectic night on Wall of Fame night for 2021, but it was one of the top Pro Stock races of the year, and had social media buzzing for the following week. The contact between Darling and Spencer while racing for the lead will itself go down as one of the most memorable moments of the 75th year of racing at Seekonk Speedway, but the win helped Martin catapult to his 100th win later in the year.
Top Ten 2021 Moments ...#10. Helger clinches Bandolero title while Brent Robidoux wins feature on final night, showcasing youth racing at Seekonk
Helger & Robidoux Both Celebrate On Final Night of Seekonk Bandolero Action For 2021
The final night of the Fast Friday season on Friday, September 24, 2021 was one to remember for a variety of reasons. Five drivers were officially crowned track champions, as names like Luke LeBrun, Greg Perry and Mikey LeFort added to their Seekonk championship totals, and Darren Krantz Jr. and Richie Helger Jr. grabbed their first career track titles.
But, the moment in Victory Lane after the Seekonk Grand Prix Bandolero Outlaw race was one of those we will remember for years to come.
While Richie Helger Jr. finally captured championship glory after two years of hard work, and countless wins, Brent Robidoux climbed from the car at the start-finish line in celebration following his second career Seekonk Speedway win. It was a moment that truly showcased the emotion, excitement and energy that is involved with the Youth Racing at Seekonk Speedway. For many years, Seekonk Speedway’s youth program has showcased the rising talent at the track, with many of those drivers becoming winners in our NASCAR Saturday divisions.
On this night, while Richie Helger and his entire family were drawn to tears after etching his name in track history as champion, Helger was just as excited to go over to Robidoux at the end of the race and share a hug and a photo to celebrate the victory by Robidoux.
It was a truly memorable moment. One that showed us that the racing family is truly formed as one, especially in youth racing — where above all else, the young rising stars are friends with each other, on and off the track.
Seekonk Speedway Features stories on the Stars and Cars that race at Seekonk Speedway