SEEKONK, Mass. — It all comes down to this.
On Friday, September 23, and Saturday, September 24, Seekonk Speedway will crown nine champions in the finals of the Sunoco Drive For The Cup. As Fast Friday and NASCAR Saturday teams get ready to compete in the Final Four events, the championships are anyone’s game. Once you are in, you have a chance. And in the final race of the season, every lap will matter more and more down the stretch run.
Nine champions will be crowned, beginning with five on Fast Friday and four on NASCAR Saturday.
On Fast Friday, the Seekonk Grand Prix Bandolero Bandits will roll out for their final race of the season. Ryan Vanasse Jr., Sam Macedo, Collin Vanasse and Nick Uhrig Jr. will all race for the title. Whichever of the four of them finishes ahead of the others will earn the crown — with Vanasse Jr. entering the race as the favorite. As the highest remaining seed, he’s coming off a victory in round two of the playoffs, with tons of momentum on his side. Macedo and Collin Vanasse, along with Uhrig, have been rather quiet this season. But they made their way into the finals, and they have a shot at winning it all.
In the Everett’s Auto Parts Sport 4’s, Crystal Murray, Tyler Duhancik, Jarrod Freitas and Henry Lavallee will race for the championship. Murray won in the second round of the playoffs last week for the fourth time this season, and enters the race as the top seed. Duhancik survived some trouble in round one of the playoffs to make it to this point, and with multiple season wins to his credit, he’s a major threat. Lavallee has returned to victory lane twice this season for the first time in many years, while Freitas grabbed his first career win earlier in the year. Who will become Sport 4 champion after 30 laps of racing?
The Seekonk Grand Prix Bandolero Outlaw Final Four might run through Bradley Strickland. After winning the first two races in the playoffs, he’s showed that he is the clear favorite. But Andrew Gomes, Brent Robidoux and Joey LeMay aren’t going to let him run away with it. As one of the cleanest and most exiting Seekonk divisions, the Bandolero Outlaws will put on a show for the title again Friday night.
Sam Lincoln, Danny Massa, Mike Henriques and Jeremy Lambert are the final four drivers in the Helger’s South Coast Power Equipment Pure Stocks. Each of them has earned their chance to race for the title, and each deserves it in their own way. Lincoln’s first win late in the summer and multiple top-five finishes got him to this point. Massa has been the class of the field at times this year, and even when he wasn’t, he’s still up front. Mike Henriques has multiple wins for the first time in many years, while Lambert slid his way into the finals with consistency. Who will it be after 30 laps in the season-finale holding the trophy?
Your Nick’s Pit Stop Legends Cars Final Four is a toss-up. Devin Deshaies enters the finale as the number one seed, and with multiple wins, certainly has the speed and the driving ability to become champion. But look out for Jake Silvia, who just picked up his first career win in the second round of the playoffs. Josh Parsons has been quiet all season, with only one win, but as the final seed to enter the playoffs, he made his way into the finals. Reese Bogue, who split his time this season between the Legends Cars and the Late Model (NASCAR Saturday), has a chance to end his Legends Cars career on top at Seekonk.
Fast Friday racing will begin at 7 p.m. for the final round of 2022 action.
On NASCAR Saturday, the Pro Stock field looks to be running through Mike Brightman and Tom Scully Jr. Both drivers advanced to the Final Four (Brightman by the skin of his teeth), but out of the four involved, they have the most success this season. With four wins, Brightman could be considered the favorite. And even though Scully only has one win, the emotional summer that included the passing of his dad, Tom Sr., might be just enough to boost him to the title. The two dark horses in the Pro Stock title chase? Radical Rick Martin and Mark Jenison.
The Late Model Final Four battle might be one of the most wide open of all Seekonk Speedway divisions. Mark Jenison won in the second round of the playoffs last week to lock himself into the finals, and might be coming on right at the right time. Richie Murray was the next finisher in the lineup last week, and his consistency around the top-five all year got him to this point. Could he score his first Late Model title and second overall track championship? How about Gerry DeGasparre Jr.? Arguably the dominant driver in this division all year, Gerry has seven track titles, and would love to tie Dave Darling as the only driver with eight. Chase Belcher is the fourth driver in the mix, and with two wins this season, he can definitely get the job done.
Chad Baxter might be the dominant force in the Helger’s South Coast Power Equipment Pure Stocks, but he’s going to have to bust his way through three tough challengers in order to win a second track title in a row. Craig Pianka, Ed Perry and Colby Lambert will join him in the Final Four, and all three have shown speed this year. Pianka won the first three out of four races of the year, while Perry also was in the mix in Victory Lane. Lambert might have quietly raced his way to this point, but look out for him to pounce in the season-finale.
Chaz Auto Body Sport Truck racing in the Final Four will certainly run through Radical Rick Martin. Chasing another title, Martin has victories in the first two races of the playoffs, adding to his total for the season, which now sits at seven. It’s going to be tough task for Barry Shaw (defending champion), Brittany Campbell and Mike Duarte to defeat the Radical one, but all three are worthy, and have a shot at it.
Tickets for championship weekend are available online today at SeekonkSpeedway.com. The website will also allow fans to purchase tickets for the final two events remaining on the Seekonk Speedway 2022 calendar — the Pumpkin Smash Thrill Show on October 8 and the upcoming Haunted Hundred on October 22.
For more information on Seekonk Speedway, visit SeekonkSpeedway.com and follow the track on social media for the latest information.
Seekonk Speedway Features stories on the Stars and Cars that race at Seekonk Speedway