Driving Double Duty
For some drivers, coming to the track to compete in just one race isn’t enough to quench their thirst for speed. The way they solve that? Bring two race cars, run in two races.
Out of the teams that doubled down on racing efforts in 2022, two drivers in particular have managed to piece together championship-contending seasons in not one, but BOTH of their divisions.
Let’s learn about these double-duty drivers, the success they had in 2022, and what lies ahead for them on championship weekend.
“RADICAL” RICK MARTIN
Almost no other name is as synonymous with Seekonk Speedway as Rick Martin’s. In 2022, he is dominating the airwaves yet again. With championship weekend upon us, Rick Martin is gearing up to contend for his sixth and seventh career track titles. He’ll be looking to outrun the rest of the Final Four in the third round of the Sunoco Drive for the Cup in both the Chaz’s Auto Body Sport Truck division and the Pro Stock division. Here’s how he got here.
In the Sport Truck division, Martin has amassed seven wins, accounting for just under half of the races run this season. Two of his victories have come in the past two weeks, with Martin topping the field in both the first and second rounds in the Drive for the Cup. This playoff-time win streak reinforces Martin’s status as the odds-on favorite to be named champion on Saturday.
Claiming the title won’t be a walkover though, as challengers Barry Shaw, Mike Duarte, and Brittany Campbell could prove tough to beat. All three drivers have made it to victory lane at least once this season, showing they have what it takes to win while sharing the track with the seven-time winner. Martin is one win away from sweeping the Sunoco Drive for the Cup and adding yet another track title to his illustrious career, but the rest of the Final Four could have another thing coming for “The Radical One”.
In the Pro Stock Division, Martin’s journey to the playoffs has been far less smooth compared to the Sport Trucks. By the end of July, Martin was actually on the outside looking in from the playoff cutoff. In August however, Martin broke into the top eight, and managed a slim point margin over Kenny Spencer to clinch the eighth and final spot in the Drive for the Cup, yet still winless in his Pro Stock.
So far in the playoffs, Martin still has not shown the same dominant force as is customary with his Sport Truck. Being the beneficiary of some late race calamity in both rounds of the Pro Stock playoffs, Marin has managed to scrape through by running his race and staying out of harm's way. His reward: a shot to win the Pro Stock title in 2022. His challenge: Besting 2022 feature-winners Mike Brightman, Tom Scully Jr. and Mark Jenison.
Mark Jenison has been racing in the area long enough to establish his name as a familiar one in the scene. Despite spending more than twenty years at the wheel, he’s not yet been able to claim the elusive “champion” status on his resume. This season, he has two chances to change that, as he takes a shot at both the Late Model championship and the Pro Stock Championship this Saturday.
In the Late Model division, Jenision floated up and down the points standings above the cut line for the playoffs. Reaching as high as second and dipping as low as eighth, Jenison leveled out to claim the fourth seed when it was time to go playoff racing. The highlight of Jenison’s Late Model season came in mid-August, when he battled youngster Connor Souza lap after lap, edging out Souza by a stunning .009 seconds on the outside.
Jenison is fresh off another win, wielding some serious momentum rolling into Round Three of the Drive for the Cup. Once Jenison got around Josh Hedges for the lead last Saturday, he didn’t look back, displaying some serious speed. Playoff counterparts Gerry DeGasparre Jr., Richie Murray, and Chase Belcher will be needing to nail their setup to keep up if Jenison is to throw down the same pace on championship night as he did one week ago.
Jenison’s Pro Stock campaign played out in a similar fashion. His swings in the points standings were not as ranging, and ultimately settled into third place by the end of the regular season. The jewel in Jenison’s Pro Stock season came back on June 11 with a decisive win, gapping the next closest driver by nearly four seconds at the line.
Since then, Jenison has been solid, notching a few more top-five finishes, and a couple of second-place finishes to boot. Most notably, last week Jenison was the only driver able to give chase to leader and eventual race-winner Dave Darling. It shouldn’t be understated how quick you have to be to keep up with Darling on a clear track. Jenison’s second-place performance surely reminded the field that if he can get out front and stay ahead of the fray early in the running, he might just have what it takes to best the likes of Mike Brightman, Tom Scully Jr., and Rick Martin the second week in a row, and finally claim that long-awaited championship.
Chase that Checkerd Flag….
Seekonk Speedway has never seen a driver remain in the running for two separate championships until the final weekend. This year, we have TWO of them. If you’re a fan of history, there’s a chance for some to unfold on the high banks of the third-mile this weekend.
For that reason alone, be sure to experience this unprecedented scenario for yourself by joining us when we go green for the final time this season on September 24 at 6:00PM.
For tickets and more information on Seekonk Speedway, visit seekonkspeedway.com.
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