Fast Friday Drive For The Cup Update with Brady Couto - AUGUST 10
SEEKONK, Mass. -- It’s hard to believe that the regular season is quickly coming to an end. But alas, it is here. And with three weeks to go before the inaugural Seekonk Speedway Drive For The Cup presented by Sunoco Race Fuels, the race for the playoffs is coming down to the wire.
Even though last Friday marked the finale of the Everett’s Auto Parts Triple Crown Series, the season-long points battles still presented themselves for those drivers sitting close by the bubble, and this Friday, the races for the playoffs continue to get tighter and they continue to mean more. Let’s take a look at how Friday’s features unfolded for our drivers who are still in the hunt for the playoffs and what it means for them coming into this week.
Seekonk Grand Prix Bandolero Bandits
The Seekonk Grand Prix Bandolero Bandit Division took to the third mile for 15 laps this past weekend and in the end, Darren Krantz Jr. took down the win as well as the 2022 Everett’s Triple Crown for the division. He had to fight hard early to win this one and overcome the likes of Parker Davis, Allyha DeSomma, and Ryan Vanasse Jr. His win keeps him at the top of the standings by two points over Milania Shilosky, but deeper in the field is where things get interesting.
Unlike the other divisions, the Bandoleros have the top 6 drivers get into the playoffs instead of the top 8. Currently, Bryson Robidoux sits in sixth place with 364 points and has Nick Uhrig Jr. chasing him for that final spot with 356 points. While the battle for the final playoff spot heats up, it will be interesting to see who slides up and down the standings.
For the most part, this division has its playoff field set. Along with Krantz and Shilosky, Ryan Vanasse Jr, Collin Vanasse, and Sam “The Green Hornet” Macedo will most likely be racing in September. Along with Uhrig, Parker Davis is also on the outside looking in with 338 points.
It will be interesting to see how this division plays out with both the top of the field and the bottom being razor-thin. Can Krantz hold on to his lead? Will Shilosky call herself regular season champ? Can Robidoux survive? Will Uhrig find himself racing for a trophy?
All of these questions will be answered in three weeks! Until then, sit back and watch these 8-12-year-olds make your jaws drop.
Seekonk Grand Prix Bandolero Outlaws
Dominance. That’s the one word associated with this division. Chase Silvia has won 7 out of 10 races this season, has 492 points, and has not finished outside of the top five.
This past Friday, he added to his lead in the points standings by picking up the win and the Everett’s Auto Parts Triple Crown Championship. He took the lead in lap number two and did not give it up. Andrew Gomes is right behind him in the standings with 454 points. With that in mind, it’s clear who is going to be the Outlaw points leader at the end of August when the playoffs prepare to begin. However, it is not clear who is going to be racing in September.
Bradley Strickland and Adam Harrison currently sit in fifth and sixth place and are tied at 388 points. Both of these drivers have stepped up their game in recent weeks, but so has Brent Robidoux. Brent is currently on the outside looking in with 382 points. The margin for error is slim and all it could take is one bad night for one of these drivers to find themselves out of contention.
In the middle of the pack, we find Mikey LeFort, III in third place, and Joey LeMay in fourth. LeFort has stepped up his game recently with consecutive podium finishes for the first time all season, whereas LeMay has gone in the opposite direction. He started the season constantly on the podium but recently, he hasn’t been able to get over the hump. He still sits in fourth place and has a great chance of getting into the playoffs, just where is the looming question. If he or LeFort can pick up a win, it would give them a much-needed confidence booster ahead of September.
While the winner has been consistent, much of this division has not been. It’s anyone’s ballgame for that final playoff spot. And again, the margin for error is very slim.
Everett’s Auto Parts Sport 4’s
The Everett’s Auto Parts Sport 4s gave us the most bittersweet race of the evening last week. When the checkered flag soared, it was AJ Manuel who crossed the start/finish line first, grabbing his third feature win of the season out of three races run, and he also claimed his first ever triple crown title.
Meanwhile, near the top of the standings, Crystal Murray grew her lead over Tyler Duhancik. She now sits 10 points clear with three weeks to go. In the middle of the pack, Henry Lavalle, Jarrod Freitas, and Taylor Bowser sit in 3rd, 4th, and 6th place and seem to be locks for September. LaVallee and Freitas have picked up wins this season, whereas Bowser has not. Can she get to victory lane with only three races left?
Now, you might ask “What about 5th place?” Karlin Levesque currently holds that spot. However, he sold his car to a young man by the name of Cassius Mitchell last week. So, it will be interesting to see if anyone can slide up the standings and knock him out.
Towards the bottom, Daniel Hayes and Stephanie Bruneau latch onto the 7th and 8th positions. Hayes has 328 points and Bruneau has 322. A rookie competitor, Bruneau making the playoffs would mean so much after the passing of her father, Mr. Tom Scully, earlier in the year. On the outside sits Justin Leduc with 278 points. It may not be too late for Leduc; if he can pull a podium finish soon, that fight for the final playoff spot is going to be very feisty.
Helger’s South Coast Power Equipment Pure Stocks
The Pure Stocks took to the track for their 30-lap feature and in the end, Mike Henriques sat in Victory Lane. He grabbed his third win of the season while fighting off the eventual Triple Crown Champion Sam Lincoln, Greg Perry, and Danny Massa.
Henriques took hold of the lead after a caution and did not let it up. Thus finding himself a winner for the third time this season. With the victory, Mike sits in 4th place, 10 points behind Greg Perry for third. Atop the leaderboard sits Danny Massa with 440 points and Lincoln sits behind him. These four, along with Jeremy Lambert and Jordan Threlfall, who occupy 5th and 6th place, will be racing in the playoffs, barring a miracle. However, the same cannot be said about the bottom two.
Currently, Mike Rotondo and Jared Cordeira sit in 7th and 8th place. With 326 points, it is more than likely Rotondo will make the playoffs. However, Ethan Souza has a win this season and is only 14 points off of Cordeira.
This division has been nothing short of exciting in 2022, and that trend promises to continue over the rest of the season. If Souza can win another race, he’ll more than likely be racing for a trophy. If not, it could be game over for his title hopes.
Nick’s Pit Stop Legends
This is arguably the most exhilarating division on a Fast Friday evening. Josh Parsons was the polesitter and the winner of this one last week. But it was Mason Tessier who stole the headlines.
After an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty placed him on probation, many wrote Mason off and said he had no chance of winning the Everett’s Auto Parts Triple Crown. Yet he prevailed with a 6th place finish, which was good enough for a trophy.
Leading the standings is Devin Deshaies, who has won multiple races this season and has been in top form over the last few weeks. Behind him is Reese Bogue who gets stronger every week and Nick Bulkeley, who inches closer to Victory Lane every week. Brendon Hammann, Isaiah Newcomb, and Mason Tessier sit in 4, 5, and 6. Newcomb and Tessier have been phenomenal over the last month, whereas Hammann hasn’t won a race in over two months. All drivers could use a seat in victory lane to boost their confidence heading towards September.
Towards the bottom, Jake Silvia should hold onto that 7th place spot. As for 8th, it’s anyone’s game. Brenden LaBelle currently holds that spot, but Josh Parsons is only six points back and Richie Helger Jr. is 16 points back. It's anyone’s guess as to who will finish in 8th place. And the difference could be something as simple as finishing Top 4, or Top 5.
Only three weeks remain before the playoffs begin, and the battle of the bubble is only drawing tighter across all five divisions.
Come on out and witness for yourself who can lock themselves into the first ever Seekonk Speedway Drive For The Cup presented by Sunoco Race Fuel. The battle continues this Friday, August 12 at 7:00PM.
For tickets and more information on Seekonk Speedway, visit seekonkspeedway.com and find us on social media!
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