Fast Friday at Seekonk Speedway continues to showcase the youth and rising stars of short-track racing in Massachusetts. This past Friday night, July 7, Seekonk added three first-time winners to the track wins list - Collin Vanasse, Mike Hanafin and Nicholaus Bulkeley. All three of them earned their victories in INEX divisions — the first two in the Seekonk Grand Prix Bandolero divisions (Bandits for Hanafin, Outlaws for Vanasse) and Nicholaus in the Legends Cars.
In the Seekonk Grand Prix Bandolero Bandits, Hanafin scored his first career win in dominating fashion, leading all 15 laps in the red, white and blue No. 76. The son of former track Sportsman champion John Hanafin, Mike has been trying to win a race for many years - dating back to karts through the Bandolero division, racing across different parts of New England. After coming close at Seekonk many times, this season, the speed has certainly been there for this rising star. He jumped out front and wasn’t going to be denied - keeping the Hanafin name in the record books in the next generation of Seekonk winners.
In the Bandolero Outlaw division, Collin Vanasse also waited a long time to add his name to the trophy. This past Friday, everything finally fell his way after countless times of coming so close. He held off a late charge from Bryson Robidoux - also seeking his first career win - to take the No. 78 to the winner’s circle. Collin continues a long list of Vanasse family members to put themselves in Seekonk’s Victory Lane. His cousin, Ryan Vanasse Jr., is a three-time winner in this division already in 2023. And it looks like Collin’s first victory may open the flood gates.
The Nick’s Pit Stop Legends Cars main event came down to a final-lap dash with Bulkeley taking the lead from Jacob Burns to score his first win. On a night where the Legends had one of their most exciting races this season, Bulkeley made sure to pounce when the opportunity was in front of him. He comes out of the same shop as the “Green Hornet”, Seekonk’s defending Bandolero Bandit champion with the green hair, Sam Macedo. He made it count on Friday to get the win.
Overall, the start of the 2023 Fast Friday season has seen multiple first-time winners. In the Outlaw division, it’s Collin Vanasse. In the Bandit division, it’s Parker Davis and Hanafin. In the Legends Cars, Bulkeley joins Brenden LaBelle as the two first-time winners this season - LaBelle has three in three starts for him in the first five events.
The Sport 4’s and Helger’s South Coast Power Equipment Pure Stocks haven’t seen first-time winners yet in 2023, but there are many names that are certain to try and get one before the season is over.
Some names to watch as potentially next on the list? In the Bandits, look out for Mason Silva. In the Outlaws, look out for Bryson Robidoux and Dylan Calabro. In the Sport 4’s, watch for Richie Johnson and Taylor Bowser. The Pure Stocks? Check out names like Matt Talbot, Josh Badach and Don Courtemanche. In the Legends Cars, the list is endless - Richie Helger Jr., Chase Silvia, Jaden Hamilton, Stephen Bowden, Kevin Davis, Ty LeClerc and many more are ones to watch.
As previously noted in Seekonk history, many drivers who start off on Fast Friday make their way to NASCAR Saturday and win races, some track championships. Other drivers who start on Fast Friday graduate and run Touring Series throughout the Northeast market and beyond. Seekonk’s Youth Racing Association, and Fast Friday as a whole, continues to thrive into the future.
Fast Friday is slated to return to the track at Seekonk Speedway on Friday, July 14, at 7 p.m. This week includes another round of Everett’s Auto Parts Triple Crown Series racing for the Sport 4 division, set for 30 laps. Both Bandolero divisions, the Pure Stocks and Legends Cars will also be in action. For tickets and more information, visit SeekonkSpeedway.com.
Seekonk Speedway Features stories on the Stars and Cars that race at Seekonk Speedway