For the first time in 2022, Seekonk Speedway’s third-mile roared to life on Saturday, April 16, for practice day ahead of the season opener for both Fast Friday and NASCAR Saturday. More than 40 teams took to the track for some test and tune laps, led by former division champions, rising stars, title favorites and Rookie of the Year contenders.
Some of the top challengers in the Pro Stock championship battle were there to start 2022 early. While eight-time track champion Dave Darling wasn’t, some took advantage of the track time to try and get a head start on the season. Former Late Model champions Ryan Vanasse, Bobby Pelland and Tommy Adams, all planning to campaign in the Pro Stocks at some level in 2022, posted some of the top times of the day. Former Pro Stock champion Kenny Spencer took a few laps, along with Billy Joeress, Daryl Stampfl and Dylan Estrella. The big question of the day was if Jeff Belyea, Dave Darling’s crew chief, who also registered as a driver for 2022, would attend. The answer was no... but will we see him on track on opening day battling his car owner for Pro Stock Glory.
In the Late Models, Mike Duarte and Richie Murray, two rising Late Model stars, were the top contenders of the day. They found themselves at the top of the chart for most of the sessions, with names like Josh Hedges and Paul Lallier not far behind. Former Legends Cars standout and now Late Model Rookie of the Year contender Reese Bogue also took his first laps around other cars and proved that he wouldn’t be shying away from the challenge.
The Helger’s South Coast Power Equipment Sportsman may have been the most populated division of the day, with even a few bumps and bruises of side-by-side racing going on during test laps. Names like former champion Steve Axon, Ed Perry, Don Perry, Adam Petty and Mark Healy were among the fastest of the afternoon. In the Chaz Auto Body Sport Trucks, Radical Rick Martin unloaded a brand new ride in his chase to get even further over 100 wins in Seekonk history, and the veteran posted the quickest time of the day. Names like Mike Cavallaro, Danny Thibeault, Tom Scully III, and a few others also took laps.
In the Fast Friday classes, the Seekonk Grand Prix Bandolero’s were not allowed to attend, as they will have their own practice later in the spring. The Helger’s South Coast Power Equipment Pure Stocks took off quickly, with names like Sam Lincoln, Ethan Souza, Rob Hendrickson, Billy Chouinard and others taking time on the track. The Nick’s Pit Stop Legends Cars also debuted for 2022, with Richie Helger Jr. competing in his first competitive race laps in a Legend Car, one year after winning the championship in the Seekonk Grand Prix Bandolero Outlaws. He was joined by teammate Mason Tessier on the track.
The Sport 4 division also started off strong with names like Kaleb Marcou, Stephanie Bruneau and more taking a few circuits.
Seekonk Speedway will open the 76th season of full-time racing as part of a packed weekend on Sunday, May 1 at 2PM. All four NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Racing Series divisions — headlined by the Pro Stocks and Late Models — will contest in their first races of the year. The Fast Friday series will begin on Friday, May 27 at 7PM.
For more information on Seekonk Speedway and tickets to all events visit SeekonkSpeedway.com and follow on social media for the latest updates.
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Seekonk Speedway Features stories on the Stars and Cars that race at Seekonk Speedway