ONE TO GO: FAST FRIDAY PLAYOFF FIELD WILL BE SET THIS WEEK
By Brady Couto
SEEKONK, Mass. -- We all knew this time of year was coming. There is now, officially, one week left in the regular season at Seekonk Speedway. The race to get into the inaugural Seekonk Speedway Drive For The Cup presented by Sunoco Race Fuels is a left turn away, so let us dissect last week’s action.
With many playoff battles razor-thin, everyone was focused on who was on the bubble. Many focused on the “What-If” possibilities. Let’s recap the racing from Friday, August 19, and where these results affected the points standings.
Seekonk Grand Prix Bandolero Bandits
There aren’t many comparisons between soccer and racing, but one of the few is that it’s good to make an everlasting impression on debut. In soccer, you want to score in your first match. In racing, you want to win your first race at a new track, and Ben Mortibeto did exactly that. The Long Island native took the lead on a restart and did not let up from there. Milania Shilosky finished third and now sits atop the Bandit division courtesy of Darren Krantz not finishing the race. Second place went to Ryan Vanasse Jr. and he only tightened his grip on third place. Along with Krantz, Shilosky, Vanasse Jr., and Collin Vanasse will be in the Drive For The Cup presented by Sunoco Race Fuels. However, it’s going to be a battle for those last two spots.
If you didn’t know already, the Bandoleros have the top 6 drivers get into the playoffs instead of the top 8 in the other divisions. Sam “The Green Hornet” Macedo sits in fifth and barring something extreme, will be racing for the championship trophy. As for that final playoff spot, Nick Uhrig Jr. has a four-point lead over Bryson Robidoux. For Bryson to get into that last playoff spot, he’ll have to finish at least three places ahead of Uhrig. Now, this is not out of the realm of possibility, but with Uhrig’s stretch of good luck and Robidoux lately out of luck, the difference could be finishing on the podium or finishing top-five.
Parker Davis is 20 points out of the playoffs. Unfortunately, his hopes of racing for the championship are slim. Other than that, the Seekonk Grand Prix Bandolero Bandit division has its playoff field set. Will we see a repeat champion in Krantz? Will a new driver dethrone him? Does anyone know? Nope! We’ll all have to wait and see come September.
Seekonk Grand Prix Bandolero Outlaws
If someone were to go to a psychic in March and say that there would be a driver at Seekonk who would be victorious in nine of 12 races run, that person probably would’ve walked out and demanded a refund. Well, if a psychic predicted this, then that psychic deserves a pay raise because that’s exactly what’s happened to Chase Silvia. He now has a total of 592 points, more than any other driver at The Action Track of The East.
Silvia’s in-and-out game worked for him very well and as a result, found himself in Victory Lane (again) last Friday. Behind him, for the second week in a row was Brent Robidoux and in third place was Bradley Strickland. These two are now separated by one place and two points in the standings. Ahead of them is Andrew Gomes with 494 points in second place. The Outlaws are the tightest division across all Fast Friday divisions. Third place through fifth place is separated by four points. Speaking of fifth place, let’s dive into the bottom half of the field.
Robidoux moved his way up to fourth which caused Adam Harrison to take full control of fifth place after a fourth place this past Friday. Joey LeMay fell to sixth place and now finds himself on the playoff bubble with 452 points. Mikey LeFort III still sits seventh in the standings with 442 points.
With LeFort, rookie competitor Bobby Bettencourt III sits in eighth place with 432 points. For LeFort, he’ll have to have a significantly better final race than LeMay in order to compete for the title.
It’s anyone’s guess who will grab that final playoff spot. LeFort could very well win on Friday. However, LeMay could grab a podium, and LeFort could get into an early accident and pick up a DNF. The only thing this Outlaw division promises to be is exciting, and they demonstrate that every Friday night.
Everett’s Auto Parts Sport 4’s
All season, this division has lived up to the phrase “Any Given Friday”. But this week, Crystal Murray found herself in Victory Lane for the third time this season. The No. 38 machine took the lead early and from there on, she completely dominated this race.
Still on top is Crystal Murray with 552 points. Duhancik is right behind her with 542. Like last week, Henry Lavalle, Jarrod Freitas, and Taylor Bowser sit in third, fourth, and fifth place. All will be locked in to compete for the title in September. Stephanie Bruneau climbed to sixth place with 398 points, whereas Daniel Hayes slid to seventh. Plus, we had a new driver enter the playoff picture.
Justin Leduc officially grabbed eighth place this week with a new points total of 350. For the most part, the field is set for the Everett’s Auto Parts Sport 4’s. However, an additional name to watch for is DJ Thibeault. If he can get a good start like he did last week and finish a winner, then things will get a whole lot more interesting.
Helger’s South Coast Power Equipment Pure Stocks
There is never a dull moment in this division. That is said because just when you think Jared Cordeira earns his first career Pure Stock win, he fails post-race inspection and the win is awarded to Sam “Hot Rod” Lincoln. These two battled back and forth all race and really, anyone could’ve won. But in the end, the Yarmouthport native is the winner.
This now ties him with veteran Danny Massa atop the points standings with 524. Behind them is Greg Perry, Mike Henriques, and Jordan Threlfall in the middle of the pack. These gentlemen, along with sixth-placed Jeremy Lambert, will be racing for the title. However, it is unknown who will join them because a new driver has entered the fray.
Mike Rotondo claims seventh place back and in eighth place, we find Ethan Souza with 370 points. Jared Cordeira falls out due to his failed inspection. Souza has a feature win this season and has been one of the more consistent drivers. He’ll have to keep that consistency up if he wants to hold onto that spot and race for the championship.
Nick’s Pit Stop Legends
The leader in this division picked up a much needed confidence booster this past Friday. Devin Deshaies picked up his first win in almost two months and continues to lead the Legends division. Moving up in the standings to second place is Brendon Hammann, who picked up a momentum boost of his own. He swapped places with Reese Bogue, who now sits in fourth while Nick Bulkeley stays in third. These men, along with Isaiah Newcomb, are locked in. While the top six are set, the bottom two are not.
Jake Silvia is hanging on by a thread to seventh place but it looks like he’ll be in the playoffs if all goes well this week. In the final spot, we find Josh Parsons overtaking Brenden LaBelle for eighth place. Parsons won three weeks ago and consistency for him could mean trophy racing next month. Richie Helger Jr. is also only 24 points out. This will be a dogfight between these three for that final spot.
Only one week remains before the playoffs begin, and the battle to get in is getting tougher across all five divisions on Fast Friday.
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 Fuels. The battle continues this Friday, August 19 at 7:00PM.
For tickets and more information on Seekonk Speedway, visit seekonkspeedway.com and find us on social media!
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