One year after watching Darren Krantz Jr. rocket to the championship in the Seekonk Grand Prix Bandolero Bandits, the rest of the field is going to be right on his bumper when they hit the track in 2022. Beginning on Friday, May 27, the Bandolero Bandits — a group of drivers that range from ages 8-12 — will hit the track to compete for feature wins in 15 lap feature races as part of Seekonk’s Youth Racing Association.
Krantz is the favorite heading into the year, especially off his success from last year. But, with a new playoff format in the cards for 2022, anything can, and will happen, and every lap matters. As Seekonk introduces the playoff system — the Drive 4 For The Cup — including three races in September, where the field will be cut from 6 drivers, to 5 drivers, to 4 drivers for the final race — who will be the one to become champion? In that final championship race, the driver that bests the other three in the feature will be the champion. The question is: who will make it there?
Krantz is high on the list, but will be closely followed by names like Ryan Vanasse Jr., Sam Macedo, Collin Vanasse and Milania Shilosky, all expected to be contenders. Macedo went on a tear during the 2021 season, winning seven in a row, and even though he came up short in the end, this new format with winning mattering a ton could play right into his favor. The Vanasse family — both Ryan and Collin — have both proven before they know how to run in the front. Ryan is a multiple-time winner in the division, while Collin has been a top-five contender and should pick up his first victory in 2022.
Shilosky continues a storied history of female, youth contenders in the Seekonk Youth Racing Association and was on fire at the end of 2021. The driver of the pink and black No. 99 should be right where she needs to be when the season gets underway.
Other returning contenders are expected to include Nick Uhrig Jr., Luka Dib, Zacarias Kelley, Colin Floyd, Mike Hanafin and RJ Murphy. After a ton of pre-season laps, Murphy, the son of former Sport Truck champion Rob Murphy, should be a contender to get to Victory Lane this year.
As always, the division will welcome multiple newcomers, many of them ready for their first laps of racing in their life. Names like Brody Wakefield, Allyha DeSomma, Parker Davis, Grayson Day, Bryson Robidoux and Zachary Keith are all expected to race, and many of them have been practicing ahead of the year.
Look out for Robidoux — who has a brother, Brent, who is a two-time winner in the Seekonk Grand Prix Bandolero Outlaw, and a father, John, who is a former track winner on Fast Friday in the Pure Stocks.
The Seekonk Grand Prix Bandolero Bandit season begins on Friday, May 27 with a 15-lap feature and will roll through Friday, September 23, where the champion will be crowned. Tickets for all Seekonk Speedway Fast Friday, NASCAR Saturday and Thrill Show events are available today at SeekonkSpeedway.com. Fans are encouraged to follow the track on social media for the latest updates and information.
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