SEEKONK, Mass. — The Seekonk Seekonk Sunoco Drive For The Cup is heading for its first eliminations this Friday and Saturday. As the first round of the championship playoffs comes to a close, one driver from each Bandolero division, and two from all other Seekonk classes, will be eliminated in their quest for the track championship after this weekend.
Friday night at 7 p.m., the Fast Friday drivers return to the track to try to move on for round two. Saturday night at 6 p.m., Advance NASCAR Weekly Racing Series drivers do the same. The battles are close in all divisions heading into the weekend, and it will go down to the final laps in each race to decide who is moving on, and who is going to be out.
Drivers earn playoff points based off their finishing position. The highest finishing playoff driver earns 10, while the second highest earns 9, third highest earns 8, etc. At the end of this weekend, the lowest total in the Bandolero divisions and lowest two totals combined between last week and this week in the rest of the track divisions will be eliminated.
In the Seekonk Grand Prix Bandolero Bandits, Parker Davis is coming off a victory in the first race of round one last week and enters Friday with the most playoff points, 10. He’s followed by Nick Uhrig Jr. (9), Sam Macedo (8), Mike Hanafin (7), Ryder Aguiar (6) and Mason Silva (5). If the first round ended today, Silva would be out. But look for him to try and sneak his way back in with another consistent finish this Friday in the No. 31.
In the Seekonk Grand Prix Bandolero Outlaws, Ryan Vanasse Jr. added yet another win to his season last week, earning himself a smooth 10 playoff points. Collin Vanasse (9), Andrew Gomes (8), Brent Robidoux (7), Bryson Robidoux (6) and Zachary Keith (5) are the drivers with him in the playoffs. Can Ryan continue his hot season with another victory this Friday? Or will one of the playoff drivers knock him off and make it clear they aren’t out of it? Will a non-playoff driver win Friday’s 15-lap feature? There are plenty of options.
Her second victory of the Sport 4 season has defending champion Crystal Murray looking good heading for this week. With her 10 points, she’s joined by Jarrod Freitas (9), Mikey LeFort (8), Richie Johnson (7), Christine Cavallaro (6), Daniel Hayes (5), Taylor Bowser (4) and Henry Lavallee in the Sport 4 title battle. Lavallee, one of the most consistent cars all year, missed the race last week and has a whole to dig out of if he wants to advance to the second round.
The Helger’s South Coast Power Equipment Pure Stock playoffs opener went to Danny Massa, earning him 10 points. Scott Cestodio (9), Sam Lincoln (8), Jared Cordeira (7), Greg Perry (6), Ethan Souza (5), Mike Henriques (4) and Timmy Ouellette (3) also earned first round points. Henriques, who entered the playoffs inside the top-four in seeding, is in threat of being eliminated if he doesn’t find his groove this week in the 25-lap feature.
Isaiah Newcomb’s dominant summer rolled into the first race of the playoffs last week, earning him 10 points with a Nick’s Pit Stop Legends Cars win. He’s joined by Josh Parsons (9), Brendan LaBelle (8), Jacob Burns (7), Richie Helger Jr (6), Nicholaus Bulkeley (5), Chase Silvia (4) and Mason Tessier (3). Silvia and Tessier, teammates, will have work to do if they want to get back in and advance to round two.
Remember, for both Fast Friday and NASCAR Saturday, the feature winner of the race may be a non-playoff driver. However, the highest finishing playoff driver still earns 10 points. Last week, Fast Friday saw playoff drivers win all the races. On NASCAR Saturday, that was the case in all but two divisions, with Dave Darling winning in the Chaz Auto Body Sport Trucks and Colbey Fournier winning in the Pro Stocks.
In the event of a tie on either night for the final advancing spot, Seekonk Speedway will revert back to the regular season point standings, with the highest of the two drivers from the regular season advancing.
Speaking of the Trucks, even with ignition problems, Radical Rick Martin, the defending champion, finished second. His 10 points earned as the highest finishing playoff driver puts him in a good spot heading for Saturday. Jake Vanada (9), Brittany Campbell (8), Darryl Church (7), Mike Cavallaro (6), Amy Arsenault (5), Bobby Tripp (4) and Mike Duarte (3) are also in the playoffs. Duarte, who was one of the most consistent drivers all year, will need to climb back in or he will be outside looking in instead of chasing his second Truck title.
Jacob “Rowdy” Burns is chasing titles in both the Legends Cars and Late Models in 2023, and kicked off his Late Model title chase with a victory on Saturday, grabbing 10 points. Charlie Rose had a strong second-place finish (9), while Mark Jenison started his title defense with a third-place finish, earning 8 points. Vinnie Arrenegado (7), Connor Souza (6), Chase Belcher (5), Luke LeBrun (4) and Tyler Tomassi (3) are also playoff contenders. LeBrun, who finished the regular season with multiple wins, is outside looking in heading for the weekend.
The Helger’s South Coast Power Equipment Sportsman photo-finish came down to two playoff drivers - winner Adam Pettey (10) and Ryan Lineham (9). Steve Axon’s third-place finish earned the defending champion 8 playoff points, while Chad Baxter and Colby Lambert are next, tied with 6. Craig Pianka, the defending champion, has five, while right now, Don Perry (4) and Randy Moretti (3) are outside and needing to get their way in if they want to advance. The tie in the Sportsman between Baxter and Lambert is the result of a technical, safety infraction found on Baxter’s ride post-race last week. He was docked one playoff point for the safety violation, but retained his finish in the feature.
The Pro Stocks playoff battle earned Bobby Pelland 10 points, while Tom Scully Jr. got 9, Dylan Estrella 8 and Dick Benoit 7. Mike Rotondo (6), Mike Brightman (5), Mark Jenison (4) and Rick Martin (3) are also involved in the playoffs. Can Jenison, the defending Pro Stock champion, claw his way in or will he end up eliminated this weekend?
Tickets for both Fast Friday and NASCAR Saturday are available at SeekonkSpeedway.com for this weekend and the remaining three weeks of the season. Playoff action in round two takes place September 22-23 and the DAV Championship nights for both nights is set for September 29-30.
For more information on Seekonk Speedway, visit SeekonkSpeedway.com and follow the track on social media for the latest news and updates.
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