Seekonk Speedway’s ’07 Stars Shine At Annual Awards Banquet

Seekonk, MA — Hundreds of racers, crew members, officials, fans, and family members turned out to honor the stars of Seekonk Speedway’s 62nd consecutive season at the Venus de Milo Restaurant in Swansea, MA on Saturday, January 19. Over a hundred trophies, plaques, and jackets were handed out to the best and the brightest of 2007, including Rehoboth, MA’s David Darling, who earned top honors in the 1/3-mile Bay State oval’s top tier Pro Stock division for the second consecutive season. The 28 year-old and his Johnson Landscaping-Almeida Farms #52 team tied a track record with seven feature victories during the season and earned the highest winning percentage for a season in Seekonk Pro Stock history with 41.2%. They also finished in the top 10 in all 17 races and placed in the top five 14 times.

Pawtucket, RI’s Gerry DeGasparre, Jr., 38, was equally dominant in the Late Model division, posting a career high five wins and 15 top-fives in 18 starts en route to his second straight and third career title. The championship-winning Custom Auto Body-Spumoni’s Restaurant #71 team finished in the top 10 in all 18 races. Sport Truck ace Mike Cavallaro of Seekonk, MA claimed five checkered flags and finished in the top five in 18 of 19 races to successfully defend his ’06 title in the popular pickup class.

Robert “Sparky” Arsenault of Attleboro, MA earned his second career crown in the Street Stocks. Bolstered by 14 top ten finishes in 18 races in the highly competitive division, the 2002 champion took the points lead on the final night of the season. The champions in each of the four Saturday night divisions will embark upon a six-night Caribbean cruise later this month aboard the Radiance of the Seas, courtesy of Cruise Holidays of Lakeville, Royal Caribbean, and Seekonk Speedway.

Swansea, MA’s Bill Chouinard earned three victories and 12 top-fives in 14 races to win the Pure Stock championship. In the twin Seekonk Youth Racing Association classes, Brian Mondeau, 15, of Bridgewater, MA posted three feature wins and earned the 750-restrictor plate class, while 15 year-old Norton, MA rookie Timmy Brown reigned in the 600-plate class, scoring 10 top-fives in 12 starts.

In the Pro Stock division, the Most Improved Driver award went former Late Model champion and Pro Stock Rookie of the Year Mike Brightman of Acushnet, MA, who finished fourth in the championship standings with eight top-five finishes. Former SYRA champion and Late Model and Street Stock Rookie of the Year Matt Hudon, 19, of Acushnet, MA earned the top first year pilot award, finishing eighth in the overall standings.

Acushnet, MA’s Matt Breault, last year’s Most Improved Driver in the Sport Truck ranks, earned the Rookie of the Year trophy in the Late Models, scoring two feature wins along the way. Most Improved Driver award went to second generation racer Kyle Casper of Swansea, MA, whoi finished third in driver points with 12 top-fives and 16 top tens.

Two-time SYRA champion Zach Tucan, 16, of Taunton, MA won three races and finished third in the ’07 Sport Truck chase and was honored as the Rookie of the Year, while second year pilot Andy Jeffery of Middleboro, MA copped the Most Improved Driver award via a fifth place points run.

In the Street Stock division, third-generation racer Rey Lovelace of North Providence, RI finished seventh in points with one win to secure the Most Improved trophy while former Pure Stock racer Dan Lineham of Coventry, RI earned the top Rookie award. In the Seekonk Youth Racing Association, championship winner Mondeau was named Rookie of the Year in the 750 class and Voluntown, CT’s Nick Ladyga, 11, earned the hardware in the 600 class. Most Improved Driver awards were presented to second place point man Brian Como, Jr., 15, of Charlton, MA and sophomore standout Casey Sanchez, 13, of Providence, RI in their respective divisions.

The prestigious D. Anthony Venditti Memorial Award, presented by the late track founder’s family to an individual who has devoted his life to short track auto racing, was given to veteran writer and historian R. A. Silvia. The Warwick, RI resident, who serves as chairman of the NEAR Hall of Fame Veteran’s Committee, has worked tirelessly and effectively to bring honor to many pioneering racers. In 2003, he and fellow archivist Ric Mariscal dug into their own pockets and created the Pronyne Motorsports Museum in Pawtucket, RI, a 7,400 square foot shrine to New England’s stars and cars of yesteryear.

The Anthony Francis Venditti Memorial Award, presented annually to a competitor in appreciation of his sportsmanship, total dedication and selfless giving to the sport, was awarded to four-time Pro Stock champion Rick Martin of Westport, MA.

In the interest of safety, the speedway also announced that it will mandate the use of the Fast Track Medical Response Systems wristbands for drivers and officials in 2008.

Rules for the upcoming racing season are now available on the track’s website. Registrations for all divisions will begin on February 1. Registrations during the month of February are reserved for renewals of numbers used in competition during 2007. All unclaimed numbers will be available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning March 1. For more information, please visit online at www.seekonkspeedway.com or contact the track office directly at (508)-336-9959.

Sources: Todd Baptista/Seekonk Speedway PR