Seekonk, MA — Since the passing of Seekonk Speedway founder D. Anthony Venditti, only one race has been able to uphold the legacy of a man that was know as much for his way of thinking to his love of auto racing. Over the 40+ years of owning and operating “The Action Track of the East”, Anthony always looked for the next star, the next class, and the future of the sport. Two of his creations will take center stage on the weekend of October 11 and 12.
In the mid 1970′s, the big block modifieds were starting to price themselves too high. Anthony came out with a solution. Thus, the small block modified, which reigns as one of the most popular and competitive open wheel class on the east coast, was born. Later that same decade, The Godfather, as he became known, started to think about the next evolution. In 1978, the All Pro division joined forces with his Late Model class. A name change in ’79, they became as the Pro Stocks. By 1984, they were the headlining division at the 1/3 mile oval.
The first D.A.V. Fall Classic was held in the fall of 1992, as the season closer. The roots of this event were small, as only the Seekonk A.R.C. divisions would compete. Rick Martin would gain the victory that day in the Pro Stocks, with Rick Hanatow, Jeff Waterman, Kevin Casper and Stacey Holewiak also capturing their classes.
In 1993, the NEMA Midgets were added to the affair, with Greg Stohr picking up that win. Over the years, Legend Cars, Allison Legacy, Pro4 Modifieds, American Race Trucks, and even the SK Modifieds have been added to the mix, trying to complete the perfect recipe. The Mods came back earlier this decade, and it harkens back to the days of the Eastern Fall Classic of the early 1980′s.
The modifieds ran sparingly over the next 20 years at Seekonk, while continuing on elsewhere. In 2005, Jack Bateman founded the True Value Modified Racing Series. Together with over 20 drivers from all of the New England States, and some from New York toured throughout New England, and closed their season at Seekonk for their first championship. Les Hinckley was the driver to sit in Victory Lane that first visit. Andy Seuss, Kirk Alexander and Vinny Annarummo have all celebrated with the DAV Checkered Flag.
With an open competition rule package for all of the Seekonk regular classes, outsiders from all over the northeast are expected to invade the Cement Palace. Outsiders have been known to take home the Seekonk Gold in these events. Jeff Stevens won in 1996, and former Monadnock speedway champion Russ Hersey took home the honors a decade later in ’06. Jeff Zuidema, Dave Dion, Norm Wrenn, Todd Owen, Johnny Clarke, Larry Gelinas and many others have tried to win this prestigious event, but have come up short over the years. Will any of these competitors, or any others brave enough, be able to come in and compete with Fred Astle, Tom Scully Sr and Jr, Dave Darling, Ken Spencer or any of the others that have been honing their skills at one of the toughest ovals in the country? Or will defending champion Matt Hudon become the first driver to win two in a row since Dave Darling did it in 2004/2005?
The NEMA Midgets have been a mainstay in this event for over 15 years, and continue to put different faces in Victory Lane. From Greg Stoehr’s winning the first NEMA DAV event in 1994 to Bobby Santos III sitting in DAV Victory Lane in 2007, the Midgets continue their tradition at the track that hosted their first event on May 30, 1953. This years’ event will be just after their 900th event in NEMA history.
With the Late Models, Street Stocks, Seekonk Sport Trucks and the Seekonk Youth Racing Association running open competition events, and the Pure Stocks and the NEMA Lites part of the program, the action will be strong all weekend long. Qualifying will be held on Saturday for all classes, as well as several features. On Sunday, the annual Seekonk Pit Party will be held, followed by twin 100 lappers for the Pro Stocks and the True Value Modifieds, along with main events for the Late Models, NEMA Midgets, Seekonk Sport Trucks and the Street Stocks. Practice will be held on Friday, October 10 for all divisions, except for the True Value Modifieds, as their rules prohibit practice two weeks prior to race day.
General admission for the Classic is $25.00 for adults and $5.00 for children 12 and under. Pit admission is $35.00. All prices include Saturday and Sunday. Practice on Friday is $20.00 per person through the pits only. The grandstands will not be open on Friday. You can check for any updates, and print your general admission tickets from our website at www.seekonkspeedway.com.
Sources: Kevin Boucher/Seekonk Speedway PR