Seekonk Speedway Crowns 2006 Points Champions

By Todd Baptista
Seekonk, MA -- Rehoboth, MA's David Darling never led a lap in 2006, but employed a successful blend of patience and consistency that culminated in the third-generation racer earning the A. R. C. Pro Stock championship at Seekonk Speedway on Saturday night. The Johnson Landscaping-Almeida Farms-sponsored #52 Dodge scored eight top-five and twelve top-ten finishes in 13 starts over the course of the season. Second-generation standout Todd Annarummo also stood in the spotlight, capturing his third win of the year in the 1/3-mile Bay State oval's 40-lap Pro Stock feature.

Tom Furtado paced the initial 23 circuits before rookie Rob Murphy powered by on the second restart of the event. Annarummo, who started eleventh, closed to second after a multi-car pileup involving front-runners Charlie Rose, Tom Scully Sr., Dean Pettey, and Mike Brightman brought out the third of four yellows with 26 laps completed. Annarummo charged into the lead when the green flag was unfurled, and paced the final 14 laps without incident to claim his seventh career Seekonk victory.

Murphy earned a season-best second, finishing ahead of championship runner-up Vinnie Annarummo, Tom Scully, Jr., and Darling. "I definitely like taking victory laps with the checkered flag, but we've done a lot of those," Darling stated after clinching the title. "A championship is something special. When you take the point lead two weeks into the season like we did, you have to drive a little differently. I'd honestly have preferred to be racing for a win every week and not watching points, but I know this will be really special once it sinks in, and (at the banquet) in January. I owe a lot to my crew, (chief) Ronnie (Pond), Pete, Tom, and my car owner, Gary Johnson. I can't thank him enough, as well as my wife, and our nine-month old daughter, Sophie." Darling's father, Wayne, captured Seekonk's Mini-Stock championship in 1972.

Positions six through ten in Saturday's feature went to Furtado, Fred Astle, Jr., Steve O'Brien, John Dabrowski, and Ray Parent.

For the first time this season, Pawtucket, RI's Gerry DeGasparre, Jr. failed to finish in the top five in the 25-lap Late Model main, but that didn't stop the 2003 track titleholder from earning his second career championship in the second tier class. Former Sport Truck champion Kyle Casper went green to checker in the event, which was slowed for caution only once. While Casper opened up a six-car advantage over the rest of the field, Barry Shaw, Jr., Kevin Casper, Glenn Lawton, and Matt Hudon put on a torrid battle for the remaining top five spots with Shaw edging championship runner-up Lawton at the line for the bridesmaid's spot.

Hudon, Casper, and DeGasparre rounded out the top six. "Dad, we love you and we miss you," DeGasparre summed, referring to his car owner-father who has been absent from the speedway for several weeks due to illness. Ryan Vanasse finished seventh, ahead of Robin Sloane, Jon Dickerman, and Mike Becker.

Brockton, MA's John Dumas came from fourth to first on the initial lap and led every circuit of the 20-lap Sport Truck affair to post his first Seekonk win in over six years. Dumas held off the advances of Hugh Bowser and former two-time track champ Billy Prisco to claim the checkers. Prisco finished second, followed by Bowser, Adam Murphy, David Haywood, Rookie of the Year hopeful Adam Saleeba, and Andy Jeffrey.

Twenty-five year veteran Mike Cavallaro crossed the line eighth to claim his first track championship. "We didn't make it to the front tonight, we got caught in traffic," remarked the Seekonk, MA native, who has posted seven feature wins in each of the past two seasons. "All in all, though, it was a good race. We have no primary sponsors. I do all of the welding and make my own body parts on the truck. This division fits my budget well. I'd like to thank my crew and all of our associate sponsors for their help."

Former Rookie of the Year Mike Taschereau of West Warwick, RI became the 12th different winner in 14 Street Stock events this season, passing rookie Patrick Delaney on lap 16 en route to victory in the 20-lap affair. Taschereau, who missed the previous week's event after suffering a blown motor in warm-ups, crossed the line three-quarters of a second ahead of Paul Lallier. Rookie point leader Delaney earned a season-best third, followed by Ron Barboza, Jr., and Al Clements IV, who successfully defended his 2005 championship commuting each week from his home in Oaks Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard. "Trying to maintain a successful race team from the island all season isn't an easy thing to do," the second generation racer admitted. "I want to thank my crew, my family, our friends at Pettey Motorsports, our sponsors, and everyone who made this possible for us."

Zach Tucan, 15, of Taunton, MA, posted his fifth win of the season in the Mystic Pizza-sponsored Seekonk Youth Racing Association's 750-restrictor plate class, earning his second consecutive track championship in the process. Frank Perry was second across the line but was disqualified in the post-race technical inspection, moving second place points finisher Mike Panciocco and last year's 600-plate driver's champion, Chris Robinson, up to second and third. In the 600-plate division, 15-year old rookie Kyle Tringali of Plymouth, MA literally rolled to the championship, bouncing back from a scary mid-race flip to finish fourth, claming the title by a single-digit margin. Fellow Plymouth teen Matthew Burke won his fifth 15-lapper of the campaign, besting Derryck Anderson, Jr., and Dylan Estrella.

In the 20-lap Pure Stock feature, Swansea, MA's Randy Arruda moved one step closer to successfully defending his title, passing second-place finisher John Robidoux on the 13th go-around to record his fifth victory of 2006. Bill Chouinard, Steven Hayward, and Mark Boisvert rounded out the top five.

The final night racing program of the season is slated for this Saturday evening, September 30. On the program are the third annual D. A. Venditti Memorial "Mighty Mini-Cup Challenge", the final points race and crowning of the champion for the Kraze Korlacki Speed Equipment-sponsored Pure Stock class, an appearance by the Allison Legacy Cars, the Legend and Dwarf car touring groups, and a special match race between Late Model aces Gerry DeGasparre, Jr. and Glenn Lawton. The duo, who have accumulated more feature wins than anyone currently competing in the class, will battle it out one-on-one, in a special $1,000 winner-take-all match race. Tickets are priced at $12 for adult grandstand general admission, with juniors 13 to 15 years of age admitted for just $4. Children 12 and under are admitted free.

The season winds down the following weekend with the annual D. Anthony Venditti Memorial Festival of Racing, featuring open competition events for Pro Stocks, Late Models, Sport Trucks, and Street Stocks, as well as appearances by the True Value Modified Racing Series, Northeastern Midget Association, USAC Ford Focus Midget Series, and the Pro Four Modifieds. Qualifying begins at 1 PM on Saturday, October 7. Features begin on Sunday, October 8, at 1 PM. Lap money and a $50,000 purse are on the line for the weekend's traditional season-ending events, which will feature nearly 700 laps of green flag racing. Two-day grandstand admission tickets are priced at $25 with two-day pit admission tickets priced at $35. An open practice session for all DAV competitors will take place on Friday, October 6, from 10 AM to 4 PM.

For more information on the final events of the 2006 season, please visit online at www.seekonkspeedway.com or contact the track office directly Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 AM and 5 PM at (508)-336-9959.

Pro Stock Feature (40 laps)
1. #10-Todd Annarummo, Swansea, MA
2. #98-Rob Murphy, Rochester, MA
3. #11-Vinnie Annarummo, Swansea, MA
4. #2-Tom Scully, Jr., Cranston, RI
5. #52-David Darling, Rehoboth, MA
6. #5-Tom Furtado, Taunton, MA
7. #30-Fred Astle, Jr., Westport, MA
8. #95-Steve O'Brien, Scituate, MA
9. #00-John Dabrowski, West Bridgewater, MA
10. #17-Ray Parent, Tiverton, RI

Late Model Feature (25 laps)
1. #28-Kyle Casper, Somerset, MA
2. #85-Barry Shaw, Jr., Holbrook, MA
3. #70-Glenn Lawton, Acushnet, MA
4. #22-Matt Hudon, Acushnet, MA
5. #88-Kevin Casper, Somerset, MA
6. #71-Gerry DeGasparre, Jr., Pawtucket, RI
7. #11-Ryan Vanasse, Warwick, RI
8. #81-Robin Sloane, East Providence, RI
9. #13-Jon Dickerman, Weymouth, MA
10. #00-Mike Becker, Avon, MA

Sport Truck Feature (20 laps)
1. #04-John Dumas, Brockton, MA
2. #94-Bill Prisco, Cranston, RI
3. #22-Hugh Bowser, Taunton, MA
4. #81-Adam Murphy, Rochester, MA
5. #24-David Haywood, Tiverton, RI
6. #25-Adam Saleeba, Seekonk, MA
7. #2-Andy Jeffrey, Middleboro, MA
8. #80-Mike Cavallaro, Seekonk, MA
9. #01-Brian Clarke, Seekonk, MA
10. #21-John Paiva, Fall River, MA

Street Stock Feature (20 laps)
1. #33-Mike Taschereau, West Warwick, RI
2. #77-Paul Lallier, Pawtucket, RI
3. #71-Patrick Delaney, Swansea, MA
4. #2-Ron Barboza, Jr., Warren, RI
5. #99-Al Clements IV, Oak Bluffs, MA
6. #04-Steve Axon, Attleboro, MA
7. #76-John Hanafin, Quincy, MA
8. #39-Mike Lema, Taunton, MA
9. #19-Ryan Lineham, Coventry, RI
10. #40-Michael Mitchell, Manville, RI

SYRA-750 Feature (15 laps)
1. #3-Zach Tucan, Taunton, MA
2. #24-Mike Panciocco, Johnston, RI
3. #9-Chris Robinson, West Warwick, RI
4. #77-Emily Santor, Norwood, MA
5. #6-Mike Crawford, Plymouth, MA

SYRA-600 Feature (15 laps)
1. #55-Matthew Burke, Plymouth, MA
2. #65-Derryck Anderson, Jr., Warwick, RI
3. #46-Dylan Estrella, North Attleboro, MA
4. #43-Kyle Tringali, Plymouth, MA
5. #22-Brian Mondeau, Bridgewater, MA
6. #2-Timmy Brown, Norton, MA
7. #28-Jariah Roderick, East Taunton, MA
8. #12-Stephen Gardiner, Jr., North Attleboro, MA
9. #5-Casey Sanchez, Providence, RI
10. #56-Jacob Swift, Fairhaven, MA

Pure Stock Feature (20 laps)
1. #5-Randy Arruda, Swansea, MA
2. #93-John Robidoux, Swansea, MA
3. #8-William Chouinard, Swansea, MA
4. #38-Steven Hayward, Halifax, MA
5. #47-Mark Boisvert, Uxbridge, MA
6. #44x-Chris Harvie, Hyannis, MA
7. #01-Scott Cestodio, Swansea, MA
8. #33-Ray Gosson, East Taunton, MA
9. #77-Carlos Silva, Swansea, MA
10. #36-John Frias, Fairhaven, MA

2006 Champions:
Pro Stock: #52-David Darling, Rehoboth, MA
Late Model: #71-Gerry DeGasparre, Jr., Pawtucket, RI
Sport Truck: #80-Mike Cavallaro, Seekonk, MA
Street Stock: #99-Al Clements IV, Oak Bluffs, MA
SYRA 750: #3-Zach Tucan, Taunton, MA
SYRA 600: #43-Kyle Tringali, Plymouth, MA