Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
8/14/23 5:57 p.m.

Yesterday, I found myself at Seekonk Speedway, a very small oval paved track in Seekonk, MA, which resides right on the MA/RI border. My wife and I took our 4yo nephew to a local monster truck event there, and to my surprise, there was another attraction on the bill: the East Coast Towing & Recovery Spectator Drags. 

Now, I've heard stories from the locals on what this is, and it basically goes like this: 

It's a racing series that happens from time to time during local events at the Seekonk Speedway, and the ruleset is simple: pay $40, bring your "street-legal" car along with your license to the track, and race one-on-one with other people on the oval. Races are a single lap, and whoever wins moves on. There are points associated with winning races, and the most points at the end of the season wins the season and some sort of prize/trophy, etc. As far as I can tell, there are zero rules governing the cars, other than they have to be street cars, and they can run/drive/not leak fluids all over the place. 

In practice, it results in a menagerie of random stuff showing up to race:

Most stuff in the pic is V8 Chevy-powered, but other stuff showed up, too. If you were wondering where approximately half the running 3rd Gen F-Bodies in southern New England were yesterday, they were on this track. The others were probably up at New England Dragway or at a local car show. 

That said, there were some interesting rides in attendance:

This 1983-86 Thunderbird looked great and was 5.0-powered judging by the noises it was making. It was not very fast, though. At least it looked cool!

That's a heavily modded Subaru Outback XT and a Ford SVT Contour. That poor Contour has to be one of the last ones left, and it was vastly outclassed by everything else there. The announcers were ragging on it the whole time. That Outback is the series leader right now, believe it or not. 

Street machine wagons always do it for me, and this Malibu was no exception. It had massive tires and hooked really well. 

A down and dirty teal GMT400 wearing Corvette salad shooters? Put that right in my veins! This one was quick, too. 

This one was billed as a '49 Ford F100, but I have no idea what was going on chassis or engine-wise. It ruled and was fast. 

It also spun out at the end of the race trying to overcorrect in the last turn. And that's the other thing: collisions can and DO happen. This spinout just hurt his pride. He owned it and did a donut for the crowd after. 

DSMs are all but extinct up here, so when I saw this clean 1st Gen Talon wearing the best color combo of white with the black roof, my heart was happy. This one was mean, easily dusting this Golf R and a nasty 4th Gen Camaro, too. 

I love a good sleeper, and this Squarebody C10 Custom Deluxe was the business. I watched this thing... all of this thing... out-corner and overpower a couple of really nasty F-Bodies. It snuck around the last turn on one on the inside and I was NOT expecting that. No one in the building was, either! The place went nuts! 

And then there's this S10. This is the clear star of the show, and the local favorite/hero. I've heard many, many stories about this guy and how fast this Blazer is. I heard a blowoff valve, so I'm guessing a turbo LS is under the hood. Put it this way: he would launch hard and idle the rest of the way around the track about 8 car lengths in front of whatever lined up against him. 

Other than those, there were tons of C4 Vettes, F-Bodies, a turbo Civic coupe, VW stuff, and even a late model Audi S4. Everyone but the S10 drove to the event on the street with no trailer. This is as "grassroots" as you can get. Down and dirty racing at its finest. For this type of stuff, I still prefer the quarter mile, but this was really interesting to watch. Even my nephew, who wanted to see the monster trucks, told me that this was better! 

Do they do this near you? 

nlevine Reader
8/14/23 6:12 p.m.

Tberg Media on YouTube has a whole library of spectator drags videos from Seekonk and other tracks in New England like Oxford, Maine (and I think they went to the Freedom Factory in Florida to film their events). Had a buddy that entered his E36 M3 Lightweight in one of those races at Seekonk many many years ago. 

I've seen that Blazer on video and it is insane! There have been some quick Subies as well. Saw a pretty fast built Audi in one of the videos, too, in addition to the American iron...

jharry3 Dork
8/14/23 6:42 p.m.

Seems like "Are you faster than a Redneck" redux.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
8/14/23 9:30 p.m.

I've watched these too. 

jamscal Dork
8/14/23 9:38 p.m.

I really like it...I follow them on IG

Duke MegaDork
8/14/23 9:46 p.m.

What I don't get about this is the willingness to make contact in some pretty nice vehicles.


RacetruckRon SuperDork
8/15/23 1:24 a.m.

I've seen that Blazer make some pretty stupid moves on Facebook and Instagram videos.  The truck is fast but that driver bets on his opponent not wanting to have their car get kamikaze'd.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
8/15/23 5:30 a.m.

The thing that gets me about this (and some of you as well) is why someone would take a fairly nice ride and be willing to make contact on the track to win. I don't get it either. What I can say is most of these cars were in the open pit area for people to check out, and up close, they weren't as nice as they look out on the track. Even the nicest ones are 20-footers at best, so I think the more experienced people know that they might get banged up a bit. Hell, there was a Forester Sports XT out there with some extensive "natural weight reduction" in the rear quarters. These were closer to banger endurance cars than show cars. 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
8/15/23 6:55 a.m.

In reply to Tony Sestito :

Twenty footers at best. That explains a lot. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/15/23 9:17 a.m.

Yes! I remember seeing some “spectator drags” when my dad once took me to a local oval track–one of the Long Island tracks but which one escapes me at the moment. Freeport, maybe?

Seemed a little sketchy even to my elementary school brain. Fun, though. :)

tb Dork
8/15/23 10:10 a.m.

Nice write up! I have been to Seekonk and done the spectator thing years ago. None of the domestic v8 crowd was happy to see fast imports show up, especially if we were willing to trade paint... 


Did very well in my hillclimb prepped dsm despite attempts at protest and sabotage! 



Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
8/15/23 10:57 a.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Yeah, it's a bit sketchy. Dicey, even! Seems like there's a lot of trash talking and other BS that comes with the territory as well. Again, I prefer the "street night" test & tune drag racing at a real track like New England Dragway for this flavor of heads-up racing. It's safer, sanctioned, and still delivers the same type of entertainment and thrill. It's also in my opinion a better measuring stick of what your car can do, rather than how willing you are to smack someone else's car to win. 

frenchyd MegaDork
8/15/23 12:05 p.m.

I remember Hobby stock.  Bash in a fender/ door/ etc. unbolt it, call around junkyards for a similar color one and bolt it back on

  .   It's been 7 years since I last bought a nice rust free fender  @$100 

JimS Reader
8/15/23 2:36 p.m.

I spent many a Saturday night at Seekonk in late 50's early 60's when flathad Fords were the main attraction. I'm surprised but glad that track still exists. I watch the spectater drags on yt. 

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