The Graduate: Austin Bessette Grabs High School Diploma And Limited Late Model Win Friday

Austin Bessette

Austin Bessette

STAFFORD – When it came down to the decision between high school graduation ceremony and competing in the Limited Late Model division at Stafford Motor Speedway Friday, a diploma in hand took precedence for Austin Bessette.

Bessette resigned himself to the fact that he would miss Friday’s Limited Late Model feature at Stafford Speedway to be able to participate in his graduation from Cheney Tech in Manchester.

But Bessette, of Stafford, went from thinking he wasn’t going to be racing to running away from the field on the way to victory in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature Friday at Stafford.

“We got here and I wasn’t expecting to racing,” Bessette said. “I was just being hopeful and it ended up perfect.”

Duane Provost of Springfield was second and Glenn Bartkowski of Manchester third.

With his diploma in hand and the ceremony over in Manchester, Bessette was a passenger in his first race of the night: Getting to the track on time.

“I said goodbye to everyone quick, got my diploma, and hauled butt [to Stafford],” Bessette said. “My dad drove and I was changing in the car. … We pulled in [to the track], my dad dropped me off at the gate, and I ran to my car because I was supposed to be going out. I literally just made it.”

After arrival the rest was celebratory cake for Bessette. He went to the lead on the first lap and then checked out from the field, beating Provost to the checkered by more than a straightaway.

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