Helping Hand: Seekonk Speedway To Get Assistance From The Barstool Fund

It’s a unique pandemic small business assistance program that has gone viral thanks to having a founder who knows a thing or two about going viral. 

Barstool Sports owner Dave Portnoy kicked off the Barstool Fund in mid-December as a way to help small businesses through the struggles of pandemic restrictions. 

The fund was started with a $500,000 donation from Portnoy and has grown thanks to support from across the globe. As of Tuesday the Barstool Fund had raised just over $35 million and was in place to assist 243 businesses. 

Companies can apply for assistance with needs like rent or taxes, as long as they continue to pay their employees throughout the pandemic.

That 243rd business was a unique one for the roster of companies being helped. The list of businesses being helped by the Barstool Fund is heavily dominated by restaurants and small retail stores of various types. Now they’re adding a little horsepower help. 

Seekonk Speedway management found out Saturday that they will be getting assistance from the Barstool Fund. 

Track general manager Dave Alburn got the call Saturday afternoon from Portnoy. 

“We applied last week,” said Ed St. Germain, director of business development at Seekonk Speedway. “We were looking at it and we were thinking ‘Do we fit into these categories’” “We are a small business.

“We looked into the submission process and we put together a cool little video for it. Filled out all the application stuff. We got contacted looking for some more info and then Dave Alburn got a call from Dave Portnoy on Saturday. It was pretty cool.” 

Continued stringent restrictions on crowds at outdoor events in Massachusetts last year left Seekonk without fans through the 2020 season. The track was not able to run any of it’s Saturday night weekly events or any other large scale racing events. 

“We did kind of get hosed of all the tracks in New England probably the worst last year,” St. Germain said. “This helps a lot. The Barstool thing is something that, I’ve been a fan of [Dave Portnoy] for years. He’s a great personality and he does a lot of cool stuff for small businesses.”

St. Germain said track management is hoping to hear soon that they’ll be able to have at least limited attendance in 2021. 

“We’re applying for different funds and grants anywhere we can just to get us into our regular season,” St. Germain said. “If we can get into our regular season and get fans in the stands again everything will be good. We’ve just got to get to that stage. We’re preparing for this year. We understand that it’s not going to be full attendance, but we’re fully prepared for that. It would be great if it was, but I’m fully prepared to go if we can get something.” 

When the track does get up and running again St. Germain said management is hoping to create a program to pay it forward from the Barstool Fund assistance. 

“We want to create something like [the Barstool Fund] and we can definitely go and build something similar, or we can contribute to the Barstool Fund itself or both,” St. Germain said. “We want to do our own fund and try to kick it back to a local business or a local family or maybe a local racer. Or maybe help someone with a small business that has sponsored a car. We’re going to look at developing our own way to kind of pay it back, pay it forward to the community once we’re back up and running again.” 


  1. Absolutely Awesome !! Dave is a Great Guy…. I have known him and Family for 35 years… They really tried very hard to get the Saturday Night Programs up and running….. But Massachusetts and RI both combined to keep the gates closed… Unfairly in my opinion when all other tracks could operate … Thank you Barstool..!!!!

  2. Well good for Seekonk they did get the short end of the stick. Mainly because they got caught up in the same class as the professional teams that couldn’t have fans as I understand it.
    I know Portnoy is extremely popular with a specific demographic and this charity has benefited from that popularity. My view is the guy is an opportunist that specializes in vulgarity and mainstreaming bad behavior. That’s all probably a generational thing from a geezer out of step and falls into the consider the source category.
    What is really annoying is his manipulating the stock market that he started while being bored during the shut down and continues now. Taking his gambling roots into financial markets that are the lifeblood of the economy playing fast and loose with stocks.
    Publicly brushing off his occasional large losers while using his influence with his massive following to pump and dump stocks he recommends. In the headlines now with that whole RobinHood, AMC, Gamestock debacle playing chicken with hedge funds forcing them to cover their shorts and losing billions in the process. Billions that include hard working Americans 401K’s.
    Smarter then an ancient but reliable Warren Buffet who has been successful over generations he claims. We’ll see about that.
    This being a racing site and Portnoy helping one of the area’s iconic tracks in a jam is great no matter how you slice it. Trusting a gambler like Portnoy with a history of sketchy behavior to be a trusted custodian of the substantial charity it’s become might not be such a good idea.

  3. Nice to see Seekonk getting some help. I have been rather vocal about Seekonk getting screwed through all this by the jurisdictions they reside in. I Keep thinking if any local track could hold a race safely with social distancing in place Seekonk could better than any other track with seats entirely around the track. Say what you want about Portnoy. He and his followers have helped a lot of small businesses through this fund. He should be applauded for that.

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