Story By: KYLE SOUZA / GRANINTE STATE PRO STOCK SERIES – WALPOLE, NH – When the Granite State Pro Stock Series (GSPSS) rolls into Stafford Motor Speedway on April 24 for the Casagrande Builders 75, the battle for the 2021 series championship begins at one of New England’s most historic tracks.
In the Granite State debut at Stafford, there will be countless invaders looking to steal the show, but the war inside the battle will be the start of the championship season for the GSPSS. As part of a 15-race schedule in 2021, competitors will be tested throughout the summer, starting at Stafford, to become masters of consistency if they want to compete for the crown.
Defending series champion Joey Pole is on the entry list, set for his first-ever laps at Stafford, while names like Angelo Belsito, Gabe Brown, Josh King, Mike O’Sullivan, Luke Hinckley and more are expected. Most of the competitors have no previous laps at Stafford — which may prove to be a bit of a steep learning curve from the drop of the green flag in practice.
Gabe Brown, who finished eighth in the point standings last year, is hoping he will be able to hold the championship trophy with Granite State this season. As a rising star, Brown became the youngest weekly champion in the history of Oxford Plains Speedway in 2018 at the age of 15, and has become a contender touring New England.
Like many, it will be his first laps at Stafford and he’s not sure what to expect, but isn’t going in with high expectations.
“To be honest I’m not that excited at all to go to Stafford, I think it’s great that the Granite State Pro Stock Series is going there, but it’s just not a track for me that I’m looking to start my year off well with,” Brown said. “We just want to get through Stafford and then go to Monadnock Speedway for race two with some higher expectations. It’s definitely going to be a learning curve at Stafford. I honestly hope it is nothing like iRacing, because if it is, I’m in trouble.”
Brown, who has proven in weekly competition at Oxford that he has what it takes to win the championship, wants to score his first win. That is one task he hopes to knock off his bucket list as the season gets underway.
“At this point, I’m going to race for wins anywhere that I go,” Brown said. “It’s really a kick in the ba*** not having a win yet, so we are going there to win. Hopefully that will put us with a lot of strong runs during the year. We have the team to do it. We have the cars to do it. It just has to all come into play for us and I think it will this year.”
Casey Call, who is the defending Granite State Pro Stock Series Rookie of the Year, is on the opposite side of the fence. He’s looking forward to visiting Stafford and learning what it might take to run competitively against a stout field.
“We are always looking forward to racing at new tracks,” Call said. “We have never been to Stafford, so learning the track itself is going to be the biggest learning curve for me.”
Additional drivers entered to compete in the Casagrande Builders 75 include former series champions Derek Griffith and Devin O’Connell, multiple-time Stafford SK Modified champion Keith Rocco, Cory Casagrande, Bryan Kruzcek, multiple-time Seekonk Speedway champion David Darling, Joey Doiron and more. A full entry list for the race is available on the Stafford Motor Speedway website.
The Granite State Pro Stock Series opens the 2021 season as part of the NAPA Auto Parts Opening Weekend at Stafford Motor Speedway on Saturday, April 24. A limited amount of tickets are still available to be purchased online at Staffordmotorspeedway.com/store. Capacity restrictions are in place due to COVID-19 guidelines from the state of Connecticut.
The GSPSS Casagrande Builders 75 will be joined by the SK Modifieds (40 laps), Late Models (30 laps), Limited Late Models (20 laps) and Street Stocks (20 laps). Practice begins at 11 a.m., with GSPSS time trials set for 1:30 p.m. and qualifying at 2 p.m. Feature racing will follow.
Tickets are $35 for adult general admission, $25 for children ages 6-14 and kids 5 and under are free.