RPW Column By: STEPHEN DURHAM / RPW – HUDSON, NH – It started out as a discussion of just racing between Derek Griffith and Chad Bryant of Chad Bryant Racing based out of Mooresville, North Carolina. Then the two caught up again in Florida just over a week ago.
That’s how fast a deal came together for the two to run the ARCA Racing Series East event at New Smyrna Speedway.
“Last Wednesday we saw him(Chad Bryant) in Daytona the deal literally just happened and fell together and just was a really awesome deal for myself to be part of for sure,” the 23 year old Griffith explains.
The Chad Bryant Racing 2 machine unloaded and Griffith was setting the bar high on Monday. The Hudson, New Hampshire driver earned the pole in his ARCA Menards Series East debut. He followed that pole up firmly with a second place finish to Sam Mayer.
Griffith led 144 laps in the Bryant Racing Ford and just needed a few more laps to get to Mayer and back out front, but he still held his head high.
“I made the most of an opportunity given to me in a sense, I hope this was able to turn the right people’s heads, it’s a once in lifetime opportunity,” Griffith explains, “hopefully we get some more help to race more of these ARCA races in the future, but still was a perfect opportunity this week.”
Derek’s debut in the ARCA Menards Series East was something out of his comfort zone, but he the track time at New Smyrna helps.
“I have a lot of laps at New Smyrna in the super late model, but that and the ARCA cars are just two completely different animals,” Griffith says “so to get out of my comfort zone and compete against people who have raced in the ARCA or Truck series and run really well against them and almost win is special.”
The New Hampshire driver followed up the spectacular run Monday night with a win over more top notch talent of Ty Majeski and Stephen Nasse.
“That was a huge, especially over Majeski and Nasse, arguably two of the best late model racers out there,” Griffith says, “they made me work for it especially with the restart with 5 to go, but to come down here as a small team out of Tyngsboro, Massachusetts and win is something truly special.”
Derek Griffith continued the successful trip to Florida with second place finishes Wednesday and Thursday night at New Smyrna Speedway.
“We’ve had an awesome week so far, it’s been pretty cool to have these opportunities this week and have great success,” Griffith explains.
The New England driver is very thankful for the crew who’ve been with him since getting into late models.
“Louie a, my crew chief I have worked with him since 2011. We work fulltime jobs, but at 5 or 6 in the evening, we are back in the shop,” Griffith says “Louie’s sister Dolly who is my spotter, that whole Mechalides family, I don’t know where I’d be without them, I’d still be running mini stocks somewhere if it wasn’t for them.”
Griffith says there are some sponsors who’ve been with him since day one.
“FE Provencher Insurance who have been on my mini stock at Hudson Speedway, Hudson Speedway this year came on board to help sponsor as well, and all the sponsors, the list goes on and on,” the Hudson driver explains.
After Derek finishes up at New Smyrna Sunday, he says there is no set schedule yet, but his calendar is full of racing ranging from PASS North races to back south with the PASS South races and hopefully back to the ARCA Menards Series East tour.