Story By: MIKE PARKS / GRANITE STATE PRO STOCK SERIES – CLAREMONT, NH – The Granite State Pro Stock Series held its biggest event ever on Sunday and Derek Griffith dominated the day.
It was a picture perfect day for racing in southern New Hampshire as the gates swung open for an incredible day of racing at Claremont Motorsports Park. The highlight of the day would be the presentation of the $10,000 check to the races winner but qualifying and 150 laps of intense racing had to take place first.
As the Crazy Horse Racing fast time challenge played out, two things became apparent. First; Derek Griffith was going to be a force to be reckoned with and second; point leader Ray Christian III was in trouble.
In time trials Griffith would come up short of the track record by just five one hundredths of a second but would earn the right to start at the front of the first heat race. Youngster Gabe Brown would time trial an impressive second with Wayne Helliwell Jr taking home the last of the Crazy Horse Racing fast time challenge bonus money.
GSPSS point leader Ray Christian III would time trial a disappointing thirteenth after breaking a part in the rear end in practice and his point lead would be in jeopardy. Joey “Pole” Polewarczyk came into the race second in points and time trialed eighth while Angelo Belsito came in third in the standings and laid down the fifth quickest lap.
Moving on to heat races Griffith continued his stellar performance, comfortably winning his heat race over Belsito and Helliwell. The second heat would go to Brown with hometown driver Luke Hinkley and “Pole” picking up second and third.
In the GSPSS redraw it was Griffith who would draw first and continuing his perfect day, he would pull pill number one giving him the pole for the Newport Chevrolet 150. As he looked down at the number one he would comment, “Merry Christmas to me”!
At the drop of the green Griffith would jump out to the lead and never look back. He would lead every lap, at times leading by half a lap and putting cars a lap down at a furious rate. The Hudson NH driver would lap into the top ten and never be seriously challenged.
“I’ve got to thank my guys”, said Griffith in victory lane. “We were horrible early in practice and they worked their butts off to get it better. By the time we got to time trials and the race, this thing was a rocket ship”.
Griffith, a former champion of the series, was racing in his first GSPSS event of the season. “It’s always nice to come home and race with Granite State”, said Griffith in a moment of recollection. “This track is where I got my first touring series win so to come back and win this race is awesome”
Angelo Belsito came into the event needing to close the gap in the point standings and did just that. Belsito would finish second but showed his disappointment after the race. “We missed it just a little bit today”, said the driver from Auburn MA. “We needed one more adjustment to run with Derek. I really wanted to win this one and just didn’t get it done. He had the faster car today.”
Gabe Brown would wind up in third after putting together his best run ever with the series. “We have struggled here in the past so It was nice to come here and have a good run”, said Brown. “We’ll be back and maybe next time we can get that checkered flag”.
Cory Casagrande would put together a late charge and finish a solid fourth while defending series champion Joey Doiron would round out the top five.
Second place in the series point standings Joey “Pole” would fall to sixth late in the going after running in the top four for most of the day with local driver Luke Hinkley in seventh and two time champion Mike O’Sullivan in eighth.
Rounding out the top ten would be second year driver Jake Matheson and veteran Josh King.
Up next for the series is a Friday night September 18 visit to the Star Speedway in Epping New Hampshire for the annual Star Classic. This event has become a favorite for fans and competitors alike. Last years event came down to a final laps door banging affair between eventual champion Doiron and race winner Ray Christain III.
1 – 12 Derek Griffith
2 – 8 Angelo Belsito
3 – 47 Gabe Brown
4 – 7 Cory Casagrande
5 – 73 Joey Doiron
6 – Joey Polewarczyk
7 – 31 Luke Hinkley
8 – 08 Mike O’Sullivan
9 – 52 Jake Matheson
10 – 21 Josh King
11 – 90 Casey Call
12 -10 Ryan Lineham
13 -48 Larry Gelinas
14 -11 Aaron Fellows
15 -55 Cody LeBlanc
16 – 93 Ray Christian III
17 – Wayne Helliwell Jr
18 – 18 Mike Scorzelli
19 – 18 John Lowinski-Loh
20 – 29 Barry Gray
21 – 76 Gerry Gamarlo
Contingency Awards :
Sunoco Race Fuels heat race winners – 5gallons of race fuel – 12g Derek Griffith, 47 Gabe Brown
AR Bodies hard luck award – $100 product certificate – 93ct Ray Christian III
Crazy Horse Fast Time Challenge – 1st $125 -12g Derek Griffith – 2nd $75 – 47 Gabe Brown – 3rd $50 – 27nh Wayne Helliwell Jr
Magnus Performance Parts – 7th place finisher $100 product certificate – 31nh Luke Hinkley
Matco Tools : product certificates – winner $75 – 12g Derek Griffith – Random Draw $75 – to be drawn at the next event
American Racer Hard Charger – one free tire – 7ct Cory Casagrande
Speed 51 leader at lap 51 – $51 – 12g Derek Griffith