Hudson, NH- Brad Babb fended off threats from Barry Gray and Matt Frahm to claim the victory in the Hudson Hugger at Hudson International Speedway, recording his first victory with the Granite State Pro Stock Series (GSPSS).
Adam Norton led the field to green in his second race for the series in 2014, with Babb starting to his outside. Babb would nudge ahead to lead the first lap, eventually clear Norton, and begin to pull away from the field. Bobby Baillargeon, who was looking to grab his third straight Hudson Hugger win, bounced off the front stretch wall on lap 9, bringing out the first of six cautions of the day. Babb jumped to the lead once more, as a good battle between Frahm, Gray, Dillon Moltz, and Derek Griffith brewed behind him. Griffith’s day would begin to turn sour as his LCM/FEP Insurance Toyota brought out the caution on lap 37. Multiple tries to complete the lap ensued, but the caution flew two more times, including a chain-reaction incident which sent Moltz down pit road, before the field settled in for another green flag run.
Hometown driver Griffith and pole-sitter Norton tangled on lap 54, bringing Frahm back to the outside of Babb. Frahm couldn’t find the grip on the outside, settling directly behind Babb’s bumper until the final caution, a Griffith spin in turn 3, giving Frahm another chance to unseat Babb out of the top spot. Babb would fend off the point leader on the restart, but Frahm turned the wick up with 5 laps remaining, swinging his Lambert Roofing/WDW Machine Chevrolet to the high side once more. Babb, a third generation driver, would hold onto the top spot to pick up his first victory with the series, as well as his first victory outside of his home track, Beech Ridge Motor Speedway. Frahm crossed the line only a half car length away from the top spot, finishing second for the second week in a row. Barry Gray secured the third spot, with Moltz battling back to fourth, and Larry Gelinas nabbing the fifth spot.
“At the beginning of the race, the car was so good,” said Babb. “I told (the crew) on the first caution I haven’t had a car this good in two years. To win somewhere other than at home (Beech Ridge Motor Speedway) means so much to me. To have someone challenge me, to not just drive away with it, means even more.”
Babb and Frahm, while battling multiple times, had plenty of respect for each other under green flag conditions. “Matt (Frahm) and I are good friends. I really respect him for not getting into me. I told him next time he needs a break, he’s got it.”
Frahm, who increased his point lead over Larry Gelinas, also touched on the respect between himself and Babb. “There’s a lot of good drivers out here, but it’s racing, sometimes their heads get a little hot,” remarked the series leader in victories. “The last couple of races we’ve had some good shows, and I hope this continues to carry through. I’m glad for Brad (Babb), glad for the team, they work hard just like us.”
Gray, who recorded his 18th top 10 finish with his third place at the Hudson Hugger, liked the balance of his Meadow’s Motor Cars/Hawley’s Auto Repair Chevrolet in the opening laps of the race. “I really thought we were going to be able to get these guys,” the Belchertown, MA driver spoke. “My goal is to take this car home in one piece, and that’s what we did. These guys are tough competitors, they’re good, and they run all out every single lap, so you don’t really get to save your stuff for the end. Sometimes at the end of the race, you don’t always have it.”
Norton would rebound from multiple trips down pit road to finish 6th on the night. Bryon Baker finished 7th, Griffith salvaged an 8th place spot, with Keith Caruso and Josh King rounding out the top 10. Babb’s victory marks the 8th different winner in as many races in the 2014 for the GSPSS. With only Star, White Mountain Motorsports Park, and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park left on the schedule, there is a chance the streak will continue until the end of the 2014 season. Norton and Babb scored heat victories.
The first round of the GSPSS Tournament Challenge presented by Victory Lane Radio and 360 Design Lab went into the books at the Hudson Hugger as well. With his victory, Brad Babb advanced over Cory Robert, Matt Frahm bested Dillon Moltz by virtue of his second place finish, Larry Gelinas finished 4 spots ahead of Keith Caruso to move on in the tournament, and Barry Gray beat Derek Griffith with his podium finish. The tournament will continue at Star Speedway, with Larry Gelinas taking on Barry Gray, and Matt Frahm pitted against Brad Babb.
The Granite State Pro Stock Series will take a week off, but will come back with a bang as part of the Star Classic at Star Speedway in Epping, NH on September 6th. The season will continue on September 20th at White Mountain Motorsports Park, and finish on October 18th-19th at the World Series at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. For more information on the Granite State Pro Stock Series, contact Mike Parks at firstname.lastname@example.org, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @GSProStocks, or visit our website, www.gspss.net.
Hudson Hugger Results
POS (Start) Driver Hometown
1. (2) Brad Babb Windham, ME
2. (7) Matt Frahm Hampstead, NH
3. (3) Barry Gray Belchertown, MA
4. (6) Dillon Moltz Waterford, CT
5. (4) Larry Gelinas Buxton, ME
6. (1) Adam Norton Ludlow, MA
7. (11) Bryon Baker Claremont, NH
8. (10) Derek Griffith Hudson, NH
9. (9) Keith Caruso Milbury, MA
10. (13) Josh King Vernon, VT
11. (5) Wayne Helliwell, JR Dover, NH
12. (12) Cory Robert Canaan, NH
13. (8) Bobby Baillargeon Kingston, NH
CONTINGENCY AWARDS Winner
AR Bodies (Hard Luck) Bobby Baillargeon
Bond Auto Parts (Last car on lead lap) Josh King
Crazy Ed’s Powersports (Hard Charger) Matt Frahm
Draco Springs Award (Most positions gained) Matt Frahm
Five Star Stock Car Bodies (5th place finisher) Larry Gelinas
MacLellan Metal Finishing (Heat #1 Winner) Adam Norton
MacLellan Metal Finishing (Heat #2 Winner) Brad Babb
Racer’s Depot (Random drawing) Cory Robert
RB Performance (4th place finisher) Dillon Moltz
RB Performance (7th place finisher) Bryon Baker
Sherwood Wheels (10th place finisher) Josh King
Sunoco Race Fuels (Heat #1 Winner) Adam Norton
Sunoco Race Fuels (Heat #2 Winner) Brad Babb
ALL PHOTO CREDITS CRYSTAL SNAPE