THOMPSON, Conn. – In just his first start of the season on the Granite State Pro Stock Series, Derek Ramstrom proved to be the dominant driver in Friday’s 60-lap feature at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
After winning his heat race, Ramstrom had to start eighth because of an invert, but he didn’t let that stop his run to the checkered flag. The driver of the No. 35 quickly worked his way to the front of the pack and took the lead for the final time on a lap 31 restart. The race went from there to the checkered under green flag conditions and Ramstrom was never challenged.
“It’s incredible, I really love this place,” Ramstrom said following his win. “I miss racing here weekly, I wish they would bring it back. Every single time we come here we are a top-three car. I grew up right over there at Little T Speedway. I have been watching people race here a long time.”
Although Ramstrom’s ride from eighth to the front wasn’t easy, chaos struck the top points contenders on the Granite State Pro Stock Series during the Sunoco World Series feature.
Points leader Mike O’Sullivan was running inside the top five in the early stages, but contact with Nick Lascuola on a lap 15 caution sent him spinning down into the grass on the backstretch. Shortly after that, Scott MacMichael, who entered the event second in the standings, drew a caution when he spun with a flat tire in turn two.
On a restart at lap 18, both O’Sullivan and MacMichael were collected in a major crash on the frontstretch while in the back of the pack. Both cars were able to continue and limp around the track for a while, but O’Sullivan only completed 25 laps. MacMichael finished eighth and gained ground in the championship standings.
As far as the race at the front of the pack, Ramstrom found himself battling Eddie MacDonald and Derek Griffith for the victory in the final half of the race. On a lap 31 restart, Ramstrom took the lead away from Griffith and he never turned back. While Griffith was able to settle for second, MacDonald had a tire go down and finished back in 11th.
“It was extremely close there at the beginning, I was just trying to be patient because 60 laps is a long time here at Thompson,” Ramstrom said. “I just held a steady pace and at the right time I closed the door.”
Griffith finished second, while Tommy O’Sullivan made the most of his night and rounded out the podium in third. Brad Babb and Mike Scorzelli rounded out the top five at the end of the distance.
Six through 10 went to Woody Pitkat, Jake Vanada, Scott MacMichael, Kyle Casagrande and Kyle Soper.
The Granite State Pro Stock Series returns to the track next Saturday night at New London-Waterford Speedbowl, where the 2017 champion will be crowned.
RESULTS: Derek Ramstrom, Derek Griffith, Tommy O’Sullivan, Brad Babb, Mike Scorzelli, Woody Pitkat, Jake Vanada, Scott MacMichael, Kyle Casagrande, Kyle Soper, Eddie MacDonald, Josh King, Mike O’Sullivan, Devin O’Connell, Cory Casagrande, Nick Lascuola, Todd Owen, Barry Gray, Mike Mitchell, Greg Nanigian