The Granite State ProStock Series kicked off its ninth season of competition on Friday night and Ray Christian III started 2020 the same way he ended 2019.
Under clear skies and a full moon, the green flag finally fell as a stacked field of Pro Stocks descended on the Claremont Motorsports park for 100 laps of green flag racing. Some of the top drivers in New England took advantage of the opportunity to be a part of the first pro stock race contested in New England in 2020.
Competition began with The Crazy Horse Racing Fast Time Challenge and It was home town hot shoe Luke Hinkley coming up just short of a new track record. One of the tightest time trial fields on record headed for heat races with great anticipation and didn’t come up short on excitement.
Hinkley lead the first heat race to the green and would never be heavily challenged but lost out on the nine car redraw and would start the feature sixth.
Gabe Brown would show just how good a car he had as he took the lead on the outside and took the checkers in heat race number two.
Heat race number three would go to 2019 Seekonk Speedway winner Angelo Belsito. Though the Auburn MA driver claims to not like the Claremont NH speed plant, he has developed a knack for the tough third mile oval.
The final order of business for the competitors of The GSPSS would be the main event. Early contact would end the night for Candia NH’s Jimmy Renfrew Jr and as track cleanup was being completed one of two generators supplying power to the facility shut down. The machine that quit happened to be the one powering the scoring tower which also housed all of the equipment being used for the Speed51 pay-per-view broadcast of the nights action. Track staff had the generator refired in short order and after about a 15 minute delay, racing would resume.
The race would go green for the next 60 laps but not without plenty of action. Despite the long run the racing was incredible and not lacking for anything.
Caution with 36 to go would trigger a string of cautions taking drivers such as hometown favorite Luke Hinkley out of contention. Mike O’Sullivan’s night was ended early after hard contact with the turn two wall and Devin O’Connell found himself with an uphill battle after a spin.
After running patiently for the first two thirds of the event Ray Christian III turned up the wick and headed to the front. Spirited racing and a nudge to eventual third place finisher Belsito, Christian was able to put himself in position to lead the final ten laps and take home the win.
“Its awesome to go back to back here”, said Christian in Victory lane. “I Knew we had a good hundred lap car. We weren’t going to be the best at lap fifty but we were the best at lap 100”.
DJ Shaw would wind up second coming up Just a bit short. “We Just didn’t have quite enough late,” said Shaw after the race. “The car wasn’t quite good enough at the end.”
Behind Belsito in third, Gabe Brown had arguably his best career GSPSS race finishing fourth just ahead of Joey Polewarczyk who came up short in his bid to remain undefeated with the series.
2019 series champion Joey Doiron wound up sixth ahead of Hinkley and Cory Casagrande. Rookie competitors would round out the top ten with Casey Call in ninth and Cody Leblanc tenth.
Extra support for this event came from Crazy Horse Racing, R&R Wholesalers, RE Hinkley Oil Company and Mainly Awards.
The next event for the series will hopefully be announced in the near future. Resumption of the schedule will come as soon as the Govorners of the states that the series races in relax restrictions and allow tracks to operate at capacity with fans.
To follow the series go to www.gspss.net or follow the series on facebook, twitter and instagram.
1 - 93ct Ray Christian III
2 - 60 DJ Shaw
3 - 8B Angelo Belsito
4 - 47 Gabe Brown
5 - 97 Joey Polewarcyk
6 - 73 Joey Doiron
7 - 31nh Luke Hinkley
8 - 7ct Cory Casagrande
9 - 90nh Casey Call
10 - 55 Cody Leblanc
11 - 7b Travis Benjamin
12 - 52nh Jake Matheson
13 - 43 Devin O’Connell
14 - 94 Garrett Hall
15 - 48 Ryan Lineham
16 - 29s Trevor Sanborn
17 - n40 Dan Mckeage
18 - 16 Kyle Harvell
19 - 17 Kevin Folan
20 - 40 Mike Mitchell
21 - 08 Mike O’Sullivan
22 - 00 Jimmy Renfrew Jr
23 - 29 Barry Gray
24 - 09 Jeremy Davis
Contingency Awards :
Sunoco Race Fuels heat race winners - 5gallons of race fuel - 31nh Luke Hinkley, 47 Gabe Brown, 8b Angelo Belsito
AR Bodies hard luck award - $100 product certificate - 00 Jimmy Renfrew Jr
Crazy Horse Fast Time Challenge - 1st $125 -31nh Luke Hinkley - 2nd $75 - 60 DJ Shaw - 3rd $50 - 73 Joey Doiron
Magnus Performance Parts - 7th place finisher $100 product certificate - 31nh Luke Hinkley
Matco Tools : product certificates - winner $75 - 93ct Ray Christian III - Random Draw $75 - to be drawn at the next event
Bassett Wheels - 3rd $50 product certificate - 8b Angelo Belsito
VDL Fuel Systems - 5th $100 product certificate - 97 Joey Polewarcyk
American Racer Hard Charger - one free tire - 48 Ryan Lineham
Speed 51 leader at lap 51 - $51 - 8b Angelo Belsito