PREVIEW: Granite State Pro Stock Series To Join NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Monadnock Speedway
WALPOLE, N.H. – The fourth event of the Granite State Pro Stock Series’ 2022 season is going to be no walk in the park.
The New Hampshire-based Pro Stock touring series reconvenes this weekend at Monadnock Speedway, as part of an action-packed program featuring the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
Saturday’s Doghouse 75 will set the stage for the highly-anticipated Duel At The Dog 200 for NASCAR’s only open-wheeled division, capping off an evening that promises 400 circuits of wheel-to-wheel, door-to-door action around the high-banked Winchester, N.H., quarter-mile.
Nestled in the southwestern corner of the Granite State, Monadnock has been a place to call home for both fendered and open-wheeled cars for five decades. Under the ownership of the Wrenn family, facility upgrades all around the track have given Monadnock a fresh face. But at the center of those upgrades awaits the same tricky oval that fans and racers call “Mad Dog.”
The GSPSS has tackled Monadnock fifteen times since 2012, with eight different drivers tasting victory on the high banks. For years, Monadnock was home to the series’ annual tribute to departed GSPSS co-founder John “Boy” Hoyt. Most of the races held at the track have been 100-lap contests, but Saturday night’s race is only 75 laps, instilling a sense of urgency in the series’ best as they take the green flag.
Leading the series to Monadnock is Joey Doiron, the points leader and the winner of May’s Granite State Derby at Lee USA Speedway. Fresh off another Super Late Model win in Maine, Doiron carries plenty of momentum to “Mad Dog.” Doiron may not have a lot of laps around Monadnock, but he has top-five finishes in both of his visits to the track, and he certainly knows how to win on the bullrings.
Luke Hinkley lurks in Doiron’s shadow in the standings after opening the year with back-to-back runner-up finishes. The Claremont, N.H., racer managed a top ten in a strong field at Lee. Monadnock poses a new challenge for Hinkley, though; he was fifteenth in his only visit to the track in 2019.
Third in points is Jimmy Renfrew, Jr., who has been anything but idle since May’s race at Lee. Renfrew is still hunting for his second career win and with his experience at Star Speedway and White Mountain Motorsports Park, the young racer will be poised for a strong run Saturday.
Only two points separate Nick Cusack and Dylan Estrella in the battle for fourth place in the standings. Monadnock will be a new challenge for the two first-year GSPSS regulars, but both have adapted well to new tracks so far. Estrella’s years at Seekonk Speedway, a third-mile oval that drives like a quarter-mile, might give him the edge in the battle.
Casey Call sits seventh in points after an early exit at Lee. Last year’s visit to Monadnock was unkind to the third-year GSPSS racer, and Call will be out for revenge from “Mad Dog” this time around. Jeremy Sorel turned his fortunes around at Lee with a sixth-place finish and will be angling for more of the same at the track closest to his Deerfield, Mass., home. Sammy Gooden, still reeling from a slow start to the season, is looking for his first top ten of the young season. Rookie Dan McKeage, Jr. and series newcomer Charlie Buxton will be on separate missions to build their short track notebooks at a new venue.
Returning to GSPSS competition for his second start of the year is Vermont’s Josh King, who counts Monadnock among his top tracks. King won a rain-shortened JBH 100 at Monadnock in 2017, and he has not finished outside the top ten at “Mad Dog” since 2015.
Barry Gray will be back in the saddle for only his second start since a grinding crash at Monadnock in 2020. Gray, the 2016 GSPSS champion, has a series-leading four wins at the bullring, with his last coming in 2015.
Cory Casagrande still seeks his first touring win, but the Nutmeg State native has always been fast on the quarter-miles. Casagrande will also have experience guiding him from the stands; his longtime spotter, Matt Frahm, has three GSPSS trophies of his own from “Mad Dog.”
Garrett Hall’s first GSPSS attempt of the year sets up an intriguing head-to-head battle. Hall and fellow Beech Ridge Motor Speedway alum Joey Doiron have each served as the other’s crew chief on their driving off-weekends. Saturday’s race will pit the top driver and the top wrench from the Granite State Derby against each other as Hall looks for his first GSPSS win since 2017.
Also returning to the GSPSS ranks is Angelo Belsito, the winner of the last GSPSS appearance at Monadnock Speedway. A contender for the 2020 title with four series wins under his belt, Belsito has been quiet on the touring front since last summer, running a few late-season Super Late Model shows at his home track, Seekonk Speedway. Belsito will strap into Rollie Lindblad’s familiar #48 to defend his win in last May’s Monadnock bout.
The ultimate wildcard, though, may be the weekend’s ringer, Jimmy “Showtime” Blewett. Visiting from the open-wheel side of the pit paddock, Blewett is a multi-time NASCAR Modified Tour winner, the reigning New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway World Series Modified champion, and a seven-time Turkey Derby winner at Wall Stadium Speedway in his native New Jersey. All Blewett lacks is a fendered résumé. For his first GSPSS race ever, Blewett will be in Jacob Dore’s #05, a car Joey Doiron wheeled to a fourth-place finish at Star.
Dore’s car comes from the Dale Shaw Race Cars shop, and with Shaw-built cars sweeping all three races this season, Blewett will be in position to battle the best for victory.
Monadnock Speedway and JDV Productions are proud to welcome fans to the Duel At The Dog 200 on Saturday, June 18. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Granite State Pro Stock Series headline a full day of action including Monadnock’s own Late Model Sportsmen, Street Stocks, Mini Stocks and Pure Stocks. The grandstands open at 2:30pm and qualifying begins at 4:45pm, with feature racing to follow.
Advance tickets for Saturday’s program are available through JDV Productions at www.jdvproductions.com through Friday, with tickets also available at the track. General admission seats are $40.00, and children 12 and under are admitted free. “JDV Experience” VIP packages are also available.
For more information on the Granite State Pro Stock Series, visit www.gspss.net or find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.