CLAREMONT MOTORSPORTS PARK races on Sunday this holiday weekend with the Granite State Pro Stocks $5,000-to-win 150 as its headliner. If this year’s event can come close to last year’s memorable duel between DJ Shaw and Jeremy Davis, you’ll be glad you went.
Shaw and fellow Granite Stater Derek Griffith — an Alan Kulwicki National Driver Development Program competitor — turned in strong performances at the Oxford 250. Griffith wound up in second place, one spot ahead of Shaw and one spot behind Travis Benjamin of Belfast, Maine, who won the 250 for the third time, matching Mike Rowe, Ralph Nason and Dave Dion.
You can spin a runner-up finish as “first loser” or “faster than everybody but the winner.” Either way, Griffith earned $7,500, a part of which will finance his team’s haul out to Jukasa Motor Speedway in Hagersville, Ontario, this weekend for North America’s richest asphalt short track event. If Griffith comes home with the $75,000 winner’s check, nobody will be talking about trailing Benjamin across the finish line at Oxford Plains.
“I won my heat race and started and stayed up front for along time,” Griffith said. “We took two tires early and took four on lap 170. Then I was able to march back up through the field. On one restart near the end, DJ was outside of Benjamin in the first row and I was able get under him. On the last restart I was on the outside and I probably was too concerned about getting down on the bottom –- the car was much better there. I think I would’ve had a better chance to get racing with him a little harder if I’d eased into the bottom, but I panicked and dove down. We’re feeling good, though.”
Another New Hampshire team that enjoyed its time at Oxford was the driver/owner combo of Bryan Kruczek of Newmarket and Star Speedway owner/promoter Bobby Webber Jr.
Kruczek, driving the Vynorius/Velocita Race Suits/949 Products/Sunoco Race Fuels No. 19, dominated the later stages of Saturday night’s American Canadian Tour Late Model 150 to complete an ACT season sweep at the Maine one-third mile.
“Something I did in the shop wasn’t right and the car had a different feel then when we won there this spring,” Kruczek said. “I didn’t feel comfortable. I went back to the notes from the earlier race and after that, I’ve never had such a good car, especially on the bottom. We had all the sponsors and Bobby’s mom with us in victory lane. It was a great night for the whole team.”
Rookie Stephen Donahue of Graniteville, Vt., finished behind Kruczek and ahead of Scott Payea (third), Tour points leader Rich Dubeau (fourth) and Dylan Payea (fifth).
Dubeau leads Jimmy Hebert by 26 points heading into Sunday’s Coca-Cola 200 at Thunder Road. The New England Mini Stock Tour will also compete on the Barre high banks Sunday and a 24-plus car field is expected. Matt Kimball of Bennington is the Mini Stock Tour points leader.
A full field of Modifieds was on hand at Oxford for the inaugural Tri-Track Modified Series event. Matt Hirschman carried the checkers after a convincing win. Ronnie Williams was next in line followed by Andy Jankowiak.
The Valenti Modified Series travels to Stafford Motor Speedway Friday for an 80-lap affair sponsored by Lincoln Tech. Mike Willis Jr. of Grantham leads Jeff Gallup of Feeding Hills, Mass.
After a week off, White Mountain and Star Speedway are back in action. White Mountain offers the Late Model Leaf Peepers 100, Star has the 9th Annual Big John DiBurro 59 for Woody’s Auto Street Stocks as its main event.
Next weekend, Star Speedway races both Friday and Saturday. Friday night features the Granite State Pro Stocks. Saturday is the Star Classic Bob Webber Sr. Memorial 125 for ISMA Supermodifieds and the Randy Witkum Memorial 60 for 350 Supermodifieds.
Speedway 51 sale pending
Joey Laquerre, owner of Speedway 51 in Groveton, has reached a purchase and sale agreement with Mike Humphrey of Cornish, Maine, and his brother Richard Humphrey of Parsonfield, Maine, that has yet to be finalized.
“I plan to attend the Lancaster Fair this weekend and hand out some flyers and meet with folks with an interest in the track,” Humphrey told Trackside Wednesday.
The Humphrey family has been actively involved with racing for some time particularly with Supermodifieds and Northeast Classic Lites and Dwarf Cars.
Laquerre was a fixture at Thunder Road and on the American Canadian Tour for decades. He purchased the quarter-mile bull ring known at the time as Riverside Speedway in 2014, upgraded the facility considerably and named it Speedway 51 in memory of his grandson.
Tom Herzig’s column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Union Leader.
Email him at email@example.com.
On Track This Weekend
Stafford (Conn.): Friday 6 p.m.
Lee USA: Friday, 7 p.m.
Rumtown: Saturday, 4 p.m.
Star Speedway: Saturday, 4:30 p.m.
Bear Ridge (Vt.): Saturday, 6 p.m.
Monadnock: Saturday, 6 p.m.
White Mountain: Saturday, 6:30 p.m.
Thunder Road (Vt.): Sunday, 1:30 p.m.
Claremont: Sunday, 5 p.m.
Hudson Speedway: Monday, 1 p.m.