For the 2019 Granite State Pro Stock Series Season, car owner Wright Pearson has tabbed Northeast racing legend Tommy Rosati to pilot one of his two entries. Rosati, the 1979 Oxford 250 winner and multi-time Pro Stock champion, hasn’t competed in 17 years, but that’s not deterring the duo.
Rosati has a history of success throughout New England, in just about every type of race car. He won multiple championships at both Riverside Park and Stafford Motor Speedway in Pro Stocks, and the record books show numerous poles and a win in what is now known as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
The 1994 was Rosatis most successful year in NASCAR competition running the Busch North Series, where he and his Tic Tac sponsored team ran 18 of the 20 scheduled races. They scored one win, six top fives and 10 top 10s while leading 415 laps and finishing ninth in the final point’s standings. During his lengthy career he also ran Modifieds, Pro 4 Modifieds and made two starts in what is now the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
In the summer of 2018 during a conversation with Tommy O’Sullivan, Pearson found out that Rosati had “gotten the itch to race again." Weeks later, the team and driver got together for a test session at Monadnock Speedway. The test went so well that they agreed to return to the track for the 2018 JBH 100.
Unfortunately, due to a scheduling conflict, the plan was derailed but the seed had been planted. Just before Thanksgiving, Rosati called Pearson and told him “I’m all in for whatever you want to do." Subsequent talks have led to a very busy season as Pearson has three cars and a fourth on the way to be run across three different series.
Throughout his career Rosati has had the opportunity to compete on most of the tracks that the Granite State Pro Stock Series visits.
“I really like Lee and Waterford," Rosati said when asked about the tracks that GSPSS visits. "I think we should run really well everywhere we go, but those two are the ones I am most looking forward to. Speedway 51 is the only track I have never competed on, so I’m looking forward to to racing there. I think we can win two to three races and contend for the championship."
Both Pearson and Rosati want to focus on the GSPSS schedule but have ambitious plans for 2019.
“We are going to focus on Granite State as long as things are going well,” Pearson stated. “We want to have some fun and not tear up equipment, and as long as that’s happening we will continue to chase the series championship. This could be my last chance so it needs to be fun for everyone. When it stops being fun, we will do something else."
One of the details that pushed Rosati to make this happen was the friendship between himself, Pearson and former car owner Tom O’Sullivan. In 1997, Rosati won the last of his championships at Stafford Motor Speedway driving a car fielded by O’Sullivan. On the crew during those years were Tom’s sons Mike and Tommy, who has also driven a car for Pearson in the past and will step into the role of spotter for 2019.
These days it's Mike O’Sullivan doing the driving for the family-owned team, and he looks forward to competing against his hero.
“I have the utmost respect for that guy," O’Sullivan stated. “I watched him drive for my father when I was eight or nine. When I started driving in late 1996 we had two cars. He’d follow me or I’d follow him and he’d talk to me on the radio for two or three laps at a time. Imagine the advantage of learning like that."
Now the two will be competitors, both with the same goal of winning the 2019 GSPSS title. At the same time they will be pseudo teammates.
"I don’t have a whole lot of help," Pearson said. "We’ll park with the O’Sullivans and some of Tommy's (O’Sullivan) old guys are gonna help out. Also, I’m sure Mike's guys will jump in if needed. Tommy (Rosati) asked me what would happen if we got a flat and I told him we would get it changed. My back is pretty screwed up so it might be tomorrow, but we will get it changed."
Pearson also plans to run a second car in nearly half of the 2019 GSPSS races. Brandon Barker will be doing the driving and his pit crew will help out when that car runs.
“I think the first race we will run both cars will be the Lee race in May," Pearson said. “Brandon has a real good group so that will be a big help on the second car."
The new pairing can be seen throughout the 2019 season anywhere the Granite State Pro Stock Series races. The first opportunity for the series to hit the track will be at the new Claremont Motorsports Park. The 1/3-mile oval in Claremont, NH will host a test session Saturday, April 27 followed by the first race of the season Friday night, May 3.
Follow the series and check out the 2019 schedule on Facebook and Twitter, as well as the website at www.gspss.net.
-Granite State Pro Stock Series Press Release & Photo