It’s the most debated move in racing. Some people like it and chalk it up as good, hard racing; others call the move dirty or lazy. No matter what you call it, if you were at Claremont Speedway on Saturday night you saw it.
Veteran competitor Tommy O’Sullivan used a bump-and-run move on race dominator Luke Hinkley with three laps to go to win the Granite State Pro Stock Series 100 at the Claremont, New Hampshire oval.
Nothing came easy for O’Sullivan, after picking his way through the field to third he took advantage of a restart with 15 laps to go with Shaw stuck on the outside to take second. When he caught Hinkley with five to go, he acted fast, giving a bump to Hinkley off turn four one lap later. The contact was enough to move Hinkley out of the racing grove and allow O’Sullivan to pull away for the win.
“We kept on getting better and better. We had a long green run and I started to catch DJ. I thought if I could get to him, how could I get around him, where is he bad? I was able to get around him on a restart, those two were banging, and I saw the 31 (Hinkley) was getting tight and he started to choke up on the bottom. I was rolling really good in the turns and I just nudged him a little bit and it was enough to get him off the bottom and it was clear sailing from there.”
Indeed, Hinkley who dominated the night ahead of Shaw admitted that his car tightened up in the closing laps, but remained frustrated with how the final battle went down with O’Sullivan.
“I guess if you’re that much quicker, which I don’t think he was, I don’t know,” Hinkley said. “I haven’t raced him like that, but I know his car number and his car color and I’m not afraid to spend money and wreck stuff.”
While O’Sullivan would have preferred a method with less contact, he made certain that there was no ill will.
“I certainly don’t want to race like that, but I wasn’t out to wreck him and I didn’t. I’m pretty sure he would’ve done the same to me if I was choking it up like that.”
Hailing from Springfield, MA, Tommy and brother Mike have become familiar faces on the GSPSS over the past five years, with Mike scoring wins and the 2013 championship.
Tommy, who usually runs a select schedule for the most part, has not been able to find the same success, until now.
“First win in the Granite State Pro Stocks, it’s been a long haul and I have a lot of people who stood by me and helped me through the bad times,” O’Sullivan stated. “Lately we’ve been going a lot better here, so I’m pretty happy.”
One thing that O’Sullivan never would have predicted is that his first trophy would come at Claremont.
“I was just happy to be running in the top five, but if you got a good car here it’s a totally different track to run, and it was a lot more fun,” he said. “I said before that I don’t really care for the place. I like coming here, I like the facility, but I just didn’t have a feel for it. I can’t say a hundred percent I do now, but we definitely had a better night tonight.”
With three events complete in 2017, the Granite State Pro Stock Series will make its debut at Seekonk Speedway on Saturday, June 24, a race that many consider a tune-up for the upcoming $10,000-to-win U.S. Pro Stock/Super Late Model National Championship on July 12.
Race fans can find on-demand coverage of Friday night's race by visiting Speed51.com's Speed Central.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
GSPSS 100 Unofficial Results
Claremont Speedway (NH) - June 2, 2017