The 2017 season for the Granite State Pro Stock Series is shaping up to showcase the strongest field in series history, not just with the addition of new faces, but with boosted efforts from many familiar ones. Casagrande Motorsports is on both sides of the table with third year driver Cory Casagrande returning with more experience and a new weapon, while older brother Kyle Casagrande prepares to make his series debut.
Both drivers have become recognizable in their hometown of Stafford Springs, Connecticut through their efforts at Stafford Motor Speedway, following in the footsteps of their uncle Dean, where Cory is the 2012 Limited Late Model champion and 2013 Late Model Rookie of the Year, and Kyle is the all-time win leader in the DARE Stocks with 20 victories and the 2014 Late Model Rookie of the Year.
The team hit the road in 2015 with Cory going full-time on the Granite State Pro Stocks and winning Rookie of the Year, while Kyle put his focus on Street Stock racing. After another year of experience in 2016, the team is making a major upgrade for 2017 with the acquisition of a lightly used Fury chassis.
“We went down and purchased it from Steven Wallace. That thing is mint. I’ve been working with the guys at Fury for the last year and a half now. I’ve talked with them, we feel like we are going to have a good piece,” Cory Casagrande told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I’m excited to get racing. The car is pretty much ready to go. We’re just waiting on the motor and we’re ready to go racing.”
The new race car for Cory will be numbered 7 for 2017, a number used by both Dean Casagrande in the 1990’s and more recently by Kyle in the past ten years. The team hopes that this car is the final piece they need to be regular contenders at each of the 11 races on the 2017 GSPSS schedule.
“The plan has always been to go out and win races obviously. We’ll go testing a bit at a few places, get the car used to them. But I think we’re going to have a great shot at it this year, hopefully by the end of the year we’re going for the championship, that’d be awesome too.”
This acquisition has also become Kyle’s gain as he will move into the team’s old No. 1 car for select races which the team will pick and choose during the season, sponsorship being the main dictator, in addition to Kyle’s Street Stock appearances.
“Our plan so far is that we’re going to do a handful of Street Stock races, definitely Loudon, Thompson, and the rest of Bob Guptil’s series, we’re going to try and do all of those,” Kyle Casagrande explained. “With Cory’s new car, hopefully I can get a couple of races in the old car in Granite State if we get the sponsorship. We’ll just go with the flow, see where it takes us and get as many races as possible.”
Though Kyle has no prior experience in Pro Stocks, he is eager to learn, and confident he can pick up on it.
“I have zero Pro Stock experience, I raced to Rookie of the Year at Stafford in Late Models, but other than that, it’s been Street Stock racing, and some Late Models. But if Cory can figure it out, I’m sure I can. We got a great crew, the setup is always on point for him and for me. I’m sure they’ll figure it out, I got the easy part with driving it.”
This will also be the first time the two will race each other since 2014 in the Stafford Late Models. While they have always appreciated the chance to race head-to-head, it has gotten them into trouble a few times in their careers.
“We’ve had our ups and downs racing against each other, but my dad usually puts us in our place if we get out of hand. But it’s always fun racing him,” said Kyle.
Both Pro Stocks, particularly the No. 7 are a throwback tribute to Dean Casagrande’s Stafford Late Model from 1995.
The Granite State Pro Stock Series returns for 2017 at Lee USA Speedway (NH) on Sunday, April 30.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Cory Casagrande Facebook Photo