Walpole, N.H. – The first annual New England Short Track Showdown presented by AR Bodies, which is set for this Saturday July 1, will bring out some of the top names that New England racing has to offer.
Of those names is young and upcoming modified star Matt Swanson, who is just 17-years-old and has just one full-time Whelen Modified Tour season under his belt to this point. Swanson will be making his Granite State Pro Stock Series debut on Saturday behind the wheel of the Starrett Racing machine.
“This will be my first start and I’m looking forward to going back to NHMS with the Starrett Racing car,” Swanson said. “We had a good test day (in May) and we look forward to finding more speed this Friday and we also look forward to the race on Saturday.”
In his career at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Swanson has been able to capture one top-five run on the Whelen Modified Tour. He finished fourth in the September event last season and is hoping to use some of the experience he has in his three modified starts on the ‘Magic Mile’.
“We finished fourth last year in the tour show and hopefully my experience I have up there will help me,” Swanson said. “Although I’ve only run three career Super Late Model races, we keep getting better each time out. Loudon is really tough, you need to make sure your car is good in traffic as well as out front.”
As a rookie contender on the Granite State Pro Stock Series, Swanson is hoping that he can combine his first Super Late Model win with the prestigious trophy at Loudon.
“Everyone wants to win at New Hampshire,” Swanson said. “It’s our largest track in New England and it would be a very proud moment for me and all of our partners.”
Although Swanson joins the list of first-time series competitors, the 2015 series champion Derek Griffith will make his return on Saturday — hoping to steal the glory and capture a win on the flat oval.
“I’m super excited to be back with the Granite State Pro Stock Series,” Griffith said. “I have a lot of friends on the tour. Loudon is nothing like anything I have been too.”
Like all the other drivers, Griffith is preparing for action on the 1.058-mile oval and knows there will be some challenges that come along with it if he wants to run well.
“I think the biggest thing people will face will be getting comfortable,” Griffith said. “It’s a big, fast track. Not a lot of people will be used to being pushed around by the air off another car.”
Much like Swanson, Griffith is looking to add the prestigious New Hampshire hardware to his collection. Although he is a former champion of the series, the win at Loudon would be a career booster for him.
“It would be huge for me to win,” Griffith said. “I’ve watched races at Loudon for almost my whole life. The big names that drive around that track have won and I’d like to get my name on the winner’s list at Loudon.”
These two young drivers will be joined by a list of both Rookie of the Year and veteran contenders on Saturday in the 50-lap feature event. Series regulars like Nick Lascuola, Cory Casagrande and Scott MacMichael have filed an entry, but there are also plenty of outsiders.
Seekonk Speedway Pro Stock regular Kevin Casper will return to the series, while modified driver Zane Ziener and Pro All Star Series regular Ben Rowe are also set to compete.
The first annual New England Short Track Showdown presented by AR Bodies includes four divisions of racing action on the 1.058-mile. The GSPSS will be joined by the Valenti Modified Racing Series, NorthEast Mini Stock Tour and the Street Stock Showdown Series.
Tickets to get into the grandstands on Saturday are just $20 for adults, with kids general admission tickets set at just $12. A pass into the pit area on Saturday will cost $75.
For more information, fans are encouraged to visit www.gspss.net, or follow the series updates on Facebook and Twitter.
Granite State Pro Stock Series Press Release. Photo Credit: Granite State Pro Stock Series