Derek Ramstrom entered Sunday afternoon’s Granite State Pro Stock Series 50-lap event at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT) with more momentum than any driver in the field. He was coming off two straight Super Late Model wins, the PASS 400 at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME) and the DAV Fall Classic 100 at Seekonk Speedway (MA), and entered the race as a favorite to win on World Series of Speedway Racing weekend.
For the majority of the race, the probability of winning three straight SLM events didn’t seem very likely for the driver of the No. 35. He was fast, but not fast enough to catch two-time American-Canadian Tour champion Wayne Helliwell, Jr. At times he was able to hang within a few car lengths of Helliwell, but never seemed to be able to mount a real charge.
That was until lap 46 of the 50-lap event when Helliwell, who had established a half-second lead at the time, slowed tremendously on the backstretch. Helliwell would bring his orange No. 27nh down pit road in front of the grandstands where fans could easily notice a flat right front tire.
Ramstrom would inherit the lead and go on to win the Granite State Pro Stock Series portion of the World Series of Speedway Racing by a sizeable margin. The win was his first GSPSS win and came in his first series start.
“I was happy, obviously, but you’ve got to feel for the guy,” Ramstrom told Speed51.com after the race. “He ran a hell of a race and was extremely fast. That’s racing, though. Things like that happen.”
Without the help of Helliwell’s misfortune, Ramstrom didn’t believe he would have been able to make his way by Helliwell for the race lead. He said that the stagger was way off on his No. 35 and created a loose condition that made it hard for him to chase down Helliwell.
“My car was way too loose in the center,” said Ramstrom. “He looked extremely hooked up. It’s unfortunate what happened to him. I don’t think I would have got him otherwise.”
After the race, a report from the Helliwell pits indicated that he ran over a “dzus fastener” on the race track which forced his right front tire to go flat. Dzus fasteners are used by cars like the ISMA Supermodifieds and NEMA Midgets to hold on body panels.
Helliwell also suffered a flat right front tire while leading the Granite State Pro Stock Series portion of the Icebreaker earlier this year. He would go on to finish 19th on Sunday.
NASCAR Nationwide Series driver and GSPSS championship contender Matt Frahm, former Oxford 250 winner Larry Gelinas and Florida driver Jason Boyd would complete the top-five.
After leading early on in the event Sunday afternoon, Dillon Moltz would coast home to a sixth-place finish and clinch his first career touring series championship. Speed51.com will have more on Moltz’s championship season later this week.
For an on-demand replay of all of the GSPSS action from Thompson on Sunday afternoon, visit Speed51.com’s Trackside Now coverage presented by Northeast Race Cars by clicking here.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51