Derek Griffith made his return to Seekonk Speedway (MA) Saturday for the first time since mid-July when he fell short of a $10,000 prize at the Pro Stock Nationals. This time around the prize was six-grand and the honor of winning Seekonk’s renowned 150-lap DAV Fall Classic. Griffith avoided big trouble in the opening laps and held off stout challengers en route to taking the win and finding some redemption.
“We started in the middle of the field and everyone got torn up quick, we stayed out of trouble and got out front quick. Made the outside work pretty early, after that it was fast, fast the whole time. I drove it hard and it paid off really well,” Griffith told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
A huge multi-car crash on a Lap 5, eliminated a number of drivers including Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. Griffith did not inherit the lead, instead moving past DJ Shaw and taking advantage of circumstances when Seekonk Pro Stock regular Angelo Belsito spun after contact with another driver, handing the lead to Griffith.
But Belsito used yellow flags and a fast race car to storm through the field, getting all the way to Griffith’s back bumper in the final 30 laps. When Belsito made his move for the lead, it all went wrong as his car would break loose, sending him spinning a second time, this time just inches away from Griffith.
“He got me on the bottom so I left him some room, I was up as high as I could go. I tried to turn it and I felt him just barely get into me and he spun around,” explained Griffith. “It’s a bummer for him, I know how he feels, the same thing happened to me in July.”
Griffith was not out of the woods, as Shaw made one final attack on the No. 12D of Griffith, but did not have enough to finish the job.
“It was a great race, hard racing at the end. DJ was coming, I thought he had a little something for me at the end and I held him off to prevail,” said Griffith.
It is the second week that Shaw fell short of victory, cutting a tire one week earlier at Waterford (CT) late in the Granite State Pro Stock Series season finale, taking away his hopes of winning the series’ championship. Although unhappy with falling short again, Shaw concludes 2016 with the title in the PASS North series and owner’s title in Granite State.
“I almost got there,” Shaw said after the race. “I got there once but my car bottomed out into three, and there was going to be no gentle way by about it. So I just had to settle, we were close and almost out-waited him. Second is pretty good, better than what we deserved and it’s a good way to end the year.”
As for Griffith, Saturday marked the end of a spectacular end to 2016, following up a win six days earlier at Lee USA Speedway.
“The last few races we’ve done really well and I got to thank Louie (Mechalides), he set up a rocket ship. Every time we get to a race track, we’re one of the contenders. It’s huge for me, I haven’t been racing with these cars a long time, it’s a confidence booster to show up and do well. I got to thank my guys, they busted their butts all week while I was sick, still sick.”
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com State Editor (CT, MA, Long Island) – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com