HUDSON, NH – Derek Griffith continued his stunning season, as the 18-year-old driver picked up his second victory of his career in the Gate City Classic at Hudson International Speedway.
Griffith led the field to green, with Matt Frahm matched to his outside. Mike Parks and Cory Casagrande made contact before the field completed one lap, with Parks spinning to the infield. One the restart, Griffith began to flex his muscles, jumping out to a quick lead, before series rookie Nick Boivin spun off turn 4, bringing out the second caution. The field would settle in for a long green flag run, until Casagrande and Jeremy Harclerode made contact on lap 41, erasing Griffith’s sizable lead.
The final caution of the race occurred on lap 47, when George Helliwell and Mike O’Sullivan tangled off turn 2, subsequently ending O’Sullivan’s night.
On the restart, Griffith lost the lead to veteran Larry Gelinas, resulting in Gelinas leading lap 48. That would turn out to be the only lap the youngster would not lead, as Griffith retook the point on lap 49. Griffith would not be challenged again, as the pilot of the FEP/Tyngsboro Motors/M.O.M. Toyota nabbed the victory, to the cheer of the crowd.
An excited Griffith would say, after the race, “I’m shocked. I’m out of words. It’s awesome to finally come here and win a Pro Stock race. I’ve gotten a couple wins here in smaller cars, and finally to show them I’m a driver that can win some bigger races, I’m more than happy to do it here in front of my fans.”
Not only did Griffith pick up the victory, but the Louie Mechalides-owned team gave away two bikes to children in the crowd, a new program the Granite State Pro Stock Series has created, and will continue to do for the remainder of the season.
Gelinas would settle for second, after engaging in battle with Barry Gray in the closing laps. Gelinas would go on to say, “Barry stuck his nose in there a couple times, but we had enough bite off the corner, so it worked out for us.”
Gray, after starting eighth, would round out the podium, finishing third. Gray would comment on the battle with Gelinas, saying, “It was a lot of fun. He ran me clean at Monadnock [Speedway], and we told him we’d repay the favor. It’s fun running when you can run like that, and not get wrecked.”
Brad Babb fought his way from his ninth-place starting position to cross the line fourth, with Tommy O’Sullivan completing the top five, unofficially. Matt Frahm, who fought an ill-handling car all race long, held on for sixth, with Jeremy Harclerode, in just his second start with the series, finishing seventh. Casagrande, Helliwell, and Josh King completed the top ten. Gelinas and Parks picked up qualifying heat victories.
The Granite State Pro Stock Series will be back in action on June 27, as the series travels to Star Speedway. For more information on the Granite State Pro Stock Series, visit www.gspss.net.
-Granite State Pro Stock Series Press Release. Photo credit: Crystal Snape