Heading into the final Granite State Pro Stock Series race of the 2016 season at New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Oct. 22, the championship fight has come down to two drivers.
Belchertown, Massachusetts native Barry Gray currently holds a 26 point advantage over Conway, New Hampshire driver D.J. Shaw. Both are veterans of Super Late Model racing in New England and both have won championships before.
“Obviously I am happy to be in this position, but the only reason we are is because of luck,” Gray said. “We had kind of a bad season. We started off and the car wasn’t going that great and we got in a wreck recently at Star. However, I have been down this road before and I really hope we can get it done.”
On the other end of the spectrum, Shaw knows he will need to do everything he can to capture the big trophy next weekend. He sits 26 points behind, mostly because he has missed two races this season. He didn’t make the season opener at White Mt. Motorsports Park and also missed the most recent race at Monadnock Speedway. The reason is because Shaw has been running both the GSPSS and the Pro All Star Series this season and has been in the championship fight for both.
“It was a fun run there when we started off the season with no conflicts and we thought we would have a shot,” Shaw said. “There were a few rain dates that conflicted and it just didn’t work in our favor. The way the points system works with PASS, if you miss a race, it kills you. So we had to pick the one that would still give us a chance at winning both championships. That put us behind just a little bit with the GSPSS. We still have a shot, that’s about all we can ask for.”
Last year, both drivers competed in the season finale at the Bemer’s Big Show. Shaw was running in the front of the pack when he had a mechanical failure that cost him a shot at a solid finish. Gray finished third in the race, but said he isn’t sure what the experience will do for him this time around.
“The past experience helps, but I’ve really only run Waterford a few times,” Gray said. “I can’t tell you how many times D.J. has run there but I know everywhere they go they are fast. My hat goes off to them. I just have to have some patience, but I’ve won a race for a long time every year and I haven’t won yet this year. I’m going there to win.”
Shaw is hoping to have some better luck than last year.
“We need to stay out of trouble, last year we didn’t finish because we had a mechanical issue,” Shaw said. “Whether it be getting caught up in someone else’s mess or some bad luck, we need to finish and we need to finish towards the front to have a chance.”
Though Gray goes into the event with a 26 point lead, Shaw is not giving up. As Gray mentions, Shaw has one of the best pieces anywhere the GSPSS goes and he is happy to be headed to the Speedbowl with a shot.
“I’m excited and I’m optimistic,” Shaw said. “I think if we do our job we will have a shot at the win and the rest will be up to Barry. There is nothing I can do about him, he has a pretty big lead and the fact that we still have a shot is something I am happy about. I want to end the year on a solid note.”
The Granite State Pro Stock Series will wrap up the 2016 season at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl next weekend on Saturday Oct. 22. Though the track is holding a two-day show, the GSPSS will have all the practice, qualifying and feature racing on Saturday.
For more information, visit www.gspss.net.
-Granite State Pro Stock Series Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com