He may have led 80 of the 100 laps, but Ray Christian III had to fight to the checkers to secure the Granite State Pro Stock Series victory over Joey Doiron at Star Speedway Friday night. The victory was the second of Christian’s career and his first of the 2019 season.
Christian of Preston, Connecticut started on pole and led the first 79 laps of the race before losing the lead to Doiron, the series points leader. Doiron of South Berwick, Maine had the fastest car late in the race and was starting to pull away from Christian before a caution on Lap 96 erased his advantage.
Christian restarted to his outside and used the momentum to pull alongside Doiron. Doiron was momentarily able to keep the spot, but Christian was determined to get it back.
Christian then proceeded to rough up Doiron, getting into him several times over the last four laps. Eventually, he was able to move Doiron just enough to get around him through the final corners. Christian got the better run off Turn 4 and beat Doiron to the line by 0.156 seconds.
“[It was] hard racing, man,” Christian said in Victory Lane. “I mean, apparently he [Doiron] doesn’t like to get raced hard. I wouldn’t have been upset if he did the same thing to me for a win with two to go. I didn’t think it was that dirty, but it is what it is, we got the trophy and the check so whatever.”
Doiron was furious with Christian after the race, storming over to Christian’s car in Victory Lane to voice his displeasure before finally walking away. He was much calmer during his post-race interview, electing to hold back his words.
“Just not going to say anything,” Doiron said after the race. “We had the best car. It’s just frustrating, you know. But whatever, it is what it is. I have to thank my guys, they busted tail and they deserved to win, so we’ll move on to Seekonk.”
When asked if this frustration would carry over into the next race, Doiron did not mince words.
“We’ll see. I haven’t been this mad in probably five years,” Doiron said. “You get passed on the outside and then you just drive through the guy. That’s not racing, that’s not how I was taught to race growing up and I’m not going to put up with that.”
Defending race winner Jimmy Renfrew Jr. kept his car out of the woods this year and brought home a solid third-place finish. The youngster was happy with his run, but felt like he could have had a car to win the race.
“Started a little too far back than what I wanted,” Renfrew said. “I knew that these two were going to be hard to beat and I was hoping that if I started up front with them I could just kind of ride, save my stuff, and have something for them at the end, but by the time I got up into third, I burned my stuff up a little too much trying to get there. On the last lap I was thinking about going three-wide but I didn’t want all three of us to wreck and Cory Casagrande to win, so we’ll get them next time.”
Stafford, Connecticut driver Cory Casagrande recovered from a 10th-place finish one week ago at Claremont Motorsports Park to finish fourth, and Claremont, New Hampshire’s own Luke Hinkley kept up his recent momentum with a strong run to fifth. Josh King, Todd Stone, Jacob Dore, Ricky Bly and John Lowinski-Loh completed the top 10.
Race fans can watch a full on-demand replay of Friday night’s race now on the Speed51 Network.
The next race for the Granite State Pro Stock Series is a 100-lap feature at Seekonk Speedway (MA) where they will headline the annual D.A.V. Fall Classic.
-Story by Ian Pettigrew, Speed51.com Northeast Correspondent - Twitter: @ian_pettigrew
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
GSPSS Vynorius Pile Driving 100 – Full Results (Unofficial)
1 93 Ray Christian III
2 73 Joey Doiron
3 00 Jimmy Renfrew Jr.
4 7 Cory Casagrande
5 31 Luke Hinkley
6 21 Josh King
7 1X Todd Stone
8 05 Jacob Dore
9 28 Ricky Bly
10 18 John Lowinski-Loh
11 29 Adam Gray
12 51 Jeremy Harclerode
13 43 Devin O'Connell
14 12 Bobby Pelland
15 2 Chola Shay
16 84 Jamie Wright