WATCH LIVE: Granite State Nationals at Claremont
Derek Griffith is the most recent winner in 2020, while D.J. Shaw won the first two editions in 2018 and 2019. Many of New England’s Pro Stock drivers are eying to become the next to put their name on the big check, including Shaw’s protégé Gabe Brown.
In 2018, Brown stunned the Northeast racing community by winning the Super Late Model track title at Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine. Despite still being in his teens, Brown has shown great consistency in his young career, mixing it up among the front runners almost everywhere he runs. But the wins have eluded him for the most part.
Earlier in 2021, Brown broke through to victory lane with a win at Oxford in a Saturday night 50-lap race. He is more determined than ever to finally get that first win on a regional tour.
We’ve had a really good year and we’ve had really good cars really everywhere we’ve gone. We did struggle at Beech Ridge and at Star a little bit, but we got things figured out for when we go back there. We finally won a race, not a big race or a tour race; so, we want to go out there and get that tour race win. – Gabe Brown
Playing 2021 by ear to start things off, Brown has been atop the Granite State Pro Stock Series point standings much of the season so far. Choosing to focus on winning the GSPSS title, Brown is excited to be heading back to Claremont this weekend after good results in 2020 following the COVID-19 lockdown.
“Last year was tough and when we finally got on the track, I was pretty happy. We fired off well at Claremont last year and had a car to win. I’m really pumped to finally get back there this year and race those guys for 10 grand. I feel like we got a really good chance, this year’s crew is the best crew I’ve ever had, and I’m very thankful for having them.”
Claremont has earned a reputation as a ‘love it or hate it’ track amongst drivers. For Brown, he loves the place.
“It’s one of my favorite tracks, it’s real racy, it’s wide in every lane, but you got to know how to get around there. It puts on a good race. It just fits my driving style, you got drive hard but also save. It’s a good track for people like Griffith, Pole and those guys. I feel like I can compete with those guys, I don’t think we can win against them yet.”
Never shying away from his usual blunt honesty, Brown does feel that the potential for victory on Saturday is there. It’s just a matter of working to achieve it.
“Those guys are really on there game right now and we still got some stuff to figure out if we want to win against them. That’s just part of it. I think we got a good car right now, but they can go down south and compete against big motor cars right now. I feel like we’d struggle if we did that now. But our stuff is good, we just need that little bit more to beat them. We can do it, we just need to work for it.”
Looking into late 2021, Brown feels confident about his title hopes given his strong consistency. But, he races to win, and while winning this Saturday at Claremont is a tall order, he feels that there is a great potential that the Granite State Nationals may be a key stepping stone to victory lane, should they miss the chance this weekend.
“I feel pretty good, I’m hoping we can click off a couple of wins soon. Being able to compete with the usual guys at Hudson showed how strong our team is and how good our equipment is. I think we have a good chance at the Granite State championship and I think we have a good chance anywhere we go. Whether it’s with ACT, PASS, or Granite State we got a good chance anywhere we go.”
See the Granite State Nationals live on Speed51.TV this Saturday, July 31 with your monthly or yearly subscription.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Correspondent – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51