Kruczek had a fast car all afternoon; he ran top three in each practice session, qualified fastest in time trials, and won his heat race. The qualifying redraw put him in seventh for the race start, but an early tangle with Jacob Dore sent him to the rear.
Kruczek steadily worked his way forward, taking the lead from defending champion Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. on lap 76. He managed to hang on to the lead through a series of late cautions to become the third different winner in three GSPSS races.
REPLAY: Granite State Pro Stocks at Star
“I was not looking forward to that caution,” Kruczek said after the race. “The car was breaking up pretty bad about 15 or 20 laps before that last caution came out, and I was just really hoping to milk it to the end. Unfortunately, they dropped the green flag and the car did not fire off well, I knew if I didn’t keep Joey at least relatively close to me I was going to give it up.”
That final caution was when the controversy truly began. Kruczek had the bottom lane on the restart with Polewarczyk to his outside. They banged doors as they raced into Turn 3, pushing Polewarczyk to the outside. As he tried to come back down, Devin O’Connell and Polewarczyk came together, with “Joey Pole” spinning off O’Connell’s nose.
O’Connell was sent to the rear by race officials, leaving Kruczek to fight off the advances of Josh King and Jacob Dore. Kruczek realized afterwards that he had been a little too aggressive in trying to get around Polewarczyk.
“Having put myself in the position I did, I used him up more than I probably should have,” he said. “Just glad we got it back to the finish line, honestly.”
Defending series champion Joey Polewarczyk was candid after the race, but made it very clear that he was not pleased with Kruczek.
“I got him cleared going down the back stretch, and I feel like he just overdrove turn three and drove up into my door,” said Polewarczyk. “Of course you’re going to get around someone like that. I was going to try to get back behind him to return the favor, but the 43 [of O’Connell] filled the hole and did the same thing to me and finished me off.
“I don’t know what was on everyone’s mind today, but driving into people, driving over their heads, into their doors, that’s not the way I want to race. That’s not the way anybody wants to race.
“We probably didn’t have a better car than the 19 [of Kruczek], but might have got around him there. I wouldn’t want to win like that, hopefully he feels good about it.”
2018 series champion Devin O’Connell, on the other hand, was incredibly remorseful about the role he played in that incident.
“I screwed up,” he said. “I had a run underneath Joey, tried to take it, got loose, and screwed up and took him out. I apologize to him, I apologize to his crew. They’re pissed, and I don’t blame them for a second. I made a mistake, and unfortunately cost Joey a good finish. I feel horrible, I completely f—– up.”
Josh King took advantage of the chaos to notch a solid second-place finish – a breath of fresh air to a team that has struggled at the start of the 2021 season. Jacob Dore, recovering from a flat tire before the race and a spin on lap 7, came home third. Angelo Belsito and Derek Gluchaki rounded out the top five.
A full replay of Saturday’s race at Star Speedway can be viewed now on Speed51.TV.
The next race for the Granite State Pro Stock Series is Sunday, May 30 at Claremont Motorsports Park in Claremont, NH.
– Story by Ian Pettigrew, Speed51.com Northeast correspondent
– Photo credit: Speed51 / Will Sweatt
HEDGES EXCAVATION 100 UNOFFICIAL RESULTS
- Bryan Kruczek
- Josh King
- Jacob Dore
- Angelo Belsito
- Derek Gluchaki
- Tyler Tomassi
- Gabe Brown
- Evan Beaulieu
- Devin O’Connell
- Kevin Casper
- Bobby Cabral
- Dave Helliwell
- Joey Polewarczyk
- Bobby Pelland
- T.J. Bleau
- Mike Mitchell
- Luke Hinkley