On a night the featured a great crowd and fireworks in the sky, Joey Doiron celebrated Independence Day in Granite State Pro Stock Series Victory Lane on Friday Night at Lee USA Speedway. The Berwick, Maine driver found himself in the right place at the right time to avoid "the big one" and score an elusive victory at New Hampshire's Center of Speed.
The night started out with Doiron, the series points leader, setting fast time in the Crazy Horse Racing race for the pole. Doiron’s lap of 15.094 seconds was less than a tenth of a second off Ray Christian’s track record, a remarkable feat considering the extreme heat during time trials.
Next up were heat races, both of which were won by familiar faces. The first heat was won by Doiron, who has been a qualifying machine in 2019 taking down four fast time awards and numerous heat race victories. Brandon Barker, winner of the last two events at the Lee, New Hampshire speed plant, won the second heat race with relative ease.
After the GSPSS redraw it was Ryan Green who was the polesitter and had the option to take the NHSTRA Back of the Pack Challenge. Even the offer of $1,000 if he could win from the back was not enough to entice Green to give up his number-one starting spot.
“We are going to stay right here,” Green said when asked what he would do. “Joey (Doiron) and Brandon (Barker) are way too fast to try going to the back."
The first half of the EKeys4Cars 100 went off uneventfully with only a few minor incidents. Just after halfway a bracket on the rear end of Todd Stone's Ford failed, causing all of the fluid to spill out onto the race track going into turn one. Several cars got into it and spun around but it was race leader Green who suffered the most damage. He got into the fluid and slid up the track hitting the outside wall extremely hard. Green's heavily damaged machine then came back down the race track and hit the driver’s side of Jake Matheson’s car, ending his day as well.
Fortunately, Green was unhurt but his car not so much. When asked about the aftermath, Green said “It’s real bad, it will need a front clip and every bolt on piece on the front end.” He then added “I’ll be sore in the morning but mostly my feelings are hurt."
Josh King’s machine was also involved, suffering damage to both ends of his race car while Ben Rowe found himself out of the race as well.
The other car involved was the Brandon Barkers No. 16. Barker was trying to win his third straight GSPSS event at Lee but contact in the turn one incident left him with front end damage effectively ending his chances at the three peat.
“It messed up the nose and hood a little which didn’t help but the biggest thing was it knocked the toe out which screwed up the handling,” Barker said.
After an extensive cleanup the field went back to racing and it was clear that Joey Doiron had the best car. As the laps wore down defending series champion Devin O’Connell and Jeremy Davis battled for the second spot in what turned out to be a 30-lap duel for the ages. Davis, time and time again, drove to the inside of the champ but just couldn’t get clear.
In the end it was Doiron running away with the victory while O’Connell was able to hold off Davis for second. Joe Squeglia pushed to the end for a fourth-place finish while Mike Mitchell battled back from two spins to complete the top five.
It was a case of mixed emotions for Doiron after the race after two of his friends were struck with bad luck.
“I feel really bad for Ryan and Brandon. It was going to be a really good race to the finish," Doiron said. “I just wanted a chance to race them heads up and beat them on the race track."
Barker came up short in his bid to win his third in a row but came home in a solid sixth position. Jimmy Renfrew held on after a late-race spin to finish seventh while Bobby Pelland had his best run of the season in eighth. Ray Christian III suffered overheating issues after an off-track excursion but battled back for a ninth-place run and Kevin Foland came back from a flat tire to complete the top 10.
Next up for the Granite State Pro Stock Series is a visit to Hudson Speedway in Hudson, New Hampshire. The newly improved and renovated facility which has become a favorite of the series competitors will host the series for 100 laps of green flag action on Sunday, July 14.
For more, follow the GSPSS on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as at www.gspss.net.
EKeys4Cars 100 Official Finish
1- 73 Joey Doiron
2- 43 Devin O’Connell
3- 09 Jeremy Davis
4- 03 Joe Squeglia
5- 40 Mike Mitchell
6- 26 Brandon Barker
7- 00 Jimmy Renfrew Jr
8- 12 Bobby Pelland
9- 93ct Ray Christian III
10- 17 KDevin Folan
11- 46 Dennis Spencer Jr
12- 93 Ryan Green
13- 1x Todd Stone
14- 21 Josh King
15- 4 Ben Rowe
16- 53 Jake Matheson
17- 18 Jeff Fagan
18- 51 Jeremy Harcelrode
19- 29 Barry Gray
20- 14 Matt Frahm
-Granite State Pro Stock Series Press Release and Photo