While there are a variety of ways for drivers to lock themselves into the biggest one-day Super Late Model show in the country, many would rather have the assurance of a provisional before they take on Sunday’s events. Saturday night, the Granite State Pro Stock Series will hold a 100-lap race at Oxford Plains Speedway with the top two finishers earning a guaranteed starting spot in the Oxford 250 the following day.
Among the drivers who will be hoping to lock into the race a day early will be a pair of Dereks.
One of those drivers, Derek Kneeland, spends most of his weekends as a spotter on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for Kyle Larson. Considering he makes a limited amount of starts behind the wheel each year, he’s hoping to take advantage of Saturday night’s race and lock into the $25,000-to-win race on Sunday.
“I never want to use the fact that I don’t get to get behind the wheel as much as an excuse. I know my equipment will be fine, but you either have it or you don’t,” Kneeland told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
In addition to the chance to lock in to the Oxford 250, the Granite State Pro Stock Series race is an opportunity for drivers to get any extra track time that they can.
“We tested recently and will be pulling out the car we had up for sale for the Granite State (Pro Stock Series) race and running it in that and then we will run the new car we got over the winter in the Oxford 250,” Kneeland explained.
Another driver looking to take advantage of the race on Saturday night is regular competitor and former GSPSS champion Derek Griffith. Griffith recently finished second in a GSPSS race at Lee USA Speedway (NH).
“Its good to just run laps there. Oxford is a place that I haven’t really gotten down there, so it’ll be good to use it as a practice. An extra hundred laps is a good thing there,” Griffith stated.
Fortunately for both drivers, they have a separate car ready for Sunday’s events if something goes awry while battling for a lock-in spot during the GSPSS race Saturday.
“We are running two different cars for the weekend,” Griffith said. “We are running our Lefthander Chassis for Saturday and then our Dale Shaw race car on Sunday. That’s the one we’ve been running up there a couple times this year and its been really good.”
Both Griffith and Kneeland have yet to win the Oxford 250 but both have a sentimental connection to the race and hope to land on the top of the podium at this year’s race.
“I was at the race when Kyle Busch won it and I got to be there when the hometown hero Joey Pole ran it as well,” Griffith said. “My first attempt I didn’t even make it in, which was heartbreaking, but we had a good car the next time. I would like to redeem myself and I think we have a good enough car to finish well.”
For fans unable to make the trip to Oxford Plains Speedway for the biggest Super Late Model event in the Northeast, they can catch all the action on Speed51.com’s live pay-per-view broadcast of the race available for purchase here.
Story by: Hannah Newhouse – Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
Photo By: Derek Kneeland