After being closed for 21 months, its fate uncertain much of the time, the New London-Waterford Speedbowl has been back in action since early August. Now its short, but triumphant comeback season will conclude this coming weekend with a Saturday-Sunday lineup of multiple racing divisions.
Headlining the Saturday schedule, the Granite State Pro Stock Series is back on the Connecticut Shoreline for the second time this fall, last competing in September, much to the delight of Pro Stock drivers in Southern New England. This includes a home tracker from just one town over in Groton, Ray Christian III.
All summer long, RC3 had hounded GSPSS founder and director Mike Parks to take the series back to Waterford to bolster the pandemic-stricken schedule. When the announcement came that the Pro Stocks would visit twice in the fall, Christian was over the moon.
“Absolutely, it’s my home track, I live just up the road. Anybody who’s ever gone through losing their home track, it sucks, even for just a year. It wasn’t a good situation so I’m glad they got it back open, sure as heck that Granite State got a couple of dates there, and hopefully they can keep coming back for years to come,” Christian told Speed51.
Growing up and spending several seasons in the Speedbowl’s Mini Stock division, taking on drivers such as Waterford great Ken Cassidy Jr, Christian honed his skill on the track’s narrow, bumpy, and ultra-competitive surface. Moving up to ACT-type Late Models, RC3 further built his reputation as well as relationships, one of which was Crazy Horse Racing out Maine, for whom he races for to this day.
Being the original weekly home for drivers such as Keith Rocco and Craig Lutz, Christian fully believes that the track itself is a great a teacher for an upcoming driver as it is an obstacle to be overcome.
“You look at just the three Connecticut short tracks; when guys venture out from the Speedbowl and go to Thompson or Stafford, they typically find success pretty quickly. This year, Chris Meyer went to Stafford with his Street Stock and finished second in points with a couple of wins. Seen it with guys at Thompson. The Speedbowl is a driver’s track, you learn how to hustle a car around, so when you go to a bigger place, it comes to you easier.”
The Speedbowl is also the sight of his first and what he considers to still be his best Pro Stock triumph. On this same weekend in 2018, RC3 took on one the very best Pro Stock drivers in all the Northeast, Ben Rowe and managed to win the day.
“Oh man, it’s going to be hard to beat that, unless I win something like the Oxford 250, or something like it. Not only my first Pro Stock win, but at your home track in front of all your friends and family. Not only that, but having to race Ben Rowe to get that done. That was a really cool moment for me and my family, it’s something I’ll never forget.”
Flash forward to September 2020, one month ago. Christian was in the midst of a run towards the front in the GSPSS feature at Waterford, only to accidentally drift into Corey Bubar on the frontstretch, sending both drivers hard into the outside wall. The incident also damaged RC3’s championship hopes against Joey Polewarczyk.
Since then, the Crazy Horse Racing No. 93CT team has been on the mend, with a motivating podium run just up the road at Thompson Speedway in the PASS feature just two weeks ago. Now, they will attempt to end 2020 the same way the team ended 2018, in Speedbowl victory lane.
“We got the Port City car coming for this one and we’re pretty excited for it, it ran well at Thompson, so we’re hoping for a good showing again. A lot of the pressure’s off now with the whole points deal, Joey’s pretty much got that locked up.
“We’re just focused on getting the car as good as we can, starting up front, and winning this thing. Which is our goal every time, but a lot of the other factors don’t matter now. That was a racing deal, nobody at fault there, just the kind of stuff that happens now and then.
“We’re extra motivated this time, we wanted it pretty bad last month, and after what happened, we got a pretty big lump in our throats this time around. We’re going to go out there and clear our throats this weekend.”
Fans can watch Saturday’s Granite State Pro Stock Series event live on Speed51.TV. Click here to learn more and find out how you can watch Saturday’s race.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo