The Granite State Pro Stock Series headlined day one of the 56th Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT) Friday night, with major storylines popping up throughout the entire field over the 50-lap event.
At the front of the field, it was all Eddie MacDonald who took down the victory after an epic early race duel with Todd Stone. For close to three laps MacDonald and Stone battled side by side, with “The Outlaw” Eddie Mac making the tricky inside line work to his advantage, eventually getting the lead for good on Lap 10.
The victory is MacDonald’s fourth touring series win at “The Big T,” going along with a NASCAR Busch North Series victory in 2005, plus wins in 2017 with the Pro All Stars Series at the Icebreaker and the American-Canadian Tour at the World Series.
“The guys gave me a great car. Dave Lemieux really wanted to get that win with this car this year; he loves this place and so do I,” MacDonald said after the race. “It’s great to be able to come down here and get a win. The car was really good and it was fun to drive.”
Further back in the field, the GSPSS championship battle took not one, but two dramatic turns in the penultimate race of the 2018 season. First with points leader Devin O’Connell getting caught in an early dustup with Larry Gelinas on Lap 6, with O’Connell damaging his right front, forcing the crew to remove the fender, and toeing out the right front slightly.
A chance for second-place points runner Joey Doiron to make up ground seemed to be at hand, until all of a sudden coming out of turn four on Lap 12, the No. 73 snapped around in a cloud of smoke. Though Doiron had avoided contact, his entire left rear had snapped loose from the car, ending his night right then and there.
“We ended up breaking the spindle pin, sheared right off at the axle tube. Frustrating, but luckily nobody hit me which minimized the damage quite a bit,” Dorion explained. “Thinking about it now, it was slipping the rear tire quite a bit, working its way to breaking point, and then it finally just let go. Luckily it broke coming out of the corner.”
Ironically, the driver that came closest to hitting Doiron in the smoke screen was Devin O’Connell, who was on a charge to make up ground after his troubles.
“That was close, for sure. I definitely had my eyes shut when Joey spun in front of me, I can’t wait to see that on tape,” said a relieved O’Connell. “I didn’t know where he was on the race track, there was nothing but smoke in front of me, I knew I didn’t have a right front fender, and my number one worry was just climbing up on him. Thankfully, I guess I said a small prayer in about half-a-second and it worked.”
While O’Connell did not make as much ground through the field as he would have wanted, he was satisfied to have escaped Thompson in one piece while gaining some ground heading into the season finale on Saturday, October 20 at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
“We came through with the best finish we could. We got in a little incident at the beginning which knocked the toe out a little bit,” he explained. “I drove as hard as I could to get what I could and burned my brakes up pretty good. Overall, it’s an 11th-place finish, but we extended our points lead with a little luck. We’re moving to Waterford where we just got to star, have a solid race, keep the car in one piece and bring home this championship.”
As for Doiron, he heads to the Speedbowl with just one goal: win the race and hope a break will go his way.
“Devin’s done a good job minimizing the bad weeks and we just had too many bad weeks. Just got to go to Waterford to win now, we’ll see.”
Race fans can find on-demand coverage of Friday’s action by visiting Speed51.com’s Race Day Now.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
GSPSS World Series 50 Unofficial Results
1. Eddie MacDonald
2. Todd Stone
3. Tommy O’Sullivan
4. Ray Christian III
5. Mike O’Sullivan
6. Brad Babb
7. Dave Farrington Jr
8. Scott MacMichael
9. Jimmy Renfrew Jr
10. Josh King
11. Devin O’Connell
12. George Bessette
13. Greg Nanigan
14. Todd Owen
15. Mike Scorzelli
16. Joey Doiron
17. Derek Ramstrom
18. Larry Gelinas
19. David Darling