Three was the magic number at Claremont Motorsports Park on Friday night, as Connecticut driver Ray Christian III piloted his No. 93 Mustang to victory in the Independence 100 – his third straight Granite State Pro Stock Series victory, and his third consecutive win at the 1/3-mile New Hampshire bullring.
Christian steadily worked his way up from a top-five starting position, saving his equipment and staying out of trouble. When Luke Hinkley and Angelo Belsito tangled fighting for the lead in the closing laps, Christian seized the opportunity, taking the lead from Joey Polewarczyk on Lap 92. Joey Pole tried his best to run down the Crazy Horse Racing machine, but in the end, Christian had just enough car underneath him to survive the challenge and roll to his second win of 2020.
“Better to be lucky than to be good sometimes,” Christian said after the race. “The 8 [Belsito] and the 31 [Hinkley] got together there, and we just capitalized. Me and Joey [Polewarczyk] had a heck of a race there, and when you race with guys like that you know you don’t have to worry about any problems. But me and him duked it out to the end, and we came out on top.”
Polewarczyk still managed to bring his car home to a brilliant second-place finish, backing up his fifth-place run at the GSPSS season opener just one month ago.
“It was pretty good,” Polewarczyk said. “This was a different track for us, we don’t come here a whole lot. We finished fifth here the first race they had, and got it a little better, even had the lead there at the end, but we’re just missing a little bit more turn in the center, we just have to work that a little bit more and try to get it a little bit better. But it was a lot of fun, fun racing with Luke tonight, fun racing with Ray Christian and Joey Doiron. Just a lot of fun, but came up just a little bit short.”
2019 GSPSS champion Joey Doiron wheeled his No. 73 to a third-place finish – a very strong run, considering he thought he didn’t even have a Top 5 car.
“We were better than we were a couple weeks ago here, so we made improvements,” he said. “We’re still missing something, I don’t know. We missed it probably since Lee last year, we had a parts failure and something’s not quite right, we haven’t had the speed that we had last year since then.
“We got fortunate, we were probably a fifth-place car. The 8 and the 31 eliminated themselves, and we were there at the end. We saved tires most of the race, and we were able to hang with Joey and Ray and the end, but we were still probably a fifth-place car. I’m still happy to finish third, with a fifth-place car, and hopefully we can gain a little more.”
Mike O’Sullivan, despite starting first and falling as far back as seventh, clawed his way back up the order to finish fourth, and Corey Casagrande capped off a solid performance all day with a Top 5 finish.
Jake Matheson, Luke Hinkley, Cody LeBlanc, Casey Call, and Ryan Lineham completed the Top 10.
The series will head southeast to take on the Hudson International Speedway on Sunday, July 12th, for the third race of the 2020 season. Could Ray Christian III make it 3-for-3 in 2020? He certainly feels like he can.
“We’re pretty ready to race everywhere we go now,” Christian said. “Hopefully Hudson goes good for us next week. Guys like Joey and all them, they’re all real tough, every week they’re right there, so you have to stay on your game and on your toes and be ready to race.”
“Three in a row at this race track and in this series, you guys are on a roll!” series announcer Andy Hall commented to Christian in Victory Lane.
To that, Christian simply cracked a sly grin and said “Yeah, we’re getting there.”
Race fans who missed Friday’s race can watch an on-demand replay of Speed51’s Summer Thunder TV broadcast of the event by clicking here.
-Story by: Ian Pettigrew, Speed51 Contributor
-Photo credit: Speed51 photo
Granite State Pro Stock Series Independence 100 – Full Results (Unofficial)
- Ray Christian III
- Joey Polewarczyk
- Joey Doiron
- Mike O’Sullivan
- Corey Casagrande
- Jake Matheson
- Luke Hinkley
- Cody LeBlanc
- Casey Call
- Ryan Lineham
- Barry Gray
- Kevin Casper
- Bobby Pelland
- John Lowinski-Loh
- Angelo Belsito
- Bryon Baker
- Mike Mitchell
- Guy Caron