If Saturday night’s 100-lap Granite State Pro Stock Series was any indication of what to expect in Sunday’s 44th Annual Oxford 250, fans at Oxford Plains Speedway (ME) are in for a treat.
A total of nine lead changes between four drivers provided a thrilling race for fans on the eve of the Northeast’s biggest Late Model race. In the end, it was Garrett Hall prevailing over 14-year-old Super Late Model rookie Gabe Brown to clinch a guaranteed starting spot in Sunday’s race.
Hall took over the lead from Bryan Kruczek for the final time on lap 67 and fended off multiple charges from Brown to score his first career GSPSS victory.
“The car was going pretty good. I could feel it getting free on me. Around lap 60 I was messing around with the brake bias trying to make it a little bit better,” Hall explained. “It just didn’t really seem to help it that much and I tried to save the tires the best that I could. Around lap 90 I could feel the car just gaining bite, I don’t know if the stagger might have changed or whatnot but it just came to life and I was able to hold Gabe off luckily. If that didn’t happen, it would have been a different story.”
Brown earned the support of many fans in the grandstands Saturday night, but had to settle for a runner-up finish in the end after leading a handful of laps during the race.
“It was amazing. Finishing second to Garrett Hall is just outstanding,” Brown told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I raced with him a couple weeks ago at the weekly race here and we raced side by side for a while and I was hoping for the same but I’d come out on top.”
After an impressive run in the outside groove, Kruczek earned the final podium spot. Justin Drake and polesitter Bobby Timmons completed the top five.
For most of the drivers in the 27-car field, the goal was to earn a spot in Sunday’s $25,000-to-win race. Two drivers accomplished that, but one of them doesn’t know if he’ll be able to take advantage of the opportunity.
Current Granite State Pro Stock Series points leader Mike O’Sullivan finished 10th and as the highest finishing series regular he earned a provisional for the big race.
“It’s a huge honor, but I’ve gotta be honest with you, I’ve got to look at some things. I wasn’t expecting to do that,” O’Sullivan said after the race. “I have a 15-gallon (fuel) cell with no dry brake, no gas cans, I don’t have any of that. I wasn’t expecting that. We run 100-lap races with 15-gallon cells at quarter miles so I wasn’t ready for any of that. I’ll go back to the pit area and talk to my father and go from there.”
Hall said he will take advantage of the provisional if needed, but hopes that it isn’t needed when the green flag waves for 250 laps.
“It’s nice to have a provisional to get in; I’ve never had that opportunity, but I also want to start up front and click off some laps and hopefully lead a couple laps to make things worthwhile.”
Although Brown didn’t earn a provisional with his performance, he’s hoping his effort on Saturday will lead to a chance to qualify on Sunday afternoon. All he needs to do is convince his car owner, former Busch North champion Dale Shaw.
“Gonna have to convince Dale now, but I think I’ll convince him,” the youngster said with a smile.
Race fans can find on-demand Trackside Now coverage of Saturday’s race by clicking here.
Live video tickets to watch Speed51.com’s broadcast of the 44th Annual Oxford 250 can be purchased here.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / MoJo Photos
Granite State Pro Stock Series 100 Unofficial Results
August 26, 2017 – Oxford Plains Speedway (ME)
|9||23||Dave Farrington, Jr.|