Story By: KYLE SOUZA / JDV PRODUCTIONS – LEE, NH – After months of anticipation, JDV Productions is happy to present the inaugural Granite State Derby presented by USA Insulation this weekend, Saturday, May 21, at Lee USA Speedway in New Hampshire.
The event will include five divisions of high-speed excitement at New Hampshire’s Center of Speed, with a mix of everything from Modifieds, to Midgets, to Pro Stocks and Mini Stocks. There is truly something for every race fan in the New England market as part of a full day of action.
In the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, with 175 laps to crown the winner, strategy is going to be the name of the game. Lee USA Speedway is known for its abrasive surface that requires drivers to be understanding of their tire situation right from the drop of the green flag. Often, some drivers elect to ride and save their equipment, while others blast to the front to lead laps. The Whelen Modified Tour teams will be allowed to pit, changing six tires during the race, plus the four they start the race on. The battle inside the battle will be to see who pits when during the extra-distance affair, the first time the series has been to the track in over decades. Keeping drivers on the edge of their toes, racing journalist Kevin Rice will also present lap money collected to the first 100 green flag laps of the race. Most laps are at least $100 per lap – spread between the leader of that circuit and a random top-10 car.
Heading into the race, picking a favorite to win is no easy task. The man they call “Big Money” Matt Hirschman picked up the win at New Smyrna Speedway in the tour opener in February, and is known for being a master of saving equipment. Hirschman is going to be tough to beat, but most recent tour winner Doug Coby and three-time champion and Richmond Raceway winner in April, Justin Bonsignore, will also be major threats. Coby will team with Tommy Baldwin Racing for the second straight event looking to take the 7NY to Victory Lane, while Bonsignore is hoping to rebound following a mechanical failure at Riverhead Raceway that sidelined him early in the 200-lap race.
On the championship front, Eric Goodale is off to a hot start, leading the point standings by two over Ron Silk and three over Tommy Catalano through the first three events. Jon McKennedy and Austin Beers finish the top-five in the standings, with the top-10 separated by just 36 points. With two mechanical failures and one victory in three races, three-time and defending champion Bonsignore is 10th, 36 back, and will be looking to begin his crawl back towards the top.
The Lee event is also the first of three Whelen Modified Tour races in the Whelen Granite State Short Track Cup, covering the three JDV Productions events in New Hampshire. Additional races in the series will take place at Monadnock Speedway on June 18 and Claremont Motorsports Park on July 29, with over $15,000 in bonus awards on the line as part of the Cup. Each race will also include many bonus awards.
On top of the Whelen bonuses, Critical Screen Printing will debut a $100 award to the Critical Move of the Race, awarded to the driver who makes the most critical move during the 175-lap event. Moe’s Moving will also produce a $200 award to the driver that advances the most positions from their finishing spot in the previous JDV Productions event. For Lee USA Speedway, the results from Beech Ridge Motor Speedway last August will be used to determine the winner.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour isn’t going to be the only main event on the card. With four other divisions set for action, the Granite State Pro Stock Series 100-lap race is going to be one that fans want to watch. In what will be the first of two visits to Lee this year for the Pro Stock touring series, the entry list for the race includes multiple feature winners, former series champions and rising stars.
Fresh off a victory at Star Speedway with the division earlier this month, Bryan Kruczek will be competing in the Bobby Webber Racing entry and has to be one of the early favorites. Kruczek won 10 times in Lee’s Late Model Sportsman division last year, and knows his way around the track. He will be joined by names like Jimmy Renfrew Jr., Josh King, Casey Call, Joey Doiron, Dylan Estrella, Derek Gluchacki and more. Luke Hinkley heads to Lee coming off two second-place finishes to open the GSPSS season and knocking on the door of Victory Lane.
On top of the Pro Stocks, the rolling winged warriors of the NEMA Lite division will compete in a 25-lap race of their own. Lee is known as one of the fastest tracks on the circuit for NEMA, with long straightaways showcasing the true speed the division has to offer. In the first race of their season at Thompson Speedway’s Icebreaker, Todd Bertrand dominated, besting Jake Trainor and Kyle Valeri to the checkered flag.
The New England Pro 4 Modifieds will open their season at Lee, showcasing more of the same as NEMA – a mix of veterans and rising stars. The Pro 4 Modified division is a bit more of an affordable way for drivers to enter the Modified division, and they are no strangers to Lee USA Speedway. Joining the above divisions on the card, the NHSTRA Mini Stocks will also be at the track to compete in a special 50-lap race in their Battle for the Belt Series. The local Mini Stock contenders seem to always keep fans on the edge of their seats at Lee.
Teaming with JDV Productions, USA Insulation will be the presenting sponsor of the inaugural Granite State Derby, helping to present a full day of racing.
Celebrating over 35 years of helping over 100,000 families save money and stay comfortable, USA Insulation offers injection wall foam, blown-in attic insulation, air sealing, spray foam insulation and much more. Re-insulating your home with them could mean lower energy bills, a healthier home and assistance living comfortably in the confines of your own walls. They offer clean and quick installation, the best fire and smoke rating, and are eco friendly. For more information on USA Insulation or to get your free estimate, give them a call at 866-281-4428.
The race day schedule for the inaugural Granite State Derby presented by USA Insulation includes the start of practice at 12:05 p.m., while the front grandstand gates will open at 1 p.m. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour practice will take place from 1:40-2:40 p.m., followed by qualifying at 2:45 for the Granite State Pro Stock Series. Race time with feature action should begin around 3:30 p.m., with the NHSTRA Mini Stocks first up. The green for the 175-lap NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Advance tickets for the race are available through Friday at JDVProductions.com. Tickets will also be sold at the track on race day. On top of the general admission tickets, a limited experience with the JDV Experience is also available for fans to purchase for $150 each. The JDV Experience will include preferred seating in the grandstands, a private autograph session with select Whelen Modified Tour drivers, a tour of inspection, two beer vouchers, a concession stands voucher, a JDV Experience hat and more.