Story By: JEFF BROWN / GRANITE STATE PRO STOCK SERIES – WALPOLE, NH – With three weeks and two races before the Granite State Pro Stock Series crowns its 2022 champion, plenty of the series’ supporters are still chasing the goal of finishing in the first position.
The pursuit of victory marches on at Hudson Speedway, where Sunday’s Governor’s 100 is the penultimate round of the nine-race championship battle and the next opportunity for a driver to park in GSPSS victory lane.
The Governor’s 100 kicks off Hudson Speedway’s two-day Labor Day extravaganza, headlining a full afternoon of racing at the high-banked quarter-mile. New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu will be in attendance to mark the occasion. But once the visors go down and the field rolls into turn one for the first pace lap, all eyes will be on the prize, a win that will build momentum for the season finale in two weeks at Star Speedway.
Sunday’s race is the twelfth GSPSS feature at Hudson, and the track itself has come a long way since the first feature in 2012. Track owner Ben Bosowski has invested in safety and facility improvements since taking ownership, giving the speedway a sense of spit and polish without losing the character and charm of the local neighborhood circle track.
And yet the humble bullring boasts two of New England’s top Super Late Model racers among its graduates, with both Joey Polewarczyk and Derek Griffith cutting their racing teeth at Hudson.
Both “Joey Pole” and Griffith are former GSPSS feature winners. Griffith won in 2015 en route to the series championship, moving on to seek glory in NASCAR’s national divisions. Polewarczyk is one of two two-time winners at Hudson, capturing checkered flags in 2019 and 2021. Bobby Baillargeon’s two GSPSS wins both came at Hudson in 2012 and 2013. But neither Griffith, Polewarczyk nor Baillargeon are on the entry list for Sunday’s race.
In fact, only one former Hudson Speedway GSPSS winner is entered for the Governor’s 100, meaning Sunday’s race could very well welcome a first-time Hudson winner into victory lane.
Joey Doiron claimed August’s $7,500 bounty at Claremont Motorsports Park and leads the charge to Hudson. Fresh off a sixth-place finish in Sunday’s Oxford 250, Doiron’s focus is solely on closing out his second GSPSS championship. A win would clinch the title for Doiron, not to mention avenge a Hudson wreck last summer that left Doiron’s own No. 73 in shambles.
Second in the points is top rookie Nick Cusack, who has vengeance on his mind as well. The Mainer struggled in the last two races after back-to-back podium finishes at Monadnock and Riverside. Hudson is the perfect track for Cusack to get back on the podium path and maybe even secure a first win.
Dylan Estrella has a similar goal in mind, having been steady but not stellar through the season. Estrella led laps early at Monadnock, and the Seekonk Speedway champion craves that breakthrough finish to turn the tide on the season.
Fellow Bay Stater Jeremy Sorel edged out Estrella for fifth place at Monadnock, his best run of the season so far. Like Estrella, Sorel is making his first trip to Hudson, with a similar goal of a command performance to build momentum for next year.
Hudson Speedway is familiar territory for Jimmy Renfrew, Jr., who returns to the series after a summer break. The Candia, N.H. youngster has plenty of feature wins at Hudson, as well as a touring victory last summer, making him a sleeper pick to earn his second GSPSS trophy.
Lee winner Casey Call finished second to Polewarczyk in last July’s Gate City Classic. Call came up short of back-to-back jackpots after his $10,000 triumph in the Keen Parts 150, but a repeat of last year’s performance would be a welcome rebound from his Claremont calamity.
Bryan Kruczek and Bobby Webber Racing added Hudson to their itinerary a couple weeks ago. The Star winner finished fifth last year in his only visit to the track once operated by his car owner’s father, and both Kruczek and Webber would love to earn a victory away from home.
Hudson’s track record was established in 2019 by Cory Casagrande, and the Connecticut racer returns to defend his quick time. Casagrande excels on the banked ovals, and he will look to improve on his fourth-place run in last year’s Gate City Classic.
Earning long-haul honors at Hudson is Maine’s Kate Re, making her second career GSPSS attempt this weekend. Hudson is familiar territory to Re, who has two prior podium finishes at the track and led 26 laps in her first Super Late Model start last year. Griffith will be on hand to help the family team out, adding a dash of local flavor.
Joining Re in the long-haul club are Rhode Islanders Mike Mitchell and Bobby Pelland III, each making their first GSPSS start of 2022. Mitchell last won in 2017’s visit to New York’s Riverhead Raceway, while Pelland has been seeking his first series win since 2016. Josh King, the only entrant from the Green Mountain State, has top tens in four of his nine Hudson appearances.
Angelo Belsito won the 2020 Gate City Classic and has never finished outside of the top ten in a GSPSS race at Hudson. Belsito will be gunning for his fifth series win and his first since last spring at Monadnock.
Season-long series supporter Sammy Gooden arrives at Hudson still searching for his first top-ten result of the year, and rookie Bobby Frappier is on a similar mission after a challenging rookie run. Local specialist Jason Ryan, a Hudson and Star regular, has two GSPSS starts at the track and hopes for a big leap in his third visit.
While Joey Doiron has a very sure path to become the GSPSS’ second repeat champion, the checkered flag and the trophy that await after a hundred laps at Hudson are up for grabs.
The Granite State Pro Stock Series Governor’s 100 joins Hudson Speedway’s Pure Stocks, Street Stocks and Six Shooters on Sunday for the first of two days of Labor Day weekend festivities at “The Family Fun Track.” A 50-lap four-cylinder enduro and Hudson’s thrilling spectator drags are scheduled for later in the afternoon. Grandstand gates open at 11:00am, with heat races kicking off at 1:05pm. Tickets are just $20.00 at the gate, with senior/veteran admission $18.00 and kids under ten free.