Story By: JEFF BROWN / GRANITE STATE PRO STOCK SERIES – GROVETON, NH – Travis Benjamin is quickly making a home for himself with the Granite State Pro Stock Series – specifically, in victory lane.
The decorated racer from Belfast, Maine, took charge in last night’s VT&NH Racing News 100 at Riverside Speedway to claim his second straight GSPSS victory and lead a one-two finish for Petit Motorsports.
“The last two years, we’ve struggled and struggled and struggled,” Benjamin said. “We really worked hard over the winter, got some new people helping us this year. This car has been awesome.”
Benjamin started from the pole after a pre-race redraw, but slid to third in the opening laps as Brandon Barker set the early pace. Joey Doiron, the reigning GSPSS champion and Benjamin’s new teammate, stalked his former teammate Barker along the high banks looking for a suitable opening.
At last, Doiron found room under Barker to battle for the lead, taking the top spot on lap 27 and bringing Benjamin along to second. It only took Benjamin a couple laps to regroup and go back on the offensive, pressuring Doiron for first. Benjamin poked a nose out front, finally easing into the lead on lap 35.
A spin for Luke Hinkley slowed the race on lap 44, but Benjamin was unassailable on the restart, driving off to take his first career victory at the Groveton, N.H., quarter-mile.
Doiron finished second, his third-straight runner-up finish at Riverside dating back to 2019. In his first GSPSS race since clinching last year’s title, the Berwick, Maine, pilot earned his best finish for the Petit Motorsports team and completed a top-two sweep for the Maine-based operation.
“I’ve been here three times and finished second every time,” Doiron said. “We’ll try to change some stuff up and see if we can try and make it better, maybe come back in August and try again.”
Barker was never seriously threatened for third, bringing home a trophy for car owner Archie St. Hilaire in his first visit to the track.
Ryan Green finished fourth in his Riverside debut, and Evan Beaulieu was fifth in his first trip to the track in over ten years. The two Mainers rounded out a top-five sweep for Maine drivers in a competitive field.
Benjamin is the fourth different winner in six GSPSS events at Riverside since 2013. After going winless in his first five GSPSS starts dating back to 2017, Benjamin now has back-to-back victories to his credit. A victor in some of New England’s biggest races, Benjamin holds the unofficial series points lead with two of eight events completed so far.
The next event on the Granite State Pro Stock Series calendar is the series’ first-ever trip to Speedway 95 on Saturday, June 24. The third-mile oval just outside Bangor, Maine will host GSPSS’ first race in the Pine Tree State since 2021.
RESULTS, VT&NH Racing News 100, June 4, 2023
1. (7B) Travis Benjamin
2. (73D) Joey Doiron
3. (32) Brandon Barker
4. (93) Ryan Green
5. (56) Evan Beaulieu
6. (7CT) Cory Casagrande
7. (94) Garrett Hall
8. (21ME) David Oliver
9. (31NH) Luke Hinkley
10. (4NH) Jamie Swallow, Jr.
11. (14) Matt Frahm
DNS (39) Nick Lascuola