In its first two races of the season, the Granite State Pro Stock Series (GSPSS) has been the star attraction.
But as the series travels to Lee USA (N.H.) Speedway for its third event of the season, it finds itself among elite company.
The GSPSS serves as the featured attraction for Saturday inaugural Granite State Derby presented by USA Insualtion, part of the two-day May Madness opening weekend at “New Hampshire’s Center of Speed.”
For the first of two dates this year, the GSPSS will race alongside the stars of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in their own 100-lap contest.
Only a short drive from the seacoast, Lee USA Speedway is a storied venue that has welcomed legends from Dale Earnhardt to Bentley Warren through its gates.
Designed as a dirt tri-oval in 1964, Lee was paved a year later and reconfigured in 1984 to today’s traditional oval layout.
Lee’s first Oktoberfest that fall set track attendance records that still stand today. Lee has hosted nearly every major touring series in New England, plus national curiosities like the American IndyCar Series and the Stock Car Connection.
Since 2014, Lee has welcomed the Granite State Pro Stock Series as well. GSPSS’ twelve appearances at Lee have run the gamut from standalone summer appearances to anchoring the final day of Oktoberfest. This weekend is the second time, and the first since 2019, that GSPSS will race under the May Madness banner.
With pro stocks returning to Lee’s roster of weekly divisions in 2022, Lee is the only track on the GSPSS schedule that sanctions its own pro stock class.
Reigning champion Gabe Brown opened the season with his third straight win at Claremont Motorsports Park.
At Star Speedway, Bryan Kruczek duplicated his winning drive from last May’s visit to the Epping, N.H. quarter-mile.
This weekend, Kruczek will try to go two-for-two in 2022, as he and the Bobby Webber Racing team have made a last-minute call to head to Lee. Kruczek was a force in Lee’s Late Model Sportsman ranks last year, though he still seeks a touring win at the track.
Names To Watch
The Claremont, N.H., veteran has finished second in the last three GSPSS races and leads the points standings, but Hinkley is eager to break through for his first series win. Hinkley’s recent results have set the bar high for his first visit to Lee since 2019.
Dorion currently sits second in the standings. Doiron won at Lee in 2019 en route to the GSPSS title, and picked up another Super Late Model win last May. Tire management is critical at Lee, and Doiron’s experience and patience make him a favorite.
Jimmy Renfrew, Jr.
The youngster dominated street stock action at the track in 2020, but he found speed in a pro stock as well, finishing third in that year’s Oktoberfest feature and second the year before. A jumped restart kept Renfrew from challenging for the win at Star, and a win at Lee would go a long way to avenge that error.
The GSPSS rookie finished seventh at Lee’s Oktoberfest in 2020, improving on an eleventh-place run in that fall’s open-competition Freedom 300. The former Seekonk Speedway ace looks to build on that run on Saturday.
Call led 46 laps in last fall’s Oktoberfest, and the third-year driver will try to back up last year’s strong start with a strong finish.
Four drivers have won twice at Lee in GSPSS competition, but only Barker will try to go for a third this weekend. Barker wheeled Wright Pearson’s car to victory in 2018’s Oktoberfest, then picked up another win in 2019’s May Madness headliner, winning both the shortest and longest GSPSS features at Lee to date. The Mainer has a weekend doubleheader in store, as he will head west for another race Sunday afternoon.
Saturday’s race is the first of two visits to Lee this year, and with July’s Friday-night showdown promising $10,000 to the winner, May’s early-season shakedown has a special significance for amateurs and experts alike. The lessons learned Saturday evening may decide who comes home with the big payday in two months’ time.