WALPOLE, N.H. ___
Though the Granite State Pro Stock Series (GSPSS) may have a field filled with veterans in 2016, two rookies have been tearing it up with some of the best Super Late Model talent so far.
Rookie of the Year contenders Mike Mitchell and Glenn Martel have had solid runs and their finishes thus far show they will be a threat to sit in victory lane before the season comes to a close.
Mitchell, who comes to the series as a former Street Stock champion and Pro Stock driver at Seekonk Speedway, has finished inside the top-10 in two of the three series events. He finished sixth at the opener at White Mt. Motorsports Park, then followed that up with a fourth place run at Monadnock Speedway.
He struggled some to get the handling of his No. 40 Rhodes Tree Service Chevrolet at Lee USA Speedway, but was able to come away with a 12th place finish in his first visit to the track with a Pro Stock.
“The biggest challenge for me right now is that 98 percent of these tracks we are going to I haven’t even seen yet,” Mitchell said. “I have to be pretty good right off the trailer — because if not — it’s going to be a long day. At Lee, everyone worked together and by the time the race came around I was comfortable with the car, the circumstances during the race just didn’t allow us to get the finish we wanted.”
He currently sits tied for third in the updated driver points standings, trailing leader Barry Gray by 18 points and tied with series veteran Mike Parks. One of the things Mitchell has learned about going from the 40 lap features he was used to at Seekonk up to the extra-distance, 100 lap races, is that he must wait on the car and let it come around.
Once the tires start to wear, he must have the setup right for the long haul, not just the first part of the race.
“You’ve gotta be patient, so if the cars not on the money right away, you can’t get frustrated,” Mitchell said. “We work as a team to try and get the car to get the car to be competitive. It’s just an honor to be a part of this series and run with these drivers. I’m able to be on the road with all of my family every race and we have an awesome time. I’m able to compete against some of the guys who have run PASS and other series up here and some even down in the South. It’s some of the best talent from across the Northeast.”
Glenn Martel, who comes to the series hoping for success in 2016, has had a solid start. He had trouble early and was involved in a crash at Lee USA Speedway that ended up forcing him to a 21st place finish behind the wheel of his Glenn’s Truck Service No. 23.
However, before the struggles at the 3/8 mile Lee, Martel finished third to open the season at White Mt. then followed that up with a fifth place run at the high-banks of Monadnock.
“I wanted to do a little touring this year and I’m really enjoying it a lot so far,” Martel said. “I’m still working on getting the car back together after the Lee crash and getting it ready for Claremont.”
Martel is a former runner on the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) in the past, but he says a lot of the tracks the series currently goes to he has never visited before, so it has been a learning curve thus far for him.
“I’m also enjoying going to some of these places I’ve never been, it’s a bit of a challenge,” Martel said. “Ten or 15 years ago when I ran ACT, we visited a lot of tracks in Maine and this series allows me to roll into some new places and see how I do.”
Mitchell, Martel and the rest of the Granite State Pro Stock Series drivers will return to racing action next at Claremont Speedway on Friday, June 17.
Chip Cormie Photos