Tag Archives: GSPSS

Granite State Pro Stocks 2017 Season in Review

By Kyle Souza

Photo Troy Bregy

WALPOLE, N.H. – The 2017 Granite State Pro Stock Series season saw one driver work himself back into championship form. Springfield, Mass. native Mike O’Sullivan never visited Victory Lane, but that didn’t matter much when it came to the fight for the title. O’Sullivan finished seventh in the finale at New London-Waterford Speedbowl and that was enough to clinch him his second career championship on the Granite State Pro Stock touring series.

Below are some of the top highlights from the 2017 season:

O’Sullivan Returns To Title Form: Mike O’Sullivan had been a champion before on the Granite State Pro Stock Series. The Springfield, Mass. driver entered this season hoping to return back to his prime form – and in the end – he completed his goals. A long summer and a lot of hard work ended with O’Sullivan celebrating the championship come the finale at the Speedbowl on Oct. 21. He crashed out of the Thompson World Series race and went into the season-finale at Waterford needing a ride. His bother, Tommy, gave up his car and Mike finished the season and the championship driving his brother’s machine. It was a true family effort.

MacMichael Takes Rookie of the Year Title: The 2017 season saw Scott MacMichael sit behind the wheel of a Pro Stock for the first time in his career. Even though he had competed in Late Models and Modifieds in the past, this marked a new venture for the Newbury, N.H. driver. Even though he didn’t have much experience — the season ended up going well. He finished as the Rookie of the Year in the series, which was one of his goals at the outset. However, much to his surprise, MacMichael found himself entering the final race of the season with a shot at the championship. He entered the finale at New London-Waterford Speedbowl just four points from the lead, but obviously, things didn’t go his way. Even still, a second-place finish in points in your rookie season isn’t half bad. If he returns for 2018, he will immediately be one of the drivers who will be a threat for the title.

Gray Remains Winless: The 2016 Granite State Pro Stock Series champion Barry Gray gave up his crown in 2017 and still didn’t visit Victory Lane. The Belchertown, Mass. driver had won the title in 2016 without winning a race and it looked as though he might be on a path to do that once again this year. However, a rough summer stretch that included multiple finishes outside the top five ended up forcing Gray to try to gain ground in the season’s final two races. He wasn’t able to accomplish his goal of winning a second straight title, but he did end the season third in the standings.

FIRST-TIME VISIT TO NHMS: When the announcement was made over the offseason that the series would visit New Hampshire Motor Speedway, drivers were ready to tackle the one-mile oval. In the First Annual New England Short Track Showdown, 26 cars showed up to Loudon and in the end, it was Eddie MacDonald picking up the victory. MacDonald struggled in the first half of the race, but came on strong after a break at halfway and was unbeatable in the final circuits. DJ Shaw finished second, while NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour regular Matt Swanson invaded the series and finished third. The event was a success and will return for the 2018 season – more details on that will follow over the offseason.

WINNING: Only one driver was able to visit Victory Lane on multiple occasions this season. Joe Squeglia scored three victories behind the wheel of his No. 03 – winning at Lee USA Speedway, Star Speedway and New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Other than him – there was a mix of first-time winners and veterans returning to the winner’s circle. Jeremy Davis started the season with a victory at Lee, while Mike Mitchell rolled into Riverhead and captured his first career win in race two of the season. After that, Tommy O’Sullivan and David Darling went to Victory Lane at Claremont and Seekonk. In the First Annual New England Short Track Showdown at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Eddie MacDonald added to his impressive NHMS resume once again with a victory in the 50-lap feature.  Squeglia won his first race of the season at Lee and then Todd Stone rolled into the winner’s circle. In the annual JBH 100 at Monadnock, Josh King won his first GSPSS feature and then Garrett Hall scored the win on the night before the Oxford 250. In the final three races – Squeglia won twice – while Derek Ramstrom took a home-track victory in the Sunoco World Series at Thompson.

 A LOOK BACK AND FORWARD:

 Granite State Pro Stock Series president Mike Parks weighed in with comments looking back at the 2017 season, as well as looking ahead to 2018.

On 2017:

 “We have to be thrilled that we had 103 different drivers compete with us this year,” Parks said. “That’s just truly amazing. We had the most competitive season in our history and going into the finale at New London-Waterford Speedbowl, there were only four points separating Mike O’Sullivan and Scott MacMichael. As a series, you can’t ask for anything better than that.”

On 2018:

“The future is bright for our series, for sure,” Parks said. “Our phone is ringing off the hook with people inquiring about our series. We are hard at work looking at the schedule for next year. We hope to have it ready in early December. Of course, heading back to New Hampshire for the second New England Short Track Showdown. We will be looking at a 14-race schedule.”

On Running The Series From President Role:

“As far as the series as a whole goes, I really feel we are in good shape. As much as I want to get behind the wheel, I have finally come to the conclusion that I have to run the series from behind the scenes. This year, we made huge strides in the right direction from the teams, to the officials and everyone else – we had a fantastic season.”

Keep updated with the latest news from the Granite State Pro Stock Series over the offseason by following the series on social media or visiting www.gspss.net.

O’SULLIVAN BECOMES A TWO-TIME GSPSS CHAMPION

By Kyle Souza, Granite State Pro Stock Series

WATERFORD, Conn. — The 2017 Granite State Pro Stock Series season saw one driver capture his second championship. Mike O’Sullivan, a former champion at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, wasn’t able to visit Victory Lane in the 12-race schedule.

But that didn’t matter.

O’Sullivan was consistent enough to roll into the season-finale at New London-Waterford Speedbowl with a four point lead over Scott MacMichael. While his challengers had trouble, O’Sullivan was calm, cool and collective and finished seventh in the 100 lap feature. He avoided a few crashes and settled in late, knowing he just needed to finish well to become a two-time Granite State Series champion.

“Those guys in front of me, you can’t take anything away from them, they were definitely good tonight,” O’Sullivan said of the race. “I was just trying to be smart. My car was great. It didn’t really go away. It was difficult to be smart there and just do what I needed to do. I was really confident on the restarts, even though I started on the top.”

Saturday’s race wasn’t exactly what O’Sullivan was looking for from his competitors either. The early stages of the race were filled with cautions, a lot of them for multi-car crashes all around the track. Luckily, he was able to escape without damage. But it still wasn’t the way he wanted to end the season.

“You want to get in a rhythm and run. Everyone will tell you when they strap in the race car they are nervous. But as soon as they throw the green, you get hot and things get going,” O’Sullivan said. “I’d rather see 25, 30 laps runs and get us in a rhythm. But that’s just what happens.”

One major turning point in the championship chase took place in just the first few laps. His closest challenger, MacMichael, went spinning from second spot right in front of the entire field. Unfortunately, O’Sullivan was the one who got into him and sent him around -not intentionally, though. There was a car stopped at the bottom of turn four and MacMichael checked up. It created the accordion affect.

“To be honest, I was hoping Scott would get his spot back. He checked up for the wreck in turn four and they were yelling there was no caution,” O’Sullivan said. “I got hit from behind and pushed into him and he got put around. I was hoping they would just give him his spot back and wipe the slate clean.”

O’Sullivan didn’t even have his own car on the property on Saturday night. His brother, Tommy, who also competes in the series, lended his car over to his brother after Mike was involved in a nasty crash at Thompson a week prior. They knew it would be hard to get the car fixed, but his brother stepped in to help.

“He’s always been like that, I’ve driven his Late Models before and I’ve even driven his go-karts before. He’s always had a bone in him to be happy and be content to see me drive his car,” Mike said. “That being said, he had a good car at Thompson and he won this year with this car. To be able to step away and know that it was a possibility that he wasn’t going to be able to take his car here, it was tough. He didn’t hesitate.”

His fourth career championship is definitely something special.

“They are all different, the first one at Thompson was cool, we weren’t really expecting to do that. We ran really good that year and it was a little bit of a surprise. It took us a while to get back there, we won in 2002 and then in 2007,” O’Sullivan said.

“To come here on a touring series, we had Icebreaker and the World Series on the schedule and we decided we wanted to run them all. The first time we won a title on this series, I hadn’t even visited three-quarters of the tracks. To be able to do this is a testament to my guys. They love running for points.”

SQUEGLIA CAPTURES THIRD GSPSS WIN OF 2017

Speed51 Photo

O’SULLIVAN WRAPS UP SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP

 WATERFORD, Conn. – Joe Squeglia used a late pass of Angelo Belsito to capture his third Granite State Pro Stock Series victory of the season on Saturday night at New London-Waterford Speedbowl.

In the 25-car field that was filled with talent, Squeglia had to start ninth in the 100-lap main event, but it didn’t take him long to work his way up through the pack. He fought for second spot for most of the first half of the race, but when he finally got clear, he set his sights on Belsito looking for the top spot.

He was able to drive around Belsito in lapped traffic with just over 20 laps to go. A caution set the stage for a wild finish, but it was Squeglia who would get the jump and pull away from the rest of the field, capturing his third victory on the season. Squeglia ends the season as the only driver to win multiple feature events on the series in 2017.

“It was a tough one,” Squeglia said in Victory Lane. “It’s been a great year for us with the Granite State (Pro Stock) Series, this is our third win in four races this year. It’s always fun to come down to Waterford, I really enjoy this track every year, I always circle it on the schedule.”

Although 25 cars took the green flag, it didn’t take long for some of them to be in the pit area with damage. A caution on just lap one saw points contender Scott MacMichael go spinning in turn four, right in front of the entire field. The first 30 laps of the race saw cautions slow the action multiple times.

Drivers like Kevin Folan, Nick Lascuola, Bobby Pelland and others all sustained damage during the crashes inside the first 30 laps. However, once the race got going under a green flag stretch, it was Belsito who found himself dominating out in front of the pack.

Belsito was cutting through lapped traffic when he approached the No. 48 of Larry Gelinas. In his attempt to put him a lap down, Squeglia came from behind and made a move to slide by Belsito and take over the top spot.

He never looked back.

When the checkered flag went in the air, Corey Bubar crossed second after getting around Belsito in the final laps. Belsito was third, followed by Ray Christian III and Nick Jenkins.

Positions six through 10 went to Derek Ramstrom, Mike O’Sullivan, Ron Silk, Scott MacMichael and Tommy O’Sullivan.

With his seventh place finish, Mike O’Sullivan locked up the 2017 Granite State Pro Stock Series championship – which was his second career. He knew he had to just finish the race in front of MacMichael if he wanted to be champion.

“We really had a good car, I was just trying to be smart about where I put the car out there tonight,” O’Sullivan said. “I really appreciate these guys racing me really clean and being careful around me. I’d really just like to say thank you to everyone who helps out and comes here.”

The Granite State Pro Stock Series will have more on the title run for O’Sullivan in the coming week.

For more information, fans are encouraged to visit www.gspss.net, or follow the series on social media.

RESULTS: Joe Squeglia, Corey Bubar, Angelo Belsito, Ray Christian III, Nick Jenkins, Derek Ramstrom, Mike O’Sullivan, Ron Silk, Scott MacMichael, Tommy O’Sullivan, Craig Weinstein, Barry Gray, Larry Gelinas, Anthony Flannery, Bobby Timmons, Cory Casagrande, Mike Scorzelli, Nick Lascuola, Chris Turbush, Rusty Poland, Brian Doyle, Devin O’Connell, Jimmy Renfew, Bobby Pelland, Kevin Folan