PHOTO: Rob Branning/Granite State Pro Stock Series
EPPING, N.H. – Bryan Kruczek has made a habit out of winning at Star Speedway. But Friday’s checkered flag hit a bit differently.
The Newmarket, N.H., racer closed out the Granite State Pro Stock Series season at his team’s home track with a win in the Ty Cooper Land Holdings 100, celebrating his second win of the year on the birthday of car owner Bobby Webber’s late father.
“We messed it up one time there last fall,” Kruczek said, reflecting on his third win in the last four GSPSS features at Star. “We made it a point this year that this was one we were gonna win.”
Kruczek’s car bore photos honoring former Star Speedway owner Bob Webber, who lost his battle with cancer in 2018. The elder Webber would have turned 75 on Friday.
Travis Benjamin brought the field to the green flag, but Rusty Poland charged to the lead from the outside, bringing fourth-place starter Kruczek along into second. Poland, in his first GSPSS start of the season, settled into a rhythm at the point as Benjamin slotted in third.
Kruczek closed the gap quickly on Poland, dipping underneath the Maine racer and taking the lead with nine laps on the scoreboard. As Poland found his hands full with Doiron and Brandon Barker’s fast cars, Kruczek pulled away to a commanding lead.
Doiron, the defending race winner, made his move for second, content to ride out the early laps while Kruczek carved a path through slower traffic. By halfway, Doiron was chipping away at Kruczek’s lead.
With Kruczek knocking on the back half of the top ten, Doiron closed up to the leader’s bumper, peeking around Kruczek for an open line. As they cleared a cluster of slower traffic into turn three, two lapped cars made slight contact, with one tagging Doiron in the rear on his way past. The champion held on through the slide and saved his car, but the cars behind him got together, with the resulting spin bringing out the first caution of the night on lap 72.
Casey Call took advantage of a choose cone restart, pulling alongside Kruczek to start second. Kruczek got the better of the young racer, though, taking off with the lead. Doiron cleared Call on the low side as well, riding in Kruczek’s shadow with a quarter of the race remaining.
But Doiron could not get close enough to make a bid for the lead. With no obstacles ahead, Kruczek cruised to an easy victory, his third career GSPSS win and his first fall win at Star.
Doiron was forced to settle for second, but he and his family team had a celebration of their own on the frontstretch after the race. Doiron officially claimed GSPSS championship honors for the second time, joining Mike O’Sullivan as the only multi-time series champions. The smooth veteran won twice and finished no worse than fourth all year, posting an average finish of 2.333 en route to the title.
Brandon Barker made the most of a rare GSPSS appearance, finishing third for car owner Archie St. Hilaire. Casey Call crossed the line fourth, with early leader Poland rounding out the top five.
Vinnie Arrenegado, Jr. was sixth in his first series start, with New Hampshire veteran Luke Hinkley seventh. Maine’s Ryan Ripley returned to finish eighth in his first GSPSS race since the series opener at Claremont Motorsports Park. Rookie Dylan Estrella and polesitter Benjamin rounded out the top ten.
Preparations are under way for the 12th season of GSPSS competition. A schedule announcement awaits as soon as dates and tracks are confirmed. GSPSS President Mike Parks and his team extend their appreciation and gratitude to all the racers who competed in 2022 and hope to see them back at the track in 2023.
For more information on the Granite State Pro Stock Series, visit www.gspss.net or find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS, Ty Cooper Land Holdings 100, September 16, 2022:
1. (19) Bryan Kruczek
2. (73) Joey Doiron
3. (32) Brandon Barker
4. (90NH) Casey Call
5. (44) Rusty Poland
6. (17RI) Vinnie Arrenegado, Jr.
7. (31NH) Luke Hinkley
8. (09) Ryan Ripley
9. (46) Dylan Estrella
10. (7) Travis Benjamin
11. (2) Nick Cusack
12. (77) Jeremy Sorel
13. (N40) Dan McKeage, Jr.
14. (55) Randy Cole, Jr.
15. (99) Charlie Buxton
16. (66C) Bobby Cabral
17. (15) Trevor Krouse
18. (05F) Bobby Frappier
DNS (82) Bobby Baillargeon