Derek Griffith returned to Granite State Pro Stock Series competition for Russ Conways Oktoberfest at Lee USA Speedway this weekend and left with the GSPSS trifecta. The annual festival of speed at the shoreline oval was run in the memory of the events founder, Russ Conway. When the weekend was complete it was a huge success for all in attendance especially Griffith.
The 2015 series champion hadn’t competed with the series since the Hudson race in 2018 but it didn’t seem to phase him even a little. The Louie Mechalides led team had their Fury race cars machine on kill and it showed from lap one.
In Time trials Griffith laid down a lap less than a tenth of a second off the track record to take home the Crazy Horse Racing race for the pole and the pole position for heat race number one.
Next on the track for the GSPSS where three heat races with the top three going to the redraw. Heat one went to fast timer Griffith as he got the jump and never looked back. Heat two went to local driver Jimmy Renfrew in one of two Renfrew Motor sports entries for the weekend and the final heat went to Wayne Helliwell in the familiar orange number twenty seven.
After the GSPSS redraw, rookie driver Alby Ovitt found himself on the pole position with Ray Christian III to his right and Helliwell on his back bumper. “I really didn’t want the pole” said Ovitt after the redraw. “I really wanted to get behind someone so I could ride and learn”.
On the initial start it was Christian with the jump but an incident in turn two reracked the field giving Ovitt a second chance. On the restart it was all Christian again, with Ovitt getting stuck in the middle of three wide and bounced around a bit. Jimmy Renfrew Jr and Griffith were able to get around and those three set sail.
Renfrew was able to wrestle the lead from Christian early in the event with Griffith following him through which was how they ran until lap 60 when Griffith went to the front. Renfrew would hound Griffith for the lead over several restarts but never get by as the twelve car showed he was the class of the field.
In Victory lane Griffith took a second to reminisce saying, “I love Lee Speedway, this is where I got my first win in a Pro Stock so it’s nice to come back and win.” He went on to say “I love coming back and racing with Granite State. When we saw we had an off week we decided to come and have some fun and it worked out.”
Jimmy Renfrew JR climbed from his machine after finishing second with a huge smile on his face. “I consider that to be like a win. Derek is one of the best in the business right now and I have learned so much from him in the past and today.” He went on to say, “We lacked just a little drive but we were the best of the Granite State guys so I’m Happy”
While the front three were having their battle the racing from fourth on back was hot and heavy. After changing a motor after time trials, defending race winner Brandon Barker found himself deep in the field at the start. Barker patiently and methodically worked his way toward the front of the field but in the end, fourth was all he could muster as he was forced to use up his tires.
Dennis Spencer Jr has suffered through a miserable 2019 campaign trying to learn new tracks as well as a brand new car. A couple of races off and a little help from crew chief for a day Jason Ricker, was just what the doctor ordered. Running fifth to eighth for the majority of the event Spencer would end the day in fifth.
Luke Hinkley would bring his car home in sixth while Wayne Helliwell battled back from a late race incident to finish seventh. Joe Squeglia finished in the eighth spot followed by Mike Mitchell and Dillon Moltz, both of whom had to battle from the back of the pack.
Next up for the Granite State Pro Stock Series is the World Series at Thompson Speedway. The series will headline the Friday evening portion of the weekend with a 50 lap feature. For more information go to www.gspss.net or check them out on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Granite State Pro Stock Series contingency awards:
ARB Hard Luck Award: $100.00 73 Joey Doiron
O’Reilly Auto Parts last car on the lead lap: $75.00 47 Gabe Brown
O’Reilly Auto Parts 7th place finisher: $75.00 27 Wayne Helliwelll Jr
American Racer N.E Hard Charger: One Free Tire 16 Brandon Barker
Sunoco Heat Race Winners: 5 gal Sunoco race Fuel #1 12 Derek Griffith, #2 00 Jimmy Renfrew Jr, #3 27 Wayne Helliwell Jr
VDL 5th Place: $100.00 46 Dennis Spencer Jr
Crazy Horse Racing Fast Time:
1st $125.00 12 Derek Griffith
2nd $75.00 00 Jimmy Renfrew Jr
3rd $50.00 93 Ray Christian III
Russ Conways Oktoberfest Official Finish
1- 12 Derek Griffith
2- 00 Jimmy Renfrew Jr
3- 93ct Ray Christian III
4- 16 Brandon Barker
5- 46 Dennis Spencer Jr
6- 31 Luke Hinkley
7- 27 Wayne Helliwell
8- 03 Joe Squeglia
9- 40 Mike Mitchell
10- 5 Dillon Moltz
11- 18 Jeff Fagan
12- 47 Gabe Brown
13- 28 Ricky Bly
14- 21 Josh King
15- 25 Barry Poulin
16- 12 Bobby Pelland
17- 35 Alby Ovitt
18- 08 Mike O’Sullivan
19- 43 Devin O’Connell
20- 51 Bill Ahern
21- 73 Joey Doiron
22- 29 Barry Gray
23- 09 Jeremy Davis
24- 48 Ryan Lineham