With warm temperatures and clear skies, Friday night was the picture-perfect night to get some racing in down at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, New Hampshire. The night would be filled with fun racing events, from the track’s weekly action to the 100 lap Granite State Pro Stock Series event, which was followed by a Fourth of July fireworks display.
The action started for the Granite State Pro Stock Series with two 12-lap heat races after the drivers participated in time trials earlier in the day. Joey Doiron took off with the early lead in the first heat, but troubles were brewing for Luke Hinkley further back in the field as he came to a slow and headed into the pits on lap 4. Jeremy Davis was on the move mid-heat, breaking the top 5 on lap 5. Doiron took home the heat victory, followed by Matt Frahm, Ray Christian III and Jimmy Renfrew, Jr.
Brandon Barker, who is the one to beat at Lee USA Speedway lately, pulled away with the early lead in the second qualifying heat as Mike Mitchell nestled into the runner-up spot behind him. Todd Stone was also on the move late race, advancing to fifth after last year’s winner, Joe Squeglia, on lap 9. Brandon Barker was able to hold off the competition, scoring the heat victory. Mike Mitchell, Devin O’Connell and Ryan Green rounded out the top 4.
After the heats were finished, the top 4 finishers from each heat would redraw starting positions for the feature and the winner could elect or decline to take on a “back of the pack” challenge, where they would earn an extra sum of money if they won the race after starting at the tail-end of the field. These results would be revealed during driver introductions for the feature later on in the evening.
After the qualifying heats were completed, Lee’s weekly divisions took to the track for their feature races. Donnie McCaffrey came home victorious in the Pure Stock feature, Adam Knowles scored the Six Shooters victory, Alby Ovitt continued his dominance in the Street Stocks and George Helliwell took home the victory in the 40-lap Sportsmen feature.
Come feature time for the Granite State Pro Stocks feature, it was revealed that Ryan Green scored the pole for the big race after the redraw and elected not to take advantage of the “back of the pack” challenge, sitting pretty in first. Green took off with the early lead as Joey Doiron quickly made his way into the runner-up spot. He was all over Ryan Green for the top spot by lap 7, making his way to Green’s outside the following lap and finally clearing him for the top spot on lap 10. Mike Mitchell went around on the front stretch on lap 10, leading to an early race caution.
Joey Doiron pulled away with the lead on the restart, but trouble was brewing behind the leaders. Matt Frahm took a spin on lap 16 in turn 1, leading to yet another caution. The feature also got off to a rough start for Ray Christian III, who headed to the pits under caution and restarted shotgun on the field.
Ryan Green powered into the lead on the restart as Brandon Barker advanced to third behind the leaders. Brandon Barker continued his pursuit to the front, challenging Joey Doiron for the runner-up spot on lap 20. Mike Mitchell took another spin on lap 25 in turn 2, resulting in another caution. This caution was followed by another incident involving Ray Christian III and Jeff Fagan tangling on the front stretch, bringing out the yellow once more.
Once the field got rolling again, Ryan Green pulled away with the lead once again as Brandon Barker finally advanced into the runner-up spot over Joey Doiron. Kevin Folan came to a slow on lap 30, bringing his car down to the pits. By the halfway mark, there was a 2-car breakaway at the front of the field.
The #1 of Todd Stone blew up on lap 56, which was almost a mirror repeat of what happened to Joey Doiron in turn 1 last year in this very race. This left fluid on the track, causing Ben Rowe to take a spin in between turns 1 and 2. Race leader, Ryan Green, had nowhere to go and slammed hard into Ben Rowe. Brandon Barker and Jake Matheson were also caught up in the incident. The incident led to an immediate red flag so the track crews could check on all drivers involved and begin their extended clean-up efforts. The incident changed the shape of the race completely, but was a heartbreaking end to the day for Ryan Green.
Brandon Barker would have restarted at the front of the field after the caution, but headed down to the pits once the red flag was lifted. Joey Doiron sped away once again as the field went back to green flag racing. Jeremy Davis was all over Jimmy Renfrew, Jr. for third on the restart. Brandon Barker and Dennis Spencer, Jr. on the backstretch on lap 68, but both drivers were able to hold onto it. After battling it out with Jeremy Davis for a handful of laps, Jimmy Renfrew, Jr. took a spin on lap 68 in turn 4, but the field remained green. After his previous troubles, Dennis Spencer, Jr. kissed the backstretch wall again on lap 70 and headed down to the pits that lap.
Jeremy Davis was all over Devin O’Connell for the runner-up spot on lap 75, making his way to O’Connell’s inside the following lap. After his early race troubles, Mike Mitchell had powered his way back into the top 5 by lap 80. Devin O’Connell and Jeremy Davis were still battling out for the runner-up spot with just 10 laps to go, but were still within close proximity of race leader, Joey Doiron.
Joey Doiron wound up holding off his competitors and scoring the feature victory, which was pure redemption for Doiron after leading the majority of last year’s race, only to lose it all due to a mechanical failure. Devin O’Connell held off Jeremy Davis for the runner-up spot and Joe Squeglia and Mike Mitchell rounded out the top five. After his late race troubles, Brandon Barker took home a sixth place finish.
Doiron celebrated with his friends, family and crew in Victory Lane and praised his teammate and friend, Brandon Barker, for his vigilant efforts at the end of the race. It was a bittersweet moment for Doiron, winning the race after everything that took place last year and earlier this year at Lee USA Speedway.
Overall, the Granite State Pro Stock Series and Lee USA Speedway managed to put on one Heck of a show and at the end of the day, anyone can appreciate a good “comeback” story!
You can catch the Granite State Pro Stock Series next this Sunday, July 14th at Hudson Speedway. Jake Dore will be racing and competing in the #05 Dream Ride Racing machine and we hope to see you all there!