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Granite State Pro Stock Series

Bubar Bests Regulars, Benjamin Clinches Championship In GSPSS Bosowski Properties 150

While Bubar celebrated his biggest touring win yet, Travis Benjamin drove a quiet and clean race to clinch his first GSPSS championship.

Corey Bubar's first GSPSS start of the season ended in the winner's circle, as the Mainer claimed a win worth $8,500 to cap off the series' season. (STS/Jeff Brown)

Heading into Sunday’s Granite State Pro Stock Series showdown at Lee USA Speedway, a car bearing the numeral “12” seemed like the easy pick for victory.

However, the letter after the numeral may have foiled some predictions.

Corey Bubar topped the GSPSS’ strongest field of the season to win the Bosowski Properties 150, walking away with a $8,500 winner’s purse from his only series start this year.

And while Bubar celebrated in victory lane, Travis Benjamin looked on from the side as the tenth driver to earn a GSPSS championship.

Sunday’s race, the final event of Lee’s annual Russ Conway’s Oktoberfest celebration, was only added to the GSPSS schedule a few weeks ago, but proved to be the season finale the embattled series deserved.

Bubar, from Windham, Me., called Lee his home track in 2023, tying fellow Beech Ridge Motor Speedway alumnus Nick Cusack for third in the track’s Pro Stock points battle. A former GSPSS winner in the series’ last stop at Beech Ridge in 2021, Bubar’s touring presence was limited to a handful of Pro All Stars Series events as he focused on Lee’s schedule.

In the GSPSS’ only visit to Lee all year, Bubar timed in second fastest in qualifying, lining up alongside Ryan Green and ahead of pre-race favorite Derek Griffith, the victor of Lee’s $10,000-to-win feature in July.

When offered a shot at an extra $2000 if he could forfeit his third-place grid spot and win from the rear, Derek Griffith hesitated only slightly before declaring “Yeah, let’s do it,” to the satisfied roar of the crowd. (STS/Jeff Brown)

When presented with an opportunity for a $2,000 bonus if they could win after forfeiting their starting position, both Green and Bubar declined. Griffith accepted the challenge, lining up shotgun on the 28-car field.

With his toughest challenger mired in traffic, Bubar shot out to an early lead, keeping Green in the mirror as Griffith picked his way through the pack. Meanwhile, Benjamin and title contender Brandon Barker engaged in their own battle in the back half of the top ten, with Benjamin only needing a solid finish to prevent Barker from overtaking him in the points.

Griffith had moved to 12th when the caution waved on lap 35, bunching up the field. Jimmy Renfrew, Jr. charged to second on the restart, pursuing Bubar before a multi-car crash in turn three brought out another yellow on lap 47. Joey Doiron, running fifth a third of the way into the race, was one of several drivers to pit under the yellow, with Griffith cycling to eighth for the restart.

Bubar held off Renfrew on the restart, but the New Hampshire youngster battled his way to the lead, putting distance between himself and Bubar on a long green-flag run. A late entry after his Vermont Milk Bowl effort ended with a qualifying crash on Saturday, Renfrew was leading by halfway and in the hunt for his third career GSPSS win.

But as lapped traffic grew thicker, Bubar reeled in Renfrew, using a slower car as a pick to power back to the lead.

Meanwhile, Griffith’s back-to-front battle had stalled out with the 2015 GSPSS champion in fourth. With 31 laps to go, Griffith slowed suddenly with a shredded right-front tire, coming to a stop and bringing out the caution flag. After a tow to the pits, Griffith rejoined the field, but suspension damage would doom his shot at a last-ditch rebound.

Bubar and Renfrew pulled no punches in close quarters combat, though both were content to distance themselves from second place when out front. (STS/Jeff Brown)

Renfrew used the restart to pressure Bubar once more, but Bubar made a hasty escape, putting distance between himself and Renfrew in the final stint.

With wide-open track ahead, Bubar coasted to his second career GSPSS win and easily his biggest touring win yet. And he had no regrets about not taking the option for the bounty, either.

Renfrew was a late addition to the lineup after his bid to make the Vermont Milk Bowl went up in smoke Saturday. He made the most of the visit with a second-place finish. (STS/Jeff Brown)

“Track position was real important here,” he said. “I know it looks like Derek got quite a bit up there. I don’t know what happened to him, it looked like he was pretty fast.”

Renfrew held on for second, giving the American-Canadian Tour title chaser runner-up finishes in both his GSPSS starts in 2023. Polesitter Green closed out the podium with his best-career GSPSS result.

Maine racer Dave Farrington, Jr. ran in the top five all night and came home fourth, ahead of former series winner Angelo Belsito in fifth.

Reigning champion Doiron came back from his early pit stop to finish sixth, prevailing in a late battle with Cory Casagrande. Griffith climbed back to eighth after his tire trouble, with Evan Beaulieu and reigning PASS North champ Ryan Kuhn rounding out the top ten.

Finishing eleventh was Benjamin, who bested Barker by one position to clinch the series championship.

Benjamin only needed a modest finish to clinch the championship after a stellar season, but with challenger Brandon Barker in his rear view, any finish would be good enough. (STS/Jeff Brown)

The Belfast, Me. veteran, who flirted with the NASCAR Busch North Series before finding a long-term home in Super Late Model racing, is no stranger to success. Benjamin won the 2012 PASS North championship and back-to-back Oxford 250s in 2013 and 2014 for his family team. After partnering with car owner Peter Petit in 2016, Benjamin added another PASS championship in 2017 and picked up his third Oxford 250 win in 2019.

But the success did not come without its challenges. Benjamin reduced his schedule for 2021, then settled into a driver-coach role as Petit tested the driver-development waters in 2022. “The last couple years, we really struggled,” he said. “And we kind of downsized and got back to the basics.”

Petit and team entered 2023 with a grander plan, bringing Doiron and his own championship-minted car aboard to run for the PASS North title, while Benjamin remained to run his own itinerary. While Doiron met with growing pains in his return to PASS, Benjamin found success in the new arrangement.

“We had a really good year,” he said. “We won four races this year, and I just can’t thank Peter Petit enough and all those guys.

“I had a real fun time this year, and I can’t wait for next year.”

That fun did not extend to “New Hampshire’s Center of Speed,” where Benjamin finished out of the top-four for the first time in seven races.

“This place is tough on me,” he said. “We’re not very good here. But Star, I’m really good at. Groveton, I’m really good at. Bangor, it’s only 45 minutes from me. So the schedule just kind of worked out. We went to the first two races, and we won both of them, so we just kept going.”

“The last couple years, we struggled and he never once said or thought about giving up on me,” said Travis Benjamin of car owner Peter Petit, who has fielded Benjamin’s equipment since the 2016 season. (STS/Jeff Brown)

For that, Benjamin credited his volunteer crew and car owner Petit.

“The last couple years, we struggled and he never once said or thought about giving up on me,” Benjamin said.

Sunday’s race closed out what has been a trying season for the GSPSS, a series that serves as a crucial outlet for southern New England Pro Stock/Super Late Model racers who have few options for weekly racing. Last year’s schedule, true to the series’ name, was contested solely on tracks within New Hampshire. But in the offseason, four staple series haunts withdrew support for the GSPSS in 2023.

Series president Mike Parks scrambled to pull together a schedule without those tracks, booking three stops at Star Speedway and two at Riverside Speedway. To round out an eight-race itinerary, he added two visits to Speedway 95, the track’s first touring dates since 2019 and the series’ first stops in Maine since 2021. A season finale at Lancaster Speedway in western New York, the GSPSS’ second visit ever to the Empire State, capped off the schedule.

Three of the first four dates went off as planned, with the first visit to Speedway 95 postponed by rain. But summer scheduling conflicts forced Parks to scuttle the summer trip to Riverside Speedway. In early September, a new opportunity arose; when PASS canceled a race at Lee, track owner Ben Bosowski and Parks scrambled to book the GSPSS for the date instead. With barely a week’s notice, the Bosowski Properties 150 was on the schedule with a $6,500 winner’s purse that leaped to $8,500 thanks to a longtime sponsor.

In keeping with the theme of 2023, rain forced Parks and Bosowski to postpone the new addition, shifting it to Lee’s Oktoberfest weekend as a new finale for both the tour and the track. A week later, Parks announced that the road trip to New York had been canceled as well, citing the concern of not providing the show that was promised.

Given the costs and complications of budget-conscious New England racers road-tripping to western New York, the cancellation may have been the most prudent move for the GSPSS. And the 28-car starting field at Lee, the series’ strongest field by far all year, reinforces that decision.

More importantly, the race serves as an olive branch between Parks and Bosowski, who also owns Hudson Speedway and a half share of Claremont Motorsports Park. Parks was announced earlier this season as the general manager for Claremont, his own home track, starting in 2024. With Bosowski welcoming the GSPSS back to Lee, races at his other tracks may be up for consideration.

That makes for a stronger series and a stronger schedule at each track.

And with racers like Benjamin on board, the GSPSS’ thirteenth season could prove to be far luckier, indeed.

Unofficial Results
Granite State Pro Stock Series Bosowski Properties 150
Lee USA Speedway

1. (12X) Corey Bubar
2. (00NH) Jimmy Renfrew, Jr.
3. (93) Ryan Green
4. (23) Dave Farrington, Jr.
5. (8) Angelo Belsito
6. (73D) Joey Doiron
7. (7CT) Cory Casagrande
8. (12G) Derek Griffith
9. (56) Evan Beaulieu
10. (72MA) Ryan Kuhn
11. (7) Travis Benjamin
12. (32) Brandon Barker
13. (40) Mike Mitchell
14. (14) Josh St. Clair
15. (17MA) Eddie MacDonald
16. (77MA) Jeremy Sorel
17. (17RI) Vinnie Arrenegado, Jr.
18. (71) Skeeter Bearce
19. (95) Morgan Call
20. (28) Dave Cameron
21. (27NH) Wayne Helliwell, Jr.
22. (09) Frankie Eldredge
23. (47MA) Dick Benoit
24. (29) Adam Gray
25. (90NH) Casey Call
26. (19) Rusty Poland
27. (17) Kevin Folan
28. (99B) Charlie Buxton

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Jeff Brown is a contributor to Short Track Scene. A native of New Hampshire and a long-time fan of New England racing, Brown provides a fan's perspective as he follows New England's regional Late Model touring series.

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