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Granite State Pro Stock Series

Doiron claims GSPSS glory in Claremont homecoming

The 2022 GSPSS champion, the winner the last time the series raced at Claremont Motorsports Park, went back-to-back at the GSPSS’ home track.

Joey Doiron led every lap Sunday night at Claremont Motorsports Park to take the $5,000 winner's prize in the Key Auto Group 125. (STS/Jeff Brown)

Joey Doiron said after last week’s $30,000 North American Pro Stock Nationals victory that he would be chasing wins the rest of the season.

He made good on that promise Sunday night.

The two-time Granite State Pro Stock Series champion led every lap of the Key Auto Group 125 to win in the GSPSS’ return to Claremont Motorsports Park after a one-year absence. And ever the perfectionist, Doiron was still looking for more.

Doiron shares the post-race spotlight with second-place Cory Casagrande and third-place Jeremy Sorel, both of whom matched their best career GSPSS finishes. (STS/Jeff Brown)

“I mean, my car could have definitely been better,” he said.

The Claremont race, the second of the GSPSS’ young season, was a last-minute addition to Doiron’s schedule after last week’s milestone win at Lee USA Speedway. The Berwick, Me. veteran already had two GSPSS wins to his credit at the tricky New Hampshire third-mile, including the series’ last stop at the track in the summer of 2022.

Shaking off last week’s qualifying woes, Doiron clicked off fast laps in practice, then set the mark to beat in time trials. Doiron won his heat, too, gridding alongside second heat winner Jeremy Sorel for the start of the 125-lap main event.

A quick spin by Gary Smith brought out an early yellow, but the field quickly found a rhythm behind Doiron. Casey Call moved to second with Cory Casagrande following through in third, as traffic behind them spread out over a long green-flag run. By lap 50, Call had closed some of the distance to Doiron’s bumper, as Casagrande stalked Call for second.

The steady pace was interrupted on lap 77, though, when Alex Quarterley got under Ryan Green’s bumper in turn three, spinning Green out and prompting a yellow flag. As the caution lights flashed on around the track, Call slowed with a flat tire, forcing him to the pits and handing second to Casagrande. Casagrande drew alongside Doiron for the restart as Call tagged in at the rear of the field.

Doiron never got too far from Casey Call or eventual runner-up Casagrande, but instead left the fans wondering what he had left in reserve. (STS/Jeff Brown)

Any hopes for a thrilling battle were dashed, though, as Doiron took off on the restart, Casagrande and Sorel settling into second and third. Casagrande seemed to have the fastest car in the final 25 laps, but he could not stay with Doiron long enough to find an opening for the winning pass.

Instead, Doiron kept Casagrande at bay to take the checkered flag, his seventh in GSPSS competition and his third at Claremont, and another $5,000 check for the team.

If Casagrande had caught him, did Doiron have any more to give?

“I kind of just maintained my gap with him and the 90,” Doiron said. “I don’t know how much [Casagrande] had left, but if that was all he had, I had a little bit more in the tank. I know Cory races pretty good, so I didn’t mind letting him get two or three [car-lengths] back. I knew he wouldn’t divebomb me and clean me out.”

Cory Casagrande, a GSPSS supporter since 2014, came up just short of a long-awaited first series victory. (STS/Jeff Brown)

Casagrande, who like Doiron favors longer races to shorter shootouts, matched his GSPSS career best. The Stafford Springs, Conn. native finished second in 2021 in the series’ only visit so far to his home track, Stafford Motor Speedway.

Sorel dusted his Super Late Model off for his first start of the year on a week off from his rookie season with the American-Canadian Tour. Putting the frustrations of the ACT Late Model aside, the Massachusetts driver finished third to equal his own career best, a podium in last year’s season opener.

Despite the flat tire, Call drove back to a fourth-place finish. Quarterley, the son of AMA Superbike privateer and NASCAR Busch North Series star Dale Quarterley, made his GSPSS debut, finishing fifth behind teammate Sorel.

Alex Quarterley (#32Q) made his series debut with a top-five finish, but it was not without incident, as he gets into Ryan Green to bring out a lap-77 caution. (STS/Jeff Brown)

Evan Beaulieu won a late-race battle for sixth with Ryan Green. Andy Shaw was eighth for car owner Dale Drew. Veteran Gary Smith, entering his 45th year at the wheel, came home ninth, while Wiscasset Speedway regular Jamie Wright rounded out the top ten.

Mainers Morgan Call and Miller Buzzell rounded out a twelve-car lineup that was light by GSPSS standards, especially with $5,000 on the line. With both ACT and the Pro All Stars Series idle this weekend, most of the major feature events of the weekend were Late Model events, providing little direct competition to the GSPSS’ competitor base. The most notable absence was that of Star Speedway winner and reigning champion Travis Benjamin, who is reverting to a part-time presence with greater priorities away from the track.

With their Lee-winning car still disassembled from post-race inspection, Doiron and team turned to a newer and less-familiar chassis from the stable. (STS/Jeff Brown)

But Doiron also races for Benjamin’s car owner Peter Petit, giving the Maine team a sweep of the first two GSPSS races for the second year in a row.

Sunday was something of a test session for Doiron, who since joining Petit Motorsports has primarily fielded his own Dale Shaw Race Cars chassis. But after only receiving their engine back from post-race dyno testing on Thursday, Doiron opted to roll out the “other” car, a Port City chassis that Doiron raced in the PASS events this year at Thompson Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

“This is only the third time we’ve raced it,” Doiron said. “We’re just working the bugs out. This is really the first time we’ve come to a track that I feel like I’m pretty good at. We made it better all day. Still definitely need to make it better.”

Technically new to the Petit team, the chassis was previously campaigned by Go FAS Racing for NASCAR stars Tyler Reddick and Kyle Busch in special events at Lee USA Speedway.

Doiron, who has been the crew chief for fellow racers Garrett Hall and Ryan Green, still has a lot of ideas in the works to wring more speed from the team’s “new” car. (STS/Jeff Brown)

“It’s just different from one of these two,” said Doiron, who has won in both Shaw and Distance Racing Products cars over the last few seasons. “We’re just still trying to learn. Gary [Crooks] has been super helpful, at Port City. We definitely need to be better to be able to win more consistently with it. But it was good enough tonight.”

Doiron, as capable a crew chief as he is a driver, is starting to come to terms with it.

“We built a little bit of a notebook,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll probably race it again at Star in a couple weeks, and probably go test, and see if we can try and make it a little bit better. I’ve got more ideas to try at it, but I mean, they’re all race cars. Gotta find out what the magic sauce is.”

Sunday’s event marked a return for the GSPSS to what has long been regarded as the series’ home track. The GSPSS’ first-ever race was staged at Claremont in 2011, with a total of eighteen races run at the speedway through the end of 2022. GSPSS president Mike Parks was in his third year of a lease agreement at Claremont when the agreement was unexpectedly terminated that fall. Not only was Parks out of Claremont, but the GSPSS was scratched from the 2023 schedule at Claremont and its partner tracks in the state.

That decision was revisited last fall, with Parks and track owner Ben Bosowski reconciling. Bosowski’s Lee USA Speedway hosted what became the GSPSS season finale, Parks resumed managerial duties at Claremont, and the GSPSS earned back three key venues for its 2024 schedule.

Two races into that nine-race schedule, Casey Call holds the unofficial points lead. The former NELCAR Legends champion has raced full-time with the series since 2020, though mechanical gremlins have stymied his past runs for the GSPSS title. If Call can avoid trouble the rest of the season, the championship could be his for the taking.

But Call also wants to win. That means going head-to-head with veterans who have nothing in the points race to lose.

And sometimes, having nothing to lose makes it easier to win.

Unofficial Results
Granite State Pro Stock Series Key Auto Group 125
Claremont Motorsports Park
1. (73D) Joey Doiron
2. (7CT) Cory Casagrande
3. (77) Jeremy Sorel
4. (90NH) Casey Call
5. (32Q) Alex Quarterley
6. (56) Evan Beaulieu
7. (93) Ryan Green
8. (50) Andy Shaw
9. (75) Gary Smith
10. (84) Jamie Wright
11. (95) Morgan Call
12. (18ME) Miller Buzzell

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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