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Granite State Pro Stock Series

Resolved Rivalries Allow For Diverse 2024 GSPSS Schedule

Three staple New Hampshire tracks are back on the GSPSS schedule for 2024, returning the series’ itinerary to a sense of normalcy after a somewhat limited 2023.

The Granite State Pro Stock Series' new schedule features nine races at six tracks, including a return to Riverside Speedway in Groveton, N.H. (STS/Jeff Brown photo)

In a sense, the 2023 Granite State Pro Stock Series season was truly about survival. Perhaps this season can be a story of resurgence.

The New Hampshire-based touring organization unveiled a nine-race schedule for 2024, casting off last year’s limitations, mending broken fences, and returning to the schedule diversity of prior seasons.

And while some pieces are still needed to bring the series back to its glory days, a strong schedule is a critical step in that direction.

The GSPSS found itself at an awkward crossroads after 2022. At the end of the season, series president Mike Parks’ lease at Claremont Motorsports Park was unexpectedly not renewed. With Claremont part of the New Hampshire Short Track Racing Association, a collaborative promotional and sanctioning effort, Parks’ GSPSS quickly found itself off the schedule at all four NHSTRA-promoted tracks.

Undeterred, Parks drew up an eight-race 2023 itinerary shared between four tracks, with three races at series staple Star Speedway, two each at Riverside Speedway in Groveton, N.H. and Speedway 95 in Maine, and a season finale at Lancaster Motorplex in western New York, a longtime goal of Parks.

But in the season’s closing weeks, Parks and Lee USA Speedway owner Ben Bosowski came to terms on an $8,000-to-win show in September, replacing canceled events for the GSPSS and for Lee. The new addition ultimately became the headline attraction of the track’s season-ending Oktoberfest program—and with the cancellation of the New York road trip, it became the GSPSS’ season finale as well.

With the dissolution of NHSTRA only days later, the GSPSS found itself with options for 2024.

Star, Riverside and Speedway 95 will all host GSPSS events this season. Three of the four former NHSTRA tracks—now operated under the RaceDay Productions banner, and all former GSPSS hosts—will rejoin the schedule this year, giving GSPSS racers six different tracks to master en route to the series crown.

Star Speedway, the host of three GSPSS events in 2023, will host only the series’ season opener this year. (STS/Jeff Brown photo)

“Our 2024 schedule is shaping up to be one of the best in our history,” Parks said in a press release. “Return trips to places like Star, Speedway 95, Lee USA and Riverside, mixed with us getting back on the high banks of Hudson, will produce an exciting championship battle for fans to follow during the summer of 2024.”

For a second year, Star is the scene of the GSPSS season opener. “The Place To Race” hosted three GSPSS features in 2023, but the May 4 lidlifter is the only date booked at the track this year. Star’s refreshed relationship with the Pro All Stars Series includes sanctioning of events at September’s Star Classic Weekend, and with PASS on site, welcoming the Maine tour’s chief regional rival would be out of place.

Next up on the schedule is a return to Claremont after a year away. The tricky oval in New Hampshire’s Upper Valley welcomes the GSPSS back on May 26 for the first of two dates.

Lee’s first of two races is on June 8, while the series will return to Speedway 95 on June 16. The Hermon, Me. bullring’s GSPSS events last year were its first Pro Stock races in several years, and the Sunday race should allow competitors at nearby Wiscasset Speedway to make the trip over after their Saturday features.

Claremont Motorsports Park, the series’ de facto home track for several years, returns to the schedule with a pair of dates in 2024. (STS/Jeff Brown photo)

Claremont hosts its second GSPSS race of the year on July 5, a Friday-night Independence Day special feature. A week later, the GSPSS returns to Hudson Speedway on Sunday, July 14 for the Gate City Classic. The New Hampshire speedplant hosted its own open-competition version of the 100-lap GSPSS tradition last year, with PASS champion Max Cookson taking the win over a short field.

A month-long summer break builds some breathing room in before a trip to Riverside Speedway on August 10. “Grovetona” was slated for a pair of races in 2023, but the mid-summer event was scuttled due to schedule conflicts for many series racers.

Another one-month recess carries the series to September 15, for a second stop at Speedway 95. Wiscasset’s Pro Stocks are scheduled for a week off, opening the door for a strong field in the season’s penultimate race.

The season concludes as it did in 2023, as the main event of Lee’s year-ending Oktoberfest program. The series had been a featured part of Oktoberfest in years past, and last year’s showdown provided plenty of year-end fireworks to keep fans on the edge of their seats.

The GSPSS season concludes at Lee USA Speedway, where the series will once again be the main event of the track’s year-ending Oktoberfest. (STS/Jeff Brown photo)

None of the events have yet been tabbed as marquée events, but big shows have been a part of Parks’ promotional angle, whether with GSPSS or his local racing at Claremont. The Independence Day home game at Claremont seems a likely candidate for a high-purse race, as does the Oktoberfest finale.

White space is a key part of visual design, and there is plenty of crucial “white space” in the GSPSS itinerary. Only one race, so far, has a head-to-head conflict with a PASS feature the same day. The schedule also dodges two big events at Lee, the recently-announced $30,000-to-win North American Pro Stock Nationals in May and a Pro Stock feature on the Friday of New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s NASCAR weekend in June. With fewer conflicts, perhaps more racers will be encouraged to run for points.

And building car counts back is a key concern for the GSPSS. The series has been an attractive alternative for racers who want to run for a championship without the grind of the PASS schedule, or who simply lack the resources to commit to 16 or 18 races a year. Those champions—Travis Benjamin in 2023, Joey Doiron in 2022 and 2019, Gabe Brown in 2021, Joey Polewarczyk in 2020—have been some of the region’s top racers, with accolades far beyond the GSPSS.

But their title rivals have been sparse in numbers, with only three or four drivers running every race. It is hardly a problem exclusive to the GSPSS. But the series has not found replacements for the regular challengers that made every race five and six years ago.

It all starts with a schedule that makes sense for racers to follow, without having to make hard choices.

And for its target racers, the upcoming GSPSS schedule does precisely that.

May 4Star SpeedwayEpping, NH100
May 26Claremont Motorsports ParkClaremont, NH
June 8Lee USA SpeedwayLee, NH100
June 16Speedway 95Hermon, ME100
July 5Claremont Motorsports ParkClaremont, NH100
July 14Hudson SpeedwayHudson, NH100
August 10Riverside SpeedwayGroveton, NH100
September 15Speedway 95Hermon, ME100
October 6Lee USA SpeedwayLee, NH100

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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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