Josh St. Clair might not be a familiar name in New England’s touring circles. But he’s giving plenty of reasons to be recognized.
The Wiscasset Speedway regular beat the Granite State Pro Stock Series touring contingent Saturday night, winning the Coastal Auto Parts 100 at Speedway 95.
A multi-time champion at Wiscasset, St. Clair has expanded his schedule in the last two years to include a handful of starts at tracks like Oxford Plains Speedway and now Speedway 95. The Liberty, Me. driver qualified for last year’s Oxford 250 before making an early exit with mechanical trouble.
St. Clair’s fortunes have been better this year, though, with top-15 finishes in two Pro All Stars Series starts at Oxford earlier this summer.
Convenient breaks in the Wiscasset schedule also allowed St. Clair to make his GSPSS debut in July’s rain-postponed visit to Speedway 95. The touring newcomer was in the mix in the final laps, but finished third to touring ace Garrett Hall and road warrior Mike Hopkins.
This time, St. Clair was the strongest car at the finish, getting past front-row starters Logan Melcher and Evan Beaulieu to show the way around the Hermon, Me. oval.
Points leader Travis Benjamin climbed to second, but the three-time Oxford 250 winner could not get around St. Clair, who drove to victory in his second-ever GSPSS start.
Benjamin held on for second, with title rival Brandon Barker third at the finish. Hopkins and Beaulieu rounded out the top five.
With David Oliver not making the trip to Hermon, the points battle is a two-way race between Benjamin and the winless Barker, with only 28 points separating the duo. Beaulieu lurks in third, more than a race behind. Only two races remain to settle the seven-race championship, with back-to-back dates in September wrapping up the title chase.
This has been a trying season for GSPSS, with the highs of new venues like Speedway 95 offset by low car counts and the lengthy road trips to those new venues. Series founder and promoter Mike Parks has worked tirelessly to navigate this season’s challenges, but the twists and turns of a wet and unpredictable New England summer have kept the former racer on his toes.
Through it all, the GSPSS remains a crucial third option to the touring rigor of PASS or the weekly routine of racing at one of the few tracks that still host Super Late Models and Pro Stocks as a regular division. For veterans like Benjamin and reigning champion Joey Doiron, it offers a less-strenuous touring challenge. For up-and-coming racers like St. Clair, it allows them to break into the spotlight without struggling to find measurable success.
St. Clair’s name may not have been that recognizable away from Wiscasset.
Now, he’s a touring winner.
Granite State Pro Stock Series Coastal Auto Parts 100
1. (14) Josh St. Clair
2. (7) Travis Benjamin
3. (32) Brandon Barker
4. (15) Mike Hopkins
5. (56) Evan Beaulieu
6. (75) Gary Smith
7. (21C) Shane Clark
8. (28) James Doucette
9. (81) Bryan Lancaster
10. (95) Morgan Call
11. (41) Logan Melcher
12. (01) Jet Decker