Following closely on the heels of New England’s other fendered touring circuits, the Granite State Pro Stock Series announced its 2020 schedule Sunday evening.
And while some dates and details are still being finalized, the sixteen-event preliminary schedule is easily the most ambitious in the history of the New Hampshire-based touring series.
The ninth full season of GSPSS competition features tracks that have become established haunts of the region’s youngest Late Model touring series, while including a few forays into uncharted waters. And the conclusion of the season will once again position the GSPSS as a part of New England’s most storied season finales.
TOURING SCHEDULES: CARS Tour | CRA Super Series | Midwest Tour | TUNDA SLM Series| PASS North | NASCAR Modified Tour | Pinty’s Series | Pretoria Race Alliance | Southern Super Series | ACT | Tri Track
The season starts in April at Claremont Motorsports Park, a track with a new importance to the series. GSPSS president Mike Parks entered into an agreement last fall to promote the New Hampshire speedway for owners Ben Bosowski and Norm Wrenn, who purchased the track shortly before last year’s season opener. For the first time in GSPSS history, the series has a track to call home.
Claremont will open the season on Sunday, April 19 with a test-and-tune session before hosting the year’s first race the following Saturday, April 25. The 100-lap season opener is the first of five consecutive races in New Hampshire to start the season.
After a one-week break, the schedule resumes at Star Speedway in Epping, with the coastal quarter-mile hosting its first of two GSPSS dates on May 9. For the second year running, Lee USA Speedway’s season-opening May Madness will be headlined by the GSPSS on May 17. And a week later, Monadnock Speedway in Winchester will welcome the GSPSS for its first of two visits on Memorial Day weekend. A short respite in the schedule will allow teams to regroup before the season’s fifth event, a stop at Riverside Speedway in Groveton.
Despite being forced to cancel the track’s events in 2019, the GSPSS has a tentative agreement to race at New London-Waterford Speedbowl on June 20, marking the first visit of the year to Connecticut and the first stop at the beleaguered speedway since the 2018 season finale.
From Waterford, the series returns to New Hampshire for two weeks in July. Lee will include the GSPSS in its Independence Day Friday program on July 3. The following Sunday, the series returns to the renovated Hudson Speedway for its sole visit of the year.
July concludes with the GSPSS’ first visit to Maine since 2017, with a rare Friday-night appearance at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough. The race will be the first visit to Beech Ridge for the GSPSS, and one of few touring events the speedway hosts next year.
Monadnock Speedway’s second GSPSS appearance will be a long-distance 150-lapper on August 1. Traditionally, the summer event at Monadnock has been the annual JBH Memorial, run in memory of series co-founder John Hoyt.
A new track and perhaps the series’ boldest leap awaits in mid-August, as the GSPSS is slated to travel to Adirondack International Speedway. Located well outside Watertown in upstate New York, Adirondack was built in the boom period of the late 1990s and early 2000s, with the initial plans including a main oval just short of one mile in length with two smaller ovals incorporated into the design. The large oval was never completed, but the half-mile almost-circular track has hosted NASCAR’s transitioning East Series along with an ongoing weekly program. Adirondack will be the first race in the Empire State since a visit to Long Island’s Riverhead Raceway in 2017, and increased purses have been promised to help with the teams’ travel expenses to the farthest stop on the schedule.
The final five-race stretch run to the title, by comparison, looks far more familiar to the GSPSS faithful. Claremont will jump-start the championship drive with the third annual Labor Day 150-lapper, promising $5,000 to win. Two weeks later, Star Speedway’s Star Classic weekend will feature the GSPSS on Friday night along with the Modified Racing Series, both tours serving as a prelude to the ISMA Supermodifieds on Saturday.
For the second year running, the GSPSS will sanction the Pro Stock main event at Seekonk Speedway’s D.A.V. Fall Classic on September 26. The southern Massachusetts third-mile, one of the last bastions of weekly Pro Stock competition in New England, welcomed the series last year to bolster competition at one of its biggest race weekends.
Lee USA Speedway’s third GSPSS appearance of the year will once again be part of its own season-ending Oktoberfest weekend. And a week later, the series will crown its champion at Thompson Speedway in Connecticut as part of the famed track’s World Series weekend. Thompson has yet to finalize the three-day World Series schedule, but the Saturday prior to the headlining NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race seems like the best bet for the GSPSS to take center stage.
Sixteen races is a high-water mark for the GSPSS, which has staged a dozen races a year for three years running. But where most series schedule changes come by way of replacement, the GSPSS’ new dates are pure additions, with all of last year’s venues retaining most of their prior events. Claremont, which hosted three races last year after a late rescheduling of the season finale, is the sole track to lose a date for 2020, with a second edition of the Fall Challenge missing from the schedule.
Admittedly, a couple of those dates still present a challenge. New London-Waterford Speedbowl has until June to complete the work that will allow it to re-open in time for next year. And even with boosted purses to encourage participation, Adirondack is a far enough drive to force a two-day trip on most teams. With upstate New York friendliest to big-block dirt modifieds, even the “local” contingent will be forced to travel.
But with a schedule that includes eleven different tracks, the GSPSS is making a strong statement about its identity. For years, the GSPSS has presented itself as a cost-friendlier approach to touring racing. While anything in the Pro Stock or Super Late Model family is hardly budget racing, the GSPSS’ shorter features, tire selection and rules package have made the series a more cost-effective approach to the discipline. When coupled with the series’ usual positioning as a support event, the series’ image has been that of a second-rung touring division.
With trips to tracks not traveled to by the region’s other touring series, and more appearances as the featured division rather than a supporting cast member, the GSPSS is crafting a second identity as a viable alternative to the Pro All Stars Series, especially for teams based in southern New England. Most importantly, the GSPSS is doing so without going directly head-to-head with the established tour.
The change has been evident on the track in the last couple years, with cleaner racing and an ever-evolving competitive crop of series regulars. While the product is hard to identify in a post-race rundown, the intangibles tell the story of a series that has come a long way from a few years ago.
Now, with sixteen races from upstate New York to the Maine coast and all points in between, the Granite State Pro Stock Series has maturity it can quantify.
2020 Granite State Pro Stock Series Schedule (current as of 12/18):
Sat | Apr 25 | Claremont Motorsports Park | Claremont, NH
Sat | May 9 | Star Speedway | Epping, NH
Sun | May 17 | Lee USA Speedway | Lee, NH
Sat | May 23 | Monadnock Speedway | Winchester, NH
Sat | June 13 | Riverside Speedway | Groveton, NH
Sat | June 20 | New London-Waterford Speedbowl | Waterford, CT
Fri | July 3 | Lee USA Speedway | Lee, NH
Sun | July 12 | Hudson International Speedway | Hudson, NH
Fri | July 24 | Beech Ridge Motor Speedway | Scarborough, ME
Sat | Aug 1 | Monadnock Speedway | Winchester, NH
Fri-Sun | Aug 15 | Adirondack International Speedway | New Bremen, NY
Sat | Sept 6 | Claremont Motorsports Park | Claremont, NH
Fri | Sept 18 | Star Speedway | Epping, NH
Sat | Sept 26 | Seekonk Speedway | Seekonk, MA
Sun | Oct 4 | Lee USA Speedway | Lee, NH
Sat | Oct 10 | Thompson Speedway | Thompson, CT
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