The Granite State Pro Stock Series is heading to the North Country on Saturday, and while the familiar faces from both New Hampshire as well as Maine will be in attendance, one of New England’s ringers will be making the long trek to Riverside Speedway & Adventure Park for 100 laps of racing this Independence Day weekend.
Cory Casagrande originally started off his Pro Stock / Pro Late Model racing career running close to his Stafford, Connecticut home; but the past few years has thrown in road trips throughout New England and south along the Eastern Seaboard.
Riverside Speedway in Groveton, NH was one of the first longer road trips he took over a decade ago, and now in 2022 he and the No. 7CT team are ready to return, and hopefully come home with a trophy this time.
“This one has been on our schedule from the start this year, I haven’t raced a Pro Stock there since 2016 and that last trip there we finished in the Top 5. I’ve wanted to go back since, it’s just never worked out between my own schedule, rain outs, and it’s a long drive up there for a bunch of Connecticut guys. That’s the only bad part about that place, for me; it’s a fun track,” Casagrande told Racing America.
Sitting on the eastern bank of the Connecticut River, the ¼-mile oval has played host to GSPSS off and on over the last decade. Its long corners and old asphalt continue to produce side-by-side racing year after year.
“I like the place because it has an older, worn surface with patchy pavement. I don’t know why, but for whatever reason those types of racetracks fit my driving style better. It’s a competitive track too, you can make the outside work if you have too; you got some options if you’re car isn’t working in one spot you can search around. Whether you’re in a Pro Stock or a Street Stock, ran that in 2019 there.”
The year 2022 has been an ambitious one for Casagrande, first running at New Smyrna Speedway in February for a portion of the World Series Pro Late Model schedule. Following a tough outing to Hickory Motor Speedway in March, things got worse in April when a crash in testing sidelined one of the two Casagrande Motorsports Late Models for the rest of the year.
With his remaining car, Casagrande has shown promise with finishes of sixth in PASS competition at Stafford Speedway and fifth at Star Speedway in GSPSS. With current series point leader Joey Doiron and the winner last time out at Monadnock Speedway, D.J. Shaw also making the trip, the 7CT team will have to be at peak performance to take the checkers first.
“We’re gaining traction with it, I haven’t been racing a ton this summer, I’m happy to be getting to Groveton and then Lee in a few weeks. We’ll be going back to Jennerstown in August. I thought we were halfway decent at Star, Joey Doiron and I put on a show for a time, and if you can hang with him you’re in the ballpark anyway. I know him, D.J. Shaw, Gabe Brown will probably be some of the fast guys.”
Despite being a Connecticut-based team, with a schedule heavy on Northeast races, Casagrande has gained sponsorship past and present from entities in the Southeast. Joining the sponsor lineup throughout 2022 has been the talked about Burlington Sock Puppets, a summer collegiate baseball team of the Appalachian League which got it’s start in 2021, gaining attention for its promotional efforts on social media.
Even before the baseball season had begun, Casagrande has been having a lot of fun with the partnership since first taking to the track in February at New Smyrna.
“It’s great, the management over there are really cool guys. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to partner up with them this year. I’m still trying to figure out the logistics of me going down there to throw out the first pitch, that would be so cool! They got a NASCAR night coming up and hopefully everyone down there can go over and check it out,” Said Casagrande.
“Definitely odd with me being a Northeast guy, with a Southern baseball team, even though we travel around quite a bit. It’s interesting with two of my main sponsors being from North Carolina with ChaLew Performance and the Sock Puppets. It shows that racing has all these connections nationally, even for us local guys.”
See the Granite State Pro Stock Series Milton CAT 100 and the entire Riverside Speedway & Adventure Park racing card live this Saturday at 6pm ET live on RacingAmerica.tv.