WALPOLE, N.H. – Joey Doiron took another decisive step toward his second Granite State Pro Stock Series title Friday night at Claremont Motorsports Park.
The 2019 GSPSS champion grabbed an early lead and held off visitors DJ Shaw and Gabe Brown to capture the Key Chevrolet Buick GMC of Newport 100, pocketing a cool $7,500 on one of the richest nights in the New Hampshire oval’s history.
And while Doiron works closely with Shaw and Brown, he was all too aware that his car-construction associates at the shop would be his greatest rivals in the closing laps.
“We just couldn’t fire off very good, and I was afraid that [Shaw] was going to be able to get in front of me, and then I knew it was going to be awful hard to get back by him,” Doiron said of the late restarts that kept Shaw in the running for the victory. “But luckily we had enough on those last couple.”
Friday’s race was the fendered half of a big double feature co-headlined by The Racing Guys’ Racers Honoring Racers 100, a $15,000-to-win Tour-type Modified open-competition showdown.
The Berwick, Maine, veteran was fastest in GSPSS time trials but rolled off sixth after the pre-race redraw. Betraying his usual patient approach, Doiron wasted little time carving through traffic, working his way into fourth by the first caution flag on lap eight.
Shaw and Brown swapped the early lead, but Doiron was on their heels by lap 20, picking off the two challengers one at a time to move to the top of the scoreboard. Doiron put some distance between himself and Shaw on a long green-flag stretch, while Claremont favorite Luke Hinkley and 2020 GSPSS champ Joey Polewarczyk pressured Shaw for the runner-up spot.
Dylan Estrella’s lap-77 spin brought out only the second yellow flag of the evening, erasing Doiron’s advantage and setting the stage for a duel between Doiron and Shaw. The first attempt at a restart was waved off, and the second was short-lived as Bryan Kruczek spun into the frontstretch grass, bringing out a fresh yellow flag on lap 78.
Hinkley made a play for second on the restart, but racing got physical in the top five, with the local hero being forced to the outside. A few laps later, Hinkley brought his car to a stop on the backstretch with body damage, ending his evening just 16 laps shy of the checkers. Polewarczyk moved to third for the restart, with Brown on the outside in fourth.
Close racing just outside the top-five kept the rest of the running order revolving, with Jeremy Sorel caught up in a restart snafu as the field stacked up exiting turn two. A few laps later, Nick Cusack and Casey Call made hard contact racing for sixth, with Call and Isaac Bevin done for the night and Cusack left to soldier on with a damaged car.
The green flag was unfurled one final time with eleven laps to go, and once Doiron was at the point, Shaw could do nothing to challenge for the win.
Gabe Brown edged out Polewarczyk in a close battle for third at the finish, giving Dale Shaw Race Cars a podium sweep after being shut out of the top three one race ago at Lee USA Speedway. Doiron, Shaw and Brown have combined to win five of this season’s seven races.
Polewarczyk settled for fourth, with Star Speedway winner Kruczek driving back to fifth after his spin. Jeremy Sorel rebounded as well with another sixth-place finish. Ryan Green was seventh, ahead of part-time racer Brian Whalley. Ray Christian III finished ninth in his first GSPSS start since 2020, while rookie Dylan Estrella rounded out the top ten.
With Doiron’s win and a rough night for points runner-up Nick Cusack, and only two races left on the calendar in 2022, the 2019 champ is well on his way to clinching his second series title.
The next event for the Granite State Pro Stock Series is the annual Gate City Classic at Hudson Speedway on Sunday, September 4, part of a two-day Labor Day weekend celebration for the high-banked bullring on the New Hampshire state line.
For more information on the Granite State Pro Stock Series, visit www.gspss.net or find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS, Key Chevrolet Buick GMC of Newport 100, August 12, 2022:
1. (73) Joey Doiron
2. (60) DJ Shaw
3. (61) Gabe Brown
4. (4NH) Joey Polewarczyk
5. (19) Bryan Kruczek
6. (77) Jeremy Sorel
7. (93) Ryan Green
8. (02) Brian Whalley
9. (55) Ray Christian III
10. (46) Dylan Estrella
11. (N40) Dan McKeage, Jr.
12. (20X) Richie Brown, Jr.
13. (01) Sammy Gooden
14. (21) Josh King
15. (2) Nick Cusack
16. (05F) Bobby Frappier
17. (90NH) Casey Call
18. (7B) Isaac Bevin
19. (31NH) Luke Hinkley
-Story by: Jeff Brown/Granite State Pro Stock Series
-Photo credit: Rob Branning/Granite State Pro Stock Series