Super Late Models
Spotter Derek Kneeland Plans Ambitious Driving Schedule
May 5, 2022
The buzz surrounding Friday’s Granite State Pro Stock Series Keen Parts 150 at Lee USA Speedway has continued to grow louder since Tyler Reddick scored his first career NASCAR Cup Series on July 3 at Road America. At the same time, the field for the $10,000-to-win event has grown with New England drivers. But, one driver has had his eye on racing Lee this weekend for months, and also happens to be a key individual who roped in Reddick to drive in the first place.
That person is Windham, Maine native and NASCAR spotter Derek Kneeland; who is the eyes in the sky for Reddick every Cup Series race. For those who watch Late Models here on Racing America, you’ve probably caught Kneeland racing himself on occasion, usually in New England or North Carolina. For 2022, he wanted to mix his racing schedule up, and while Lee USA is just down the road from home, he has not had a chance to turn laps at ‘New Hampshire’s Center of Speed’.
“I’ve never actually raced there myself, so I’m anxious to get some laps in. My cousin Rusty Poland has raced there in Modifieds and he ran my car there last year in the Granite State race at Oktoberfest. He’s also my crew chief when I race. I’ve been picking his brain on some things. He’ll probably practice the car because I got my Xfinity Series obligations for practice on Friday, so I’ll probably only have about 15 laps, then straight to the race. But, I’m excited to be part of it,” Kneeland told Racing America.
Friday will also be Kneeland’s second ever start in a GSPSS event. With $10,000 on the line and stout field expected, he expects to have his work cut out.
“Few years ago I raced with Granite State when they were a part of the Oxford 250 weekend and I had a good time. I liked what they were doing, I’m happy to be back for another one, and that I’m able to bring my Cup driver along to compete against all of us. It should be a heck of a night, a lot of good cars, and a place with a lot of history. It should be jam packed, going to be a lot of fun.”
As for any worries of possibly coming together with his driver, there are none. Just the opposite in fact.
Tyler’s really excited. I know he got to practice a car, not the same one he’s running Friday, but a car owned by Archie St. Hilaire and his group at Caraway Speedway. He’d never driven an asphalt Super Late Model, and he texted me right after saying; ‘You’re in trouble, I got some really good laps. I wish I got to drive these things growing up.’ We’re both excited, hopefully we’ll be able to see each other at some point during the race, and give everybody something to talk and cheer about along the way.
Lee USA will follow up his first trip to Berlin Raceway in Michigan a month ago for the Money in the Bank 150 under the SRL National banner.
“Over the winter I told Rusty that I wanted to do something different and do some traveling for races at places I had never raced before. We put together a small schedule, Jeff Striegle from MRN is also the president at Berlin Raceway, saw my schedule and reached out to get us out there. We brought a knife to a gunfight, cool grippy track and we were only one of three guys with crate motors. Got my butt kicked in qualifying, but 20 laps in it was like somebody hit pause and a good 10 or 15 guys stalled out, we chipped away, saved our tires, and made some good progress,” Kneeland explained.
“I’m glad I was also able to get some seat time before Lee, this Friday is the one we have circled to really go after it and have a chance at a podium or even a win.”
Already, Kneeland is back in New England and very busy this week. Wednesday night he will be attending a special karting event at LST Motorsports Park, the kart track where he got his start. Partnering with Mainely Motorsports, JM Builders, and a number of Maine racers to raise a large purse, which includes a $5,000-plus winner’s share. Derek Kneeland Racing will serve as the title sponsor of the event.
“I’ve known Steve Perry a long time, I think it’s great what he and Mainely Motorsports are doing. I used to know that place as Richmond Raceway Park back when I was in karts. Now they got it back going LST Mainely Karting. I won my first championship there back in 2001, now I’ve been fortunate enough to make it to the highest tiers of NASCAR.
“I always want to give back as much as possible; whether it’s sponsoring my cousin, my buddies. One thing I’ve never done is sponsor a race, last fall I talked to Steve and we got this great race. Also got guys like Trevor Sanborn, Austin Terras, Gabe Brown, a whole list of guys who have helped to jack up the pot for the race. I’m excited to get back there, haven’t been there in 20 years.”
Watch the Granite State Pro Stock Series Keen Parts 150 live on RacingAmerica.tv this Friday night.
Granite State Pro Stock Series
Anticipation Building For Granite State Pro Stock Series $10,000 Race at Lee USA in July
Jun 22, 2022