World of Outlaws
Ricky Stenhouse Proud of Sheldon Haudenschild, SJMR Team
May 18, 2022
What began as a whirlwind start to 2022 came to a grinding halt on Easter Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Following the first two career starts on the NASCAR Xfinity Series for Sam Hunt Racing, Derek Griffith was back to ramp up his New England racing schedule, only to have a terrifying crash during heat racing for the day’s Pro All Stars Series event at the ‘Magic Mile’.
With the only car conforming to Northeast rules a total loss for Griffith, his racing schedule on the home front was put on hold indefinitely. In recent weeks, he and the Louie Mechalides led No. 12G team have made progress to getting back on track, but that would probably happen in June.
Then this week, a surprise post came out from Griffith on social media. He would be back racing this Sunday, in his hometown Hudson, NH in a 350 Supermodified. You read that right, Griffith will make his Supermodified debut at Hudson Speedway on the 350 SMAC Tour. It comes from the efforts of SMAC itself, as well as a little needling from Hudson Speedway owner, and supporter/sponsor of Griffith; Ben Bosowski.
“It all came together pretty late; they’ve been trying to get something together for a while now. The timing is perfect, it’s at Hudson, everything’s really come together well. It’s John Burke’s, a Muldoon house car. Ben was also behind it a little bit, he asked me to do it. The people involved with the 350 SMAC Tour have been asking me for a few years, Ben runs the track, it’s a good deal,” Griffith told Racing America.
It's a unique chance that has come at an opportune time for the 25-year-old champion Late Model & Stock Car driver.
“We’re smack dab in the middle of getting our car ready for the rest of the year, we got a slightly used one after the Loudon wreck which isn’t quite ready yet. We’ve been working a lot of bugs out of it and getting our setup in it. So, we don’t want to rush through that. With this opportunity coming up, it’s a great opportunity to get back out there.”
Not surprisingly, the desire to win on debut is there. But realistically, Griffith is using this chance to expand his horizons; including driving another type of racecar that his crew chief and mentor has had success in.
“I’m excited to get out there and just race. It’s not very often I get out of this comfort zone that I have basically all along the East Coast now. I’m hopping into a totally new animal which is nothing remotely like I’ve ever run before. I know Louie has had so much success in Supermodifieds over the years too, he won the track championship at Lee and a few other big races. I’m excited to add on to the resume of something he did, more than anything else.”
It’s not very often I get out of this comfort zone that I have basically all along the East Coast now. I’m hopping into a totally new animal which is nothing remotely like I’ve ever run before.
From his first racing start at Age 12 in a Volkswagen Golf to his win in a Pro Stock, Griffith knows his way around the quarter-mile. He will need every bit of knowledge to wheel a 350 Supermod at speed around Hudson.
“Yeah, no time wasted there. It’s going to be a big difference with all that aero up on the wing, all the downforce. I’m expecting a learning curve, but it's going to be a pretty cool weekend, I’ll go out there and have some stress-free fun. Do what we do I guess.”
Among the starts in PASS and GSPSS close to home and around the country in the Southern Super Series, ARCA and NASCAR, Griffith has had chances before to expand his driving knowledge, even making a Tour-type Modified start in Gary Casella’s red No. 25 at Lee USA Speedway last fall. It is a part of a personal quest to become a true racing master.
“You look at those guys up at the highest levels of racing that can just get in any racecar and race good. Kyle Larson just steps out of his comfort zone and can spank everybody wherever he goes. It would be cool to try and do something like that, I don’t know if I’ll be comfortable enough to do it. But, we’ll be alright; as long as the car is in a good state we’ll have a shot. There’s other guys excited about racing with me and I’m more excited to race with them. It’s a great opportunity.”