WALPOLE, N.H. — Story and audio by Race Chaser Online New England Correspondent Kyle Souza — GSPSS photo —
New England has seen the rise of the Granite State Pro Stock Series over the better part of the last three seasons.
When the series was first started, New England was buzzing about a Pro Stock touring series that was a little less time consuming and less expensive then running a tour like the PASS Super Late Model Series. The buzz still continues today and in fact, it’s grown even more.
The tale of the 2014 Granite State Pro Stock Series season began at the Thompson Speedway as part of the annual IceBreaker weekend. Below, let’s dive into every single race run in 2014.
Race One: Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park
Mike O’Sullivan continued his dominance in Super Late Models at the Thompson Speedway by winning the season opener for the Granite State Pro Stock Series — his third career tour victory. Two-time ACT Tour champion Wayne Helliwell Jr. was leading early on, but a flat right front tire sent him plowing into the wall and ended his day much earlier then expected. O’Sullivan jumped out to the lead on a late-race restart and was able to hold off challenges by veterans Larry Gelinas and Jeff Connors to score the win, with Brad Babb and Dillon Moltz completing the top five.
Race Two: Monadnock Speedway
After the initial date for the race was moved due to Mother Nature’s intervention, Matt Frahm found himself surviving a race that was filled with cautions to carry the checkers. Frahm was able to jump out to the point late and hold off Larry Gelinas, who continued to show he would be a strong front-runner in 2014. Barry Gray was leading close to the halfway point, but a jumped restart sent him from the front to the rear. That allowed Frahm to jump to the lead and never look back. Cory Robert came home a surprising third, with Mike Parks fourth and Ron Smith hanging on to finish fifth.
Race Three: Hudson Speedway
After back-to-back second places finishes to open the season, Larry Gelinas found himself claiming the checkers in the annual Gate City Classic 100. Gelinas came back from a spin just past the halfway point after contact with Derek Griffith and charged through the field late. When Gelinas spun, he kept his foot to the floorboard and never lifted, not drawing a caution, but instead getting back straight and staying on the lead lap under the green. His charge through the field was aided by multiple cautions late. He was able to hold off Brad Babb who finished second, with Griffith grabbing third. Craig Weinstein finished fourth, while Dillon Moltz collected a fifth place result.
Race Four: Star Speedway
Jeremy Davis made a surprise return to the Granite State Pro Stock Series and picked up his first victory of the season at Star. Dillon Moltz was a front-runner and leader early on, but got collected with a lap car and spun, sending him to the tail. That accident handed the lead to Davis, who was the class of the field for the second half of the 100-lap feature. Moltz quickly charged his way back through the strong 22 car field and found himself right on the bumper of Davis at the checkers. Following Davis and Moltz was Brad Babb in third, Larry Gelinas in fourth and Derek Griffith in fifth.
Race Five: Lee USA Speedway
Joey Pole Jr. found himself behind the wheel of a Pro Stock and held off Larry Gelinas to take the win in the Lee USA Speedway debut for the Granite State Pro Stock Series in late July. The event saw Pole and Gelinas tear through the field and drive away, putting multiple cars a lap down and showing they were the class of the pack. A late race restart put them side-by-side with Gelinas out front, but he could not hold off the challenges of Pole. Joey drove around and crossed the line first, with Gelinas second, Derek Griffith third, Matt Frahm fourth and Dillon Moltz fifth.
Race Six: Monadnock Speedway
Barry Gray dominated the JBH 100, holding off a challenge from Derek Griffith in a four lap shootout to become the sixth different winner in six races. Gray jumped to the point from the drop of the green flag and drove away, putting multiple cars a lap down before the halfway point. A mechanical failure by point leader Larry Gelinas sidelined him for the duration of the event at lap 77 and allowed Dillon Moltz to chip away at the points lead. Behind Gray and Griffith was Matt Frahm in third, Russ Hersey in fourth and Josh King fifth.
Race Seven: Star Speedway
Wayne Helliwell Jr. found himself in Victory Lane on a hot August night by surviving a late race green-white-checkered finish. The race saw five cautions in the first six laps, but luckily settled down just before the midway point. A lap 98 spin by Derek Griffith set up Helliwell and Larry Gelinas side-by-side diving down into turn three on the final lap and making contact, sending Gelinas spinning into the infield. It handed the second spot and the points lead over to Matt Frahm, who was followed by Babe Branscombe in third, Brad Babb fourth and Dillon Moltz fifth.
Race Eight: Hudson Speedway
Brad Babb held off a cast of hungry drivers to collect his first career Granite State Pro Stock Series win in a competitive eighth race of the season. Some thought a slim field would create a dull race, but Babb and Matt Frahm put on a great show to the finish. They raced hard, but most importantly raced clean right to the end. Behind those two was Barry Gray in third, with Dillon Moltz in fourth and Larry Gelinas rounding out the front five.
Race Nine: Star Speedway
Dillon Moltz became the ninth different winner in nine races as part of the annual Star Classic which brought a thrilling race along with it. Moltz started from the pole and led all of the 100 lap feature in route to the win. Matt Frahm came on strong late and looked under Moltz on the final lap, but Dillon shut the door and was not to be denied. Griffith, Babb and Gelinas capped off the top five.
Race Ten: White Mountain Motorsports Park
Brad Babb became the first (and ultimately only) two time season winner by holding off Jeremy Davis in another great finish. Points leader Matt Frahm was involved in a crash near the halfway point that ended his day and forced him to reliqunish the points lead to Dillon Moltz. Babb and Davis battled extremely hard on every single restart, but Frahm advanced to the lead and held off Davis coming to the Sunoco checkers. Dillon Moltz finished in third, with Derek Griffith and Tommy O’Sullivan rounding out the top five.
Race Eleven: Thompson Speedway
The 2014 season came to a close with Derek Ramstrom grabbing his first career series win as part of the Thompson World Series weekend. Wayne Helliwell Jr. looked to be headed to the Victory Lane circle until he cut a tire under green, allowing Ramstrom to slide by and score the win. Dillon Moltz found himself finishing in sixth and clinching his first ever series title. Matt Frahm, Larry Gelinas, Brad Babb and Jason Boyd completed the top five.
The 2014 season saw 54 different drivers attempt to qualify, with an average car count of 21.1 per event. The largest car count came at White Mountain, with 32 in attendance for qualifying. The growth of the series was evident and many expect a continued growth for 2015.
Looking back at an amazing season, the staff and officials of the Granite State Pro Stock Series deserve special recognition and appreciation, including series President Mike Parks and Director of Operations Jennifer Ready, who put in much of the hard-work and travel to make it all happen.
With 2014 in the books, the series looks ahead now to the 2015 season. A full schedule of events for the upcoming year will be released shortly.
Dillon Moltz proved to be the most consistent driver and the one who was there when it counted most. His 2014 championship was well deserved, and we sat down to talk with him about a championship-worthy campaign: