By Gary Dutton
CLAREMONT, N.H. – Racing is alive and well again in the Twin State Valley. Claremont Motorsports Park hosted its first event of the summer Friday, June 5, with more than 90 teams on hand to strut their stuff at the storied third-mile speedplant.
The pandemic-rules event played to an empty house – it was, however, televised – but otherwise went off perfectly, with a full field of Granite State Pro Stock Series teams providing the night’s main attraction with their series’ season-opening Let’s Go Racing 100-lapper.
Nutmeg State bomber Ray Christian III took charge late to win the GSPSS main event, duplicating his Claremont victory of last autumn, with hometrack stars Dave Greenslit, Kodi Sabins, and Eric Lanou also earning inaugural night victory laps.
Greenslit, on a rail all night, started up front in the R.E. Hinkley Street Stock 30-lapper and never looked back. Using his earlier heat race victory to earn a front-row starting slot, he held the 22-car field in his mirror from green to checkers.
Chris Buffone held the deuce spot until coasting to a stop mid-race, with Max Dolliver then taking up the chase. Dolliver was fast but, on this night, no match for Greenslit, who started the new season where he’d left off last autumn. Chase Curtis, steady all night, came home third, with former speedway open-wheel champ Brian Robie fourth, and Chris Curtis fifth.
Sabins, like Greenslit, swept both his opening night heat and feature events, topping the LaValley Building Supply Pure Stock 25-lapper with ease, blasting off at the drop of the green and then easily social distancing himself from the rest of the 28-car field to win in a romp.
Robert Shaw kept Sabins in sight, settling for a strong runner-up finish, edging Chris Conroy for the deuce spot after a spirited battle. Super soph Dylan Adams was fourth on the night, and Randy Phillips came home fifth.
Dustin Thibodeau led the first 13 go-rounds of the Six Shooter feature, with Eric Lanou getting serious about the whole thing at mid-race, then diving low through turn four to take command as lap14 went in the books. Once in front, the second-generation racer never looked back, taking the checkers a dozen lengths ahead of Thibodeau.
Paul Colburn, like Thibodeau an earlier heat race winner, finished his strong night’s work in third. Defending division champ Jeremy Blood was fourth on the night, and Adam Knowles came home third.
Joey Doiron led the Pro Stock field to the green, with first Casey Call and then Angelo Belsito riding in his shadow until Belsito used the outside lane to rocket into the lead on lap 36. This one, though, was far from over.
While Belsito would lead for more than 50 laps, he’d do it with both D.J. Shaw and Ray Christian III draped all over him. Christian took charge late, bringing Shaw with him, to score the third GSPSS victory of his career, the last two at Claremont. Belsito finished at Shaw’s bumper to claim the third-place hardware.
STREET STOCKS: Dave Greenslit, Max Dolliver, Chase Curtis, Brian Robie, Chris Curtis, Jaret Curtis, Chris Riendeau, Steve Dickey, Bill Clement, Mike Hopkins.
PURE STOCKS: Kodi Sabins, Robert Shaw, Chris Conroy, Dylan Adams, Randy Phillips, Matt Winter, Bruce Cantara, Doug Nelson, Bruce Adams, Sammy Silva.
SIX SHOOTERS: Eric Lanou, Dustin Thibodeau, Paul Colburn, Jeremy Blood, Adam Knowles, Ben Bushey, Ryan Carmen, Todd Smith, Chad Snide, Dakota Lanou.
GSPSS: Ray Christian III, DJ Shaw, Angelo Belsito, Gabe Brown, Joey Polewarczyk Jr.