The Granite State Pro Stock Series has one more race date on the schedule before July’s Keen Parts 150 at Lee USA Speedway, but the mid-summer spectacular is already on the minds of both drivers and fans.
By Jeff Brown, for Granite State Pro Stock Series
Fifty extra laps, the biggest purse of the year, and some notable names on the entry list have drivers and teams alike gearing up for the marquee event of GSPSS’ eleventh full season of competition.
The Keen Parts 150 is the sixth round of the nine-race GSPSS schedule and the second visit of the year to Lee USA Speedway. While the biggest event on the GSPSS calendar has been held closer to the series’ home base in recent years, Lee brings with it a new level of grandeur.
The $10,000-to-win main event is part of the lead-in to the Granite State’s biggest race weekend of the year, the annual return of national-level NASCAR racing to New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Opened in 1964 and running in its current configuration since the 1980s, Lee is a challenging track that favors the driver who best manages their tires from green to checkers. The outcome of the Keen Parts 150 will again come down to strategy.
But with a long-distance race and an extra set of tires, the winning play will come down to far more than conservation. Pit too early, and others may have an advantage on fresh tires at the end. Plan to pit late, and a driver may be left waiting for an opportunity that never comes.
The introduction of pit strategy may hand a slight advantage to veteran drivers like Joey Doiron or Dave Farrington, Jr., both of whom are on the early entry list and have plenty of wins in long-distance features. Doiron, the 2019 GSPSS champion and the current point leader, won May’s Granite State Derby at Lee and has a few other wins at “New Hampshire’s Center of Speed,” making him a favorite among the series regulars.
Farrington, who won in his first-ever GSPSS start in 2016, will be one of many looking to steal glory from Doiron and the other series stars. Richard Moody Racing is planning to field two entries for Maine legend-in-the-making Ben Rowe and 2020 GSPSS champ Joey Polewarczyk.
Derek Kneeland will take advantage of big-league racing’s presence to make his second GSPSS start at Lee. Kneeland, a NASCAR spotter, has been adding more short track events to his extracurricular schedule and will look forward to getting behind the wheel of “Miss Cheyenne.”
But all eyes will be on two NASCAR Cup Series stars throwing their hats into the ring. Corey LaJoie and Tyler Reddick will make their GSPSS debuts in the Keen Parts 150, hearkening back to a tradition of NASCAR stars racing against the locals at Lee.
LaJoie grew up in North Carolina, but his father Randy cut his racing teeth on the bullrings of New England. Reddick is the first driver from California to attempt a GSPSS event. Both will be trying to make their own mark in the region in their first trip to Lee.
Making the big night possible is support from Keen Parts, one of the country’s top suppliers of Corvette parts. Owners Tom and TJ Keen have been dedicated this year to supporting short track racing through the Keen Cup Series, a series of high-profile regional features.
“We are pleased to be involved in the Keen Parts 150 at Lee USA Speedway on July 15,” said Tom Keen, owner of Keen Parts. “TJ and I really wanted to help grassroots racing in 2022, and making this the seventh race of the Keen Cup Series in 2022 is a great addition to our race schedule, along with having Tyler Reddick and Corey LaJoie joining us for the race. The Keen Cup will be up for grabs once again for some of the best Late Model talent in the Northeast.”
“Be sure to check out all of our products online at corvetteparts.net, while restoring your vintage Corvette. Corvette parts is all we do.”
The GSPSS Keen Parts 150 anchors a full night of weekly competition at Lee USA Speedway, also featuring the New Hampshire Short Track Racing Association’s Whitcomb 5 Series race. Lee’s Street Stocks, Six Shooters, Ridge Runners and Pure Stocks will round out an action-packed card to kick off New Hampshire’s biggest weekend of motorsports. Tickets will be available at the gate.
For more information on the Granite State Pro Stock Series, visit http://www.gspss.net or find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.