WINCHESTER, N.H. -- Barry Gray fought off multiple challenges from Matt Frahm, Tommy O'Sullivan and Dillon Moltz to pick up his first victory of the season in the JBH 100 at Monadnock Speedway on Saturday night.
Gray's Meadow's Motor Cars/Hawley's Auto Chevrolet shot out to the lead at the drop of the green flag, as the Belchertown, Mass. native took full advantage of his pole position starting spot after a strong heat race. Gray would face an early challenge from Matt Frahm and Tommy O'Sullivan, but seemed to be cruising before a caution on lap 26 for Fran Colson and Cory Robert bunched the field back together. Gray would pull away from O'Sullivan once more on the restart, and set a blistering pace, putting multiple cars a lap down before the halfway point of the race.
Point leader Larry Gelinas, who hadn't finished outside the top four all season long, suffered a mechanical breakdown on lap 77, setting up a chance for Dillon Moltz to cut into his sizable lead in the standings. Moltz would restart on the outside of Gray on a lap 88 restart, but was involved in a caution on lap 96 with Adam Norton, taking him out of contention for the win. The final caution set up a four-lap shootout between Gray and Derek Griffith, who fought his way back up through the field after suffering a flat right-front tire. The veteran held off the youngster as Gray grabbed the checkers for the third time at Monadnock Speedway with the Granite State Pro Stock Series (GSPSS). Griffith would settle for second, his best finish of the season.
Gray was quick to say his dominating performance did not come without worry.
"There's a lot of good competition, good cars here. Every time the caution came out, I knew it was going to be the restart of my life."
Gray's three victories with the GSPSS have all come at Monadnock, but Gray says luck plays a huge part in picking up a victory.
"We've run good at a lot of other places, and things happen. I'd rather be lucky than good. Tonight we were lucky, we held off challenges, they ran me clean, and it's a nice thing."
For Griffith, the second place finish is consistent with his stellar start to the 2014 season in the Motorcycles of Manchester Toyota, as the youngster has not finished worse than eighth.
"We were lucky to make it up back through for a second place finish," Griffith commented. "My friends and family made the trip up from Hudson, so it was nice to have a good finish."
Frahm also acknowledged his third-place finish as a great point night for the Lambert Roofing Chevrolet, but felt he may have left a little something on the table.
"Tommy O'Sullivan and I were racing really hard, and I got into the back of him by accident," Frahm spoke. "Barry was solid. If we didn't have a car that could've won, we could've certainly been a second-place car. All-in-all, from what happened and how we had to work back through, it was a good night. Third place, we'll take it for the points, and move on to Star (Speedway)."
Tommy O'Sullivan would climb back up to the sixth spot, with Bryon Baker, Dillon Moltz, Joey Squeglia and Adam Norton completing the top 10. Moltz, via his eighth-place finish, took the win in the GSPSS Tournament Challenge presented by Victory Lane Radio by beating out Larry Gelinas for the $250 top prize. Griffith tied his career best finish by grabbing second, as well as Russ Hersey with his fourth place finish. Josh King bested his career best finish by nabbing the fifth spot, as well as Adam Norton by recording a 10th-place finish. Hersey and Mike Parks picked up heat wins.
The Granite State Pro Stock Series is back in action on Aug. 16 at Star Speedway in Epping, N.H. The second trip to Star in the 2014 season marks race number seven of the year. For more information on the Granite State Pro Stock Series, contact Mike Parks at email@example.com or visit www.gspss.nets.
The top five finishers for each of the other division races at Monadnock Speedway on Saturday night are as follows:
Sportsman Modifieds: 1. Todd Patnode, 2. Brian Chapin, 3. Steve Fifield, 4. Keith Carzello, 5. Kim Rivet.
Super Stocks: 1. Tyler Lescord, 2. Geoff Rollins, 3. Robert Hagar, 4. Tom Carey III, 5. Tyler Leary.
Mini Stocks: 1. Kevin McKnight, 2. Chris McTaggart, 3. Beth Adams, 4. Joel Monahan, 5. Eric Pomasko.
Thunder Stocks: 1. Dave Greenslit, 2. Paul Barnard, 3. Marshall Usher, 4. Henry Martin, 5. Jason Barden.
Lightning Stocks: 1. Chris Davis, 2. Tim Paquette, 3. Pat Houle of Vernon, 4. Hillary Renaud of Vernon, 5. Eric Silvernale,
Young Guns: 1. Hayley Guy, 2. Solomon Brow of Vernon, 3. Mike McGoldrick, 4. Justin Littlewood, 5. Colton Smith.
On Saturday night, racing will begin at 6 p.m. at Monadnock Speedway for a card that includes Sportsman Modifieds, Super Stocks, Mini Stocks, Thunder Stocks, Young Guns and NE Champ Karts. The general admission prices are: $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, $5 for ages 13-18 and free for 12 and under.