WINCHESTER, N.H. (WWLP) – Belchertown’s Barry Gray led every lap from start to finish to win the Granite State Pro Stock Series JBH100 at the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, New Hampshire on Saturday.
Monadnock was at one time a home track for Gray, and he showed championship form no matter who challenged him on restarts, including Matt Frahm, Tommy O’Sulivan, Dillon Moltz, or Derek.Griffith. Griffith settled for second, Frahm placed third, Russ Hersey took fourth, and Josh King was fifth. Wilbraham’s Tommy O’Sullivan was sixth, while his brother Mike from Springfield came in 18th in the 19-car field, Adam Norton from Ludlow finished 10th, and Matt Zenisky of West Springfield came home 11th.
In victory lane, Gray told the crowd: “My hat’s off to my guys. They do a great job preparing this car. We just needed great starts.”
At different points in the race, racing in the top five became a revolving door to the rear of the field. Contact between Tommy O’Sullivan and Matt Frahm sent O’Sullivan spinning with a penalized Frahm joining him at back of the pack. Ditto on lap 95 for Dillon Moltz with Adam Norton sent to the tail of the field. Point leader Larry Gelinas dropped out on lap 77 for a 15th place finish; his car smoking heavily from a mechanical problem. This is the third season in a row Gray has won a GSPSS event at The Dog.
One of the drivers to watch in the Granite State Pro Stock Series is Matt Frahm from Hampstead, New Hampshire. Frahm has driven in 11 races in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. On July 12th he raced at New Hampshire Motor Speedway where he started 36th and finished 25th, completing 195 of 200 laps. Earlier this month, Frahm drove at Iowa Speedway, where he completed 3 laps in a start and park effort. In NASCAR, start and park teams are controversial at all levels. But there are those who insist there is a value to being seen in the Nationwide garage, practicing the car, and ultimately being listed in the finish at race end. Frahm told 22News, “Out of sight, out of mind. That’s the biggest thing you have to keep in mind when you’re in a position like I’m in. A start and park is better than sitting home on the couch watching the race, in my opinion. You get to interact with all the owners that are there, the other teams, the team members. Your face is in the garage, people remember you. If you’re not there, you’re not going to get a chance. So every time I get a chance, some people don’t like the approach of a start and park, but for me, the way I look at is you get to run practice laps, you get to run qualifying, and you get to run a couple race laps. If it adds up to 10 or 15 laps in a weekend, it’s 10 or 15 more laps at a different track every weekend than I would gotten beforehand sitting on my couch watching the race. Honestly it’s a huge advantage in my opinion. I don’t think I’ll ever turn down a start and park ride, I would never do it.”
So what then is the key to getting attention and an opportunity in one of NASCAR’s top three series? According to Frahm, “Being there, putting your face there, willing to be diverse. In my situation right now, you can’t just be the driver that shows up, pops in the car, and leaves. You’ve got to put in your effort, too. You’ve got to help the team out. You’ve got to do whatever you can to get ahead of the next guy, work harder than the guy next to you. You got to always be on the hunt for sponsorship.”
There’s one word behind the steering wheel on the dashboard of Frahm’s #14 pro stock: patience. A reminder of an important life quality not necessarily fulfilled in racing. Frahm doesn’t want to dream about opportunity, instead he’s trying to make an opportunity. ” You’ve got to throw the pavement down. If it sticks it sticks, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. I just want to be able it give it a shot, and say we did give it a try, and not just give up on it.”