Joey Doiron, of South Berwick, Maine, has been snakebitten at Lee USA Speedway. On Friday night, he bit back.
Doiron had a little good luck for once, and turned in a win in the 100-lap Granite State Pro Stock race, his first Pro Stock win at the track.
“It feels good to finally conquer this place,” he said. “Lee is my home track. I remember going there as a kid and watching races. But it’s a place I haven’t had much success, so to come here and finally break through (with a win) is pretty cool.”
Earlier this year Doiron had a strong car at the track but was penalized and put a lap down, and was unable to get back on the lead lap. Last year he was leading and got into the dropped fluids of another driver, crashing out of the lead.
This year it was Berwick’s Ryan Green who inherited Doiron’s bad luck. Green led the bulk of the first half of the race, but when Todd Stone broke a rear end Green got into the fluid, slamming into the wall and another crashed car. Brandon Barker, who was running second at the time, was penalized for changing a radio under the red flag, and Doiron inherited the lead. He never gave it up.
“I hate that for Ryan and Brandon,” Doiron said. ‘They are both good friends, and I hated to see that. I know how it feels. I felt I had the best car (at Lee) multiple times and didn’t have anything line up.”
Doiron said he feels like Lee USA Speedway owed him one after all the bad luck he has had there through the years.
Finally reaching victory lane there could also be a game-changer for Doiron in the big picture, as he is once again in the battle for the Granite State Pro Stocks championship.
“I think last year this race ruined our chances (at a championship),” he said. “We ended up going to our backup car while we fixed this one, and we saved this one for the Oxford 250. I think that probably cost us.”
Doiron lost the championship by a mere six points last season to Connecticut driver Devin O’Connell. When he crashed out of his lead at Lee last year, he finished 17th, while O’Connell went on to a third-place finish, garnering 28 points more than Doiron for the race. This year, Doiron left Lee with a 24-point lead in the points battle.
“I’d rather win races,” he said. “I don’t get wrapped up in points. At least I try not to. If you win races, the championship will take care of itself, but my goal is to win every race.
“I’ve been so close, so many times; I try not to let it get to me. Between last year and the 2013 PASS North season I lost out by a combined 10 points."
Plourde makes a statement
On any given Saturday there are nine or 10 cars that could win a Street Stock feature at Star Speedway, but until Saturday night Middleton’s Josh Plourde might not have been on that list. Plourde made his best run of the season Saturday night, avoiding some mid-race carnage and performing very well to pick up a fifth-place finish.
“This is my first top five, so I’m excited,” he said after the race. “The car was good tonight, finally. I work on it non-stop and tonight was the best car I’ve ever had. ... This is a huge kick-start for us. We’re in the right direction now.”
He said that many of the other Street Stock drivers have been big helps to him, citing point leader Alby Ovitt and Saturday’s race winner Anthony Belfiore as being among guys who have supported his improvement.
“You can ask anyone for help, and they’ll help you out,” he said. “But to be racing door to door with guys like Alby, and Anthony and all the other really great drivers in this division, and being competitive with them — this is really awesome.”
Results are in
Friday night at Lee USA Speedway, in addition to Doiron’s win, George Helliwell picked up another Late Model Sportsmen win, while Ovitt won the Street Stock feature. Adam Knowles picked up another Six Shooter win, and Donnie McCaffery earned the Pure Stock win.
Saturday at Star Speedway it was Charlie Rose who took the checkered flag in the ACT style Late Model feature. Anthony Belfiore notched the Street Stock win, while Andrew Harmon (Mini Stocks), JT Cashman (Six Shooters), Crystal Murray (Fast 4’s) and Katie Buxton (Powder Puff) also took home feature wins.
A look ahead
New England Dragway kicks off the weekend with street night (and SEMA Collector Car appreciation night) on Friday night, followed by points racing on Saturday and Sunday in the Top Sportsman, Super Comp, Super Street and Super Gas categories.
Lee USA Speedway racing starts at 7 p.m. on Friday with twin 50-lap features for the Valenti Modified Racing Series, along with the next round of the Lance Davis Memorial Triple Crown for the Six Shooters. Late Model Sportsmen and Street Stocks will also be competing.
Star Speedway will drop the green flag at 6 p.m. on Saturday with the return of the 350 Super Modifieds, as well as the Late Models, Six Shooters and North East Classic Lites. The Street Stocks will go 40 laps for the next race in their “Fast 40” series.
Terrill Covey is a Seacoast Media Group correspondent and longtime observer of auto racing. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at tcovey11.