OXFORD — Garrett Hall may not like leading, but he sure looks comfortable there.

Hall took the top spot for the final time just before the halfway mark and then held off furious challenges from all comers on Saturday night at Oxford Plains Speedway, winning the Granite State Pro Stock Series 100 and guaranteeing himself a starting spot in Sunday’s 44th annual Oxford 250.

“To be honest, I don’t really like starting up front,” said Hall, 22, of Scarborough. “Growing up and racing at Beech Ridge every week, it was always the fast cars starting in the back. When you start up front, it’s harder to judge yourself on what speed to go. A lot of times, when you start in the back, you can watch everyone else and pick up their lanes and learn on your way up through the field.”

Hall didn’t need a lesson on Saturday. A two-time Pro All Stars Series race winner in 2016, he started sixth and had cracked the top three by lap five.

Gabe Brown, just 14 years old and making only his fifth career start in a Super Late Model, finished second, while Bryan Kruczek finished third in his first start of any kind since May.

Mike O’Sullivan of Springfield, Massachusetts, finished 10th in the 27-car field and earned the other available Oxford 250 provisional as the highest-finishing GSPSS regular.

Brown will attempt the Oxford 250 tomorrow, as will Kruczek, after a GSPSS race that felt as if there was a lot more than just a $2,000 check waiting for the winner in victory lane.

“Yeah, I felt that,” said Brown, of Center Conway, New Hampshire. “I was over-driving it a lot, but finishing second to Garrett is just awesome. I’m super-surprised.”

Bobby Timmons III of Windham led the first four laps before Derek Kneeland took over for the next 15 laps. All around those two, Kruczek — who made a bold three-wide move to the outside just 12 laps in — Hall and Brown were in a spirited battle that only continued through the middle stages of the race and into heavy lapped traffic at times.

That lapped traffic hurt Kruczek most, as he couldn’t keep pace with Hall following the race’s final restart with 23 laps remaining.

“Battling through the lapped traffic there, I got off one of the cars and I think I knocked the front end out a little bit,” Kruczek said. “It was just enough to hurt us. I think I still could have been there at the end, otherwise.”

Brown picked up where Kruczek had led off, but he bobbled off of turn two with 10 laps remaining. That opened the door for Hall to cruise off to a multi-car length lead under the checkered flag.

“I was just trying to ride out there and be smooth and save my tires, but at the same time go hard and keep them behind me,” Hall said. “I knew if they got by me, it was going to be hard to get back by them.”

Justin Drake of Burnham and Timmons finished fourth and fifth, respectively. D.J. Shaw, Derek Griffith, Dave Farrington Jr. and O’Sullivan rounded out the top 10.

Hall didn’t expect to sleep any easier with the Oxford 250 provisional starting spot in his back pocket. He still planned to the same plan of attack for practice and qualifying Sunday.

“We’ve still got to get the car better, and (Sunday)’s a different day,” Hall said. “There’s still the lap money (in the Oxford 250).”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

[email protected]

 


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