Cory Casagrande is getting used to being a rookie.
The 19-year old returns to Stafford Motor Speedway this year for his sophomore season in the track’s Late Model division, but the rookie stripe from his Stafford bumper last year will move on to his new Granite State Pro Stock Series ride.
Casagrande, of Stafford, will share driving duties in 2014 with Jeff Connors with a newly formed, Connors owned Granite State Pro Stock Series team.
The team will run a part-time schedule for 2014, with race dates still being determined. Connors has confirmed that he will compete in the division’s two events at Thompson Speedway.
“I’m real excited,” Casagrande said. “Driving a Super Late Model or a Pro Stock is something that I’ve always wanted to try. We saw an opportunity and realized we can get the motor built and we had some sponsorship help and we were able to pull the deal together.
“Last year we ventured out a little bit [with a Late Model], we went to Canaan [Fair Speedway in Canaan, N.H.], Monadnock [Speedway in Winchester, N.H.]. We went to Thompson [Speedway] for the first time. And we were real fast everywhere we went. I think I’m pretty good at being able to learn new tracks. Now it’s more about learning the new car.”
The pairing of Connors and Casagrande was a natural fit. The two families have worked together for two decades on racing efforts. Connors is a long time competitor in the short track Pro Stock ranks locally.
“I’ve always looked up to Jeff as a driver,” Casagrande said. “I’ve learned from him over the years. Now I’ll be able learn even more from him because he’ll kind of like be my driver coach. I look forward to it.”
At Stafford Casagrande, the 2012 Limited Late Model division track champion, looks to capitalize on late season gains in 2013 in the Late Model that saw him running as a contender regularly in the closing weeks of the season. He had one victory in 2013 in the Late Model and finished fifth in the standings to clinch the Rookie of the Year title.
“We did a lot of work to the car over the winter,” Casagrande said. “I plan on coming back stronger. The main goal is to be there at the end to win a championship and hopefully win a lot of races. That’s what we want to do. We were able to get on the pace last year toward the end of the season, we just want to keep that going.”