It will be a combination of veteran experience and youthful exuberance behind the wheel of the No. 51 ride on the Granite State Pro Stock Series in 2014.
Longtime Pro Stock competitor Jeff Connors of Ellington said Thursday he will be behind a team on the Granite State Pro Stock Series this year. Connors said he will share his ride with Stafford Motor Speedway Late Model division regular Cory Casagrande of Stafford.
The Casagrande and Connors families have long worked together on racing efforts. Connors, who has been on the sidelines with his Pro Stock the past two years, said he was looking for a way to return to competition and saw the Granite State Pro Stock Series as the best option. Connors said Cory Casagrande’s father Rick stepped up with an offer to provide a motor to run with the series in 2014.
“We’re down without a motor and we don’t have a whole heck of a lot to work with,” Connors said. “The idea came up with that Ricky is basically getting the motor and we’re going to be sharing the ride.”
Connors brother James will serves as the team’s crew chief. The Granite State Pro Stock Series goes into its third season in 2014 with a 10-race schedule. They are part of the Icebreaker weekend at Thompson (April 6-7) and the World Series Weekend at Thompson (Oct. 18-19).
Connors, a longtime regular in the former Pro Stock/Super Late Model division at Thompson said he will run both of those events.
“We’re excited,” Connors said. “It gets us back into things. I’m excited to get back racing at Thompson and go race again with some guys that I’ve always enjoyed racing with. [The Pro All Stars Series] is just real expensive to run. The Granite State, it seems like you can tour where, you have to have a budget but not the kind of budget you woud need to go PASS racing. It’s a good series and it seems like it’s catching on.”
After winning the 2012 Limited Late Model division championship at Stafford, Casagrande made the jump in divisions and won the Late Model Rookie of the Year title in 2013 at Stafford. He finished fifth in the Stafford Late Model standings last year with a victory and 13 top-10’s in 18 starts.
“We haven’t really picked out the dates where Cory is going to drive or how far we’re going to go with things,” Connors said. “It’s all still coming together right now.”