In Southern New England short track racing circles the Modified racecar, in all its different forms, rules the roost in terms of popularity
But when it came to growing up around the short track pits locally for Cory Casagrande, visits to Thompson Speedway weren’t about a focus on Modifieds.
“Pro Stocks were always my favorite division there,” the 21-year old Casagrande said.
And Sunday the Stafford driver will get to make his Pro Stock debut at the legendary .625-mile high banked Thompson Oval.
Casagrande will be in the lineup for Sunday’s Granite State Pro Stock Series season opening 40-lap event, that is part of Icebreaker weekend at Thompson Speedway.
Casagrande’s only experience at Thompson is making a pair of starts in Outlaw Late Model events.
“Everybody tells me it’s going to be a lot faster,” Casagrande said. “I’m pretty excited about it. … The speed there is just incredible. I’m excited about it. The motor that we’re running in that car finished third last year at the Icebreaker in Jeff Connors’ car. So I think we have a good piece.”
Casagrande, a regular in the Late Model division at Stafford Motor Speedway, will run part-time on the Granite State Pro Stock Series in 2015.
Casagrande made Granite State Pro Stock Series starts last year at Hudson (N.H.) Speedway and at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H. in a ride he shared with longtime Pro Stock driver Jeff Connors of Ellington.
This year he will share Casagrande Motorsports co-owned ride with Stafford Speedway SK Light Modified competitor Bob Charland of Stafford.
“We had the opportunity with the sponsorship to buy a car ourselves and it gives my dad and myself some experience working on them a little more and getting to know the car a little bit better,” Casagrande said. “It’s a car that [Bob Charland] and myself went in on together. We’re kind of taking it race by race. It’s a car that Shark Cycle and myself went in on together. If we do good we’ll just keep going with it. We’d like to get six to eight shows in this series between the two of us.”
At Stafford Casagrande goes into his third season as a full-time in the Late Model division looking to be a contender for a championship. After winning the 2012 Limited Late Model division championship at Stafford, Casagrande won the Late Model Rookie of the Year title in 2013. He had one victory that season and finished fifth in the points.
Last year the Casagrande Motorsports Late Model stable doubled, with Cory’s older brother Kyle joining the ranks full-time at Stafford. Cory Casagrande finished seventh in the Late Model points in 2014 and Kyle Casagrande was ninth. The two-car team returns again this year.
“I think we should be a contender for a championship hopefully this year,” Cory Casagrande said. “My first two years we struggled a little bit. We always had speed but we weren’t consistently fast. I’m hoping that changes this year. And the way my brother did last year it was a big confidence boost to see him doing that. Knowing we have two fast cars helps a lot.”