Going Green: Cory Casagrande Eager To Get Back On Track This Week

Cory Casagrande in action during a practice session recently at Claremont Speedway in Claremont, N.H. (Photo: Tom Morris)

Friday evening at Claremont Speedway in Claremont, N.H. Cory Casagrande will get the opportunity to experience a first in his long racing career. 

The Stafford driver will take the green flag for a Granite State Pro Stock Series feature with no fans sitting in the grandstands for the event. 

“It’s going to be weird going around on pace laps and not see a single person in the stands,” Casagrande said. “I’ve never really seen that before. It will be different.” 

Under strict guidelines due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Granite State Pro Stock Series will get its 2020 season kicked off Friday at Claremont Speedway with the running of the Let’s Go Racing 100. 

Because of state health regulations in place due to the pandemic, large crowd gatherings remain banned in New Hampshire and similarly in most states in the Northeast. The Granite State Pro Stock Series will offer its Friday event to fans through a pay-per-view broadcast for $24.99. 

“I don’t know if I like it. Do I think there’s another option? Not really,” Casagrande said of running an event without fans. “I think it’s just what we have to do right now if we want to race. Obviously it sucks to not have fans in the stands. … Hopefully we can get back to that sooner or later. If it’s just what we’ve got to do to do it legally then we’ve just got to do it.” 

The racing card Friday will also include three features from regular Claremont Speedway divisions. Claremont Speedway is operated by Mike Parks, who also operates the Granite State Pro Stock Series. 

“We feel this is very fair,” Parks said of the pay-per-view in a release from the series. “A grandstand ticket would have been $20.” 

Claremont Speedway held a practice session for Granite State Pro Stock Series teams last weekend. Twenty-nine teams were listed on an entry list for the event released by the series earlier this week. 

“I think everyone is pretty antsy,” Casagrande said. “Luckily we were able to practice last week so it’s not going to be hopping in the car green and going racing. That was good to do. We’ve got good speed in the car. It looks like there’s going to be a pretty good turnout of cars and a lot of bigger names.” 

Before track shutdowns put racing schedules in the blender due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Casagrande had planned to run a varied selection of events in 2020. 

“We had nine or 10 events on our schedule,” Casagrande said. “Obviously right now I’ve pretty much just axed that whole thing and it’s pretty much just week by week. If something comes up and we want to do it we’ll do it. There’s talks about a race at [Riverside Speedway in Groveton, N.H.] next weekend. I’m a little worried about not having a ton of races to go to this year, so we’ll probably do that too. It’s kind of one of those things where we’ll take it week by week and race by race. Obviously I still don’t want to do more than nine or 10, but I think we’ll be lucky at this point if we get that many in.” 

Casagrande said one event that remains firm on his schedule is the $10,000 to win Motor Mountain Masters event on Aug. 8 at Jennerstown Speedway in Jennerstown, PA. Jennerstown Speedway is scheduled to open for the season with fans in the grandstands on Saturday with a five-feature card. 

“If that event is still going for August then we’ll definitely do that one,” Casagrande said. “That’s a big circle on my schedule. I had a really good time there last year. It seems like it should happen.” 

There’s currently no timeline for a return to competition at Stafford Motor Speedway. Casagrande, a former regular at the track, was looking to make his return to action at the historic half-mile oval in 2020 in the track’s inaugural Pro Late Model Open. The event had been scheduled for May 29. It’s unclear if it would be rescheduled should Stafford get the green light to open for competition in 2020. 

“That’s obviously a big bummer,” Casagrande said. “At this point I think it would be pretty tough for them to schedule it. I don’t know what their plans are. We’ll just have to wait and see. Obviously that was big on my list being my home track and living 10 minutes away.” 


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Comments

  1. getserious says

    No fans in the stands at Claremont? And that is a change, how? Other than on the TriTrack night they havent had more than 50 people there in ten years, since they flipped to Fri nights from Saturdays.It’s a damn shame what happened to that place, show-wise.

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