They are the local champions who have suddenly found a national spotlight. And to be honest, there are a lot of them.  New England's finest drivers have turned out to be some of the country's best drivers.  Due to the popularity and stiff competition of New England's fastest growing racing leagues, New Hampshire Motor Speedway's Granite State Legend Cars features some of the best emerging talent.  

New Hampshire Motor Speedway is home to the Granite State Legends Cars, which is in its fifth year of hosting series such as the Sign Works Oval Series, Moat Mountain Road Course Series, and the Pro Wraps Bandolero Series. Winners of these series recently took home some serious hardware as state and national champions at the INEX, which stands for inexpensive racing, awards ceremonies in Charlotte, NC.   

"The number of participants in the New England region has increased significantly over the past couple of years because of the quality of drivers and because of  New Hampshire Motor Speedway's racing operations, and that is creating a new generation of race-tested, homegrown talent," explains Ryan Ux, of Granite State Legends Cars at NHMS.  "I was blown away at how quickly our region has produced drivers who are taking some major hardware at national awards events." 

Serving as the springboard to such NASCAR careers as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle and Kurt Busch, and Joey Logano, Legends Car racing has become one of the fastest growing developmental series in motorsports. Built using a "spec" model, meaning all cars are mechanically identical, Legends cars have a motorcycle engine and are purpose-built racecars with drivers ranging in age from 12 to 65 years old and competing under the INEX (inexpensive racing) sanctioning body. INEX is the third largest short track sanctioning body in the US, with over 3,500 members.

"What's most exciting about seeing New England's INEX racing start to thrive and expand is that we will attract a new generation of drivers to motor sports racing, but we can also track the careers of these young stars who are destined to wind up right back in Loudon driving at the very highest level of our sport," says Ux.  "This is like the New England farm team for driver development and for those who are serious about seeing if they have what it takes; the competition in our region proves you have to beat the best to be the best."

Below is a complete list of the New England drivers who took home national awards for their on-track success in the INEX series hosted at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Of the 29 state champions from our region, 21 raced at NHMS in 2015.

Connecticut-native, Devin O'Connell, won both the Semi Pro Asphalt National Championship and Semi Pro Road Course National Championship - a rare feat to win both championships in the same season. In addition to those accomplishments, O'Connell was given special recognition winning the Bilstein Madonna Award which is given to a driver who has made amazing accomplishments both on and off the track. Jack Walker, of New Hampshire, and Shaun Buffington, of Connecticut, won on road courses while Bob Weymouth of Maine took the title for Golden Masters Asphalt National Champion.

For these drivers and the ones below, racing and winning at New Hampshire Motor Speedway helped them on their path for these national championship titles.  

The Granite State Legends Cars will bring back the excitement in 2016 for several action-packed weekends at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

STATE CHAMPIONS (who raced at NHMS)
Casey Call (NH; Bandolero Bandit)
Aliyah Neale (MA; Bandolero Bandit)
Ethan Durocher (CT; Bandolero Bandit)
Robby Gordon Douglas (NH; Bandolero Outlaw)
Jacob Perry (RI; Bandolero Outlaw)
Teddy Hodgdon IV (CT; Young Lions Asphalt)
Thomas Everson (NH; Young Lions Asphalt)
Devin O'Connell (CT; Semi Pro Asphalt)
Kevin Girard Jr (ME; Semi Pro Asphalt)
Bob Weymouth (ME; Master Asphalt)
Matt Chagnot (NH; Master Asphalt)
Matthew Grant (ME; Pro Asphalt)
Jack Walker (NH; Young Lion Road Course)
Devin O'Connell (CT; Semi Pro Road Course)
Jordan O'Brien (ME; Semi Pro Road Course)
Alan Eastman Jr (NY; Semi Pro Road Course)
Evan Polisky (MA; Semi Pro Road Course)
Thomas Gray (CT; Master Road Course)
Bob Weymouth (ME; Master Road Course)
Stephen Johnson (NH; Master Road Course)
Shaun Buffington (CT; Pro Road Course)
Taylor Martin (NH; Pro Road Course)
Mark Gallup (MA; Pro Road Course)

ZMAX NATIONAL TOURING SERIES
(Points accumulated based on number of National Qualifier events (best 8 finishes)
1st) Devin O'Connell (CT; Semi Pro)
3rd) Noah Korner (CT; Semi Pro)

BILSTEIN MADONNA AWARD
(Given to a driver who has made amazing accomplishments both on and off the track) Devin O'Connell (CT)  

TOP 10 IN NATIONAL POINTS
Bandolero Bandit
4th) David Austin MacDonald (CAN East)
7th) Joshua Langille (Can East)
Young Lion Asphalt
5th) Cornelius "Mikey" Flynn (MA)
6th) Teddy Hodgdon IV (CT)
9th) Andrew Molleur (CT)
Semi Pro Asphalt
1st) Devin O'Connell (CT)
3rd) Kevin Girard Jr (ME)
9th) Noah Korner (CT)
Master Asphalt
4th) Bob Weymouth (ME)
7th) Alan Smith (ME)
Pro Asphalt
5th) Dana DiMatteo (CT)
6th) Cory DiMatteo (CT)
8th) Matthew Grant (ME)
Young Lion Road Course
1st) Jack Walker (NH)
10th) Eddie Fatscher IV (NY)
Semi Pro Road Course
1st) Devin O'Connell (CT)
2nd) Jordan O'Brien (ME)
3rd) Noah Korner (CT)
6th) Luke Hiebert (ME)\
8th) Alan Eastman Jr (NY)
9th) Glenn Korner (CT)
10th) Evan Polisky (MA)
Master Road Course
3rd) Thomas Gray (CT)
5th) Bob Weymouth (ME)
6th) Stephen Johnson (NH)
9th) Patrick Dillon (ME)
10th) Thomas Saari (NH)
Pro Road Course
1st) Shaun Buffington (CT)
3rd) Taylor Martin (NH)
10th) Mark Gallup (MA)