By KEN BRUCE
Ryan Godown has always set a busy schedule for himself when it comes to his racing and in 2019 that will be no different for the driver out of Ringoes, N.J. This year Godown is getting out of his comfort zone. He’s taking his show on the road to race with the best.
For the first time in his career, Godown will travel with the Super DIRTcar Series as a full-time platinum member. It has been a lifelong dream of Godown’s to run in the SDS series and when the opportunity presented itself the ‘Ringoes’ Rocket’ jumped at the chance to do so.
“It’s always been a goal of mine to run full-time on the Super DIRTcar Series,” explained Godown. “It’s the premiere series for the Modifieds. The racing is much cleaner and the drivers who run the series are the best.
“I mean no disrespect to Brett Deyo and his series because what he has done for the Modifieds is great and I plan to support Brett and his STSS as much as I can. But, racing in the SDS is what I have always wanted to do and when Steve and Diane (Searock) presented me this opportunity I had to take it. Plus, with the increased purses this season in the series it was an easy decision to make. Running the full SDS series is a commitment and will force me to miss a couple of shows I like to run like the 76er at Grandview, but in the long run it will pay off.”
Godown has the backing of Steve and Diane Searock, owners of Searock Fabrications. The Godown/Searock combination will run about 85% of the SDS schedule. For the remaining 15 % of the series schedule Godown will climb aboard the iconic Lincoln Auto Body No. 5 of car owner Dieter Schmidt.
“We plan to run the bulk of the series in the Searock car,” cited Godown. “We have not set a final schedule on which races we plan on running Dieter’s car, but we do know that any races run at Orange County Fair Speedway will be in his car.”
The team will be well prepared to hit the road when the series starts in April at Can-Am Speedway. The Searock team has two new Troyer TD4 chassis’ on order which should be delivered shortly for the team to start the assembly process. The team won’t lack for power with a total of three big -blocks available for use. A new CC Performance big-block is on order to go along with a recently rebuilt CC motor the team has. Godown also has a rebuilt ERD motor of his own that the team can utilize if the need should arise.
The Schmidt team has the same Troyer TD4 car from last year which only has around 10 races or so on it. The Morgantini big-block motor that soured with two laps to go last year at Oswego had been rebuilt and is ready to rock and roll once more when the team heads to Volusia Speedway Park in Florida in less than a month for the 2019 DIRTCar Nationals.
Heading up the effort for Godown in 2019 will be his long-time crew chief and brother Butchie Godown. Butch will in charge of keeping the fleet of Troyer Modifieds in running order as the team sets out to make their SDS debut. Joining the team to solidify their SDS effort will be Godown’s long-time friend Stephane Lafrance owner of Trick Race Parts. LaFrance headed up Godown’s efforts last year at both Oswego and Eastern States and he along with Godown will work at putting in the correct set-ups to keep Godown near the front of the field.
It will be tall task for Godown as he will competing on tracks in which has little or no experience on. That is joined by the fact that he doesn’t have that much experience running on Hoosiers tires. This is where the expertise of Lafrance will help as he does have a lot of familiarity with the tracks that Godown will be traveling to for the series and Godown has a ton of confidence in the former racer to help him along with his learning curve.
“Stephane (Lafrance) has been a great friend of mine for a long time,” stated Godown. “He has helped me out very much over the years and I think with his expertise on set-ups we can make a run at this. We know it’s going to be a learning experience because I don’t have much if any laps on some of these tracks along with the fact that I don’t get to run the Hoosier tires very often, but I have enough confidence in Stephane and myself along with my crew to think we can run up front. We know we will have some bad nights and probably be involved in a wreck or two along the way, but I think we’ll be very competitive as well.”
Although the SDS will be Godown’s number one priority, he’ll be keeping himself and his team busy with a very aggressive schedule planned for the year ahead. Godown is racing weekly at Big Diamond Speedway on Friday night’s and plans to be at New Egypt Speedway most Saturday nights when the SDS doesn’t conflict with their schedule. Godown has another new Troyer chassis ready for action at Big Diamond, which will be showcased the Troyer booth this weekend at the PPB Motorsports Racecar and Trade Show in Oaks, Pa. The team is utilizing last year’s hardly used Troyer chassis for New Egypt Speedway action and have three spec 358 small blocks to bolster their efforts.
“With the money being offered at Big Diamond this year, it doesn’t make sense not to run there on Friday nights and we always seem run good there,” mentioned Godown. “I really like running New Egypt and we plan to be there as much as we can. The track has always been home for me and I think things are looking up for them, plus it’s close to home for the crew. I think there are four nights that conflict with the SDS so that will take us out of the points there but you never know, if there any rainouts we might end up in the mix there as well.”
Godown also plans to follow the Brett Deyo promoted STSS South Series action and will try to make most of the STSS North Series races as well. The team is going to run the Schmidt No.5 in the South Series races where running a big-block is the preferred choice of drivers and in the North Series it will be the Searock team once again in the forefront with another Troyer chassis being used with an outlaw motor bolted under the hood.
“I love running in the Deyo series and we plan on hitting them all,” said Godown. “Especially the South Series. We will try to make most of the North Series races as well but with the schedule we have set for ourselves we might have to take a race or two off to give the team a break if we think we need one.”
Planning an aggressive schedule like this is not easy and can take its toll on a team, especially the crew, but Godown thinks he has the owners and crew to make it all work and if it gets to be too much the team will not be adverse to taking a night off locally to unwind and regroup.
“We know we have a lot on our plate,” commented Godown. “We have to be smart about the remaining part of the schedule. We don’t plan on running those shows that aren’t part of a series, especially with the big-block. It’s just not worth it to us to tow to Georgetown on a Friday night when Big Diamond is off and put anymore laps on the big-block when we might have a mid-week series race coming up the following week. We have to smart about what extra races to run and be aware of not burning the team and the equipment out.”
None of this would be at all possible without the support of car owners, sponsors, family and a great crew and Godown knows he is blessed to have all those.
“I have a great group of people behind me,” stated Godown. “The Searocks have stepped it up big time this year to provide me with this opportunity along with Dieter. I am blessed to have a pair of owners who have the confidence in me to get the job done and hopefully we can do it. I must thank our sponsors like Searock Fabrication, Ellery’s Restaurant and Pub, Lincoln Auto Body and the numerous product sponsors we have that provide us everything we need to get the job done.
“My crew led by my brother Butch along with crew members Alex, Dan, Mike, Bruce, Ron, Matt along with my son Ryan Jr. put in a lot of hours to prepare all the cars and there is no way I could do it without their help. I must thank my girlfriend Chelsea whose role has changed a little with the birth of our beautiful little girl Savannah Mae last November. Chelsea still plans to travel as much as she can and is a vital part of our success. Chelsea’s father will also be joining the crew this season to give us a hand when possible.”
To make it even more of a crazier season for Godown, his young son Ryan Godown Jr., will be calling New Egypt Speedway his home on Saturday nights in the Crate Sportsman division when baseball does not interfere.
“I am really looking forward to watching Ryan race this year,” beamed Godown while talking about his son. “We hope to have a car ready for him in time to go after the rookie crate championship at New Egypt, but his baseball schedule will determine if that’s possible.”
It has been a tough off season for Godown and his family with the passing of his mom Carolyn “Babe” Godown right after Christmas. For that reason, Godown plans to dedicate the upcoming season to his mom who has always been 100% behind him in his racing efforts.
“It has been a tough past few weeks for me and my brothers with my mom passing away,” said a somber Godown. “But I know she will always be riding along with me and now I will have both her and dad looking down on me and keeping me safe.”
This year is set to be the busiest season to date for Godown and a learning one as well, but you can hear both the excitement and the determination in his voice to know that he will give it his best shot.
As always, I can be reached for questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @dirtracefan25