GEORGETOWN, DE – On a windy and cool March afternoon at Georgetown Speedway, veteran Jimmy Horton opened the 2017 Northeast dirt Modified season in Victory Lane.
Horton, of Neshanic Station, N.J., drove Chris Larsen’s Halmar International No. 43 to the win in the 49-lap big-block/small-block Modified Melvin L. Joseph Memorial, round No. 1 of the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By VP Velocita South Region.
Horton earned $4,900 plus $200 in lap money for his first-career STSS triumph.
A hearty crowd took in the quickly run program, which spun off with temperatures in the 30s.
The ‘Sensational One’ Horton led the 30-car starting field to Warren Alston’s green flag. Horton led the opening four circuits around the half-mile oval before 2015 STSS South Region champion Ryan Watt swept into the top spot. Horton was shuffled back to third in the exchange.
However, he didn’t back down.
“The driver fell asleep and let Ryan get the lead,” Horton said. “I knew I had a good car. I got back by him and after that, it was conserve mode to save the tire.”
As Watt led, Billy Pauch was making a run toward the front from 12th starting spot in Kevin Bifulco’s No. 1.
By lap 14, Pauch had arrived in second, trailing Watt while Horton held third.
The race’s pivotal moment occurred on the 16th lap. Entering the third turn, the leaders fanned out three-wide, with Horton diving to the bottom, Watt in the middle and Pauch to the top.
Horton emerged with a lead he wouldn’t relinquish, conserving tires and holding Watt at bay during numerous restarts and increasingly slick surface.
Watt, of Boyertown, Pa., settled for second as he continues to chase his first Modified victory in the state of Delaware. Pauch, of Frenchtown, N.J., completed his strong drive with a podium effort in third. Duane Howard of Oley, Pa., ended a steady effort in fourth place after starting sixth in Norm Hansell’s No. 357.
A hard-charging David Van Horn Jr. of Harmony, N.J., piloted the Fred Vahlsing-owned No. 323ov from 21st to finish fifth.
Completing the top-10 were Tyler Dippel of Wallkill, N.Y.; Jordan Watson of Milford, Del., who earned the $249 Hard Charger Award after driving from 28th to seventh; Frank Cozze of Wind Gap, Pa., in his debut driving for Dave Renaldo; Brett Kressley of Orefield, Pa., recovering from an early spin; and Jamie Mills of Milford, Del.
Heat winners for the 32 assembled STSS Modifieds were Rick Laubach of Quakertown, Pa., Jeremy Smith of Triangle, N.Y., Billy Pauch Jr. of Milford, N.J., and Kressley. Van Horn topped the consolation.
Dagsboro, Del., driver Scott Hitchens drove to a $1,000 victory in the 20-lap L&J Sheet Metal Crate 602 Sportsman main event. Hitchens, back in the seat of his family No. 15, launched into the lead at the outset and thwarted the repeated advances of Brett Ballard in the race’s second half.
A close call for Hitchens took place when a lapped car spun in turn three. He clipped the spinning vehicle with the back of his car and continued on for the win.
New Jersey’s Ballard placed second, followed by young Matt Stangle, Dwayne Crockett and Tommy Tanner.
A down-to-the-wire 12-lap Little Lincoln event featured a five-car battle for the win, with Joe Tracy prevailing for the win over Ronnie Wilson, Kirk Lawson, Jordan Herdeck and Matt White.
C.J. Schirmer topped the Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Car 10-lap main.
Jerry Barker pulled away in the final laps of the 15-lap Delmarva Charger main event, besting Robert Paczowski, Tanner Marvel, Jay Sipple and Derek Swafford. Second- through fifth-place scrambled to the checkered.
After a lead-swapping, back-and-forth tussle with Matt Esham, Shane Clogg roared to victory in the 15-lap Delaware Super Truck main. Clogg ultimately prevailed over Esham, Matthew Smith, Jerry Hill and Dale Elliott.
Next up for the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP is the ‘Hard Clay Open’ at Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, N.Y., Round No. 1 of the Halmar International North Region, on Saturday, April 8. A practice will take place on April 7.
The next Velocita-USA South Region event takes place Sunday, April 23 at N.J.’s Bridgeport Speedway with the ‘South Jersey Shootout’ event.
Georgetown Speedway roars back into action on Thursday, May 11 with the Super Late Models racing for $4,000 to win in a Tri-Track Challenge with Winchester (Va.) Speedway and Potomac Speedway in Budd’s Creek, Md. Also on the card are RUSH Crate Late Models, Delmarva Chargers and Delaware Super Trucks.
Georgetown Speedway, originally constructed by Melvin L. Joseph in 1949, is located at the intersection of Route 113 and Speedway Road in Georgetown, Del., just miles from the Delaware beaches and less than a 40-minute drive from Ocean City, Md.
A website is live for the speedway at www.thegeorgetownspeedway.com. Like Georgetown Speedway on Facebook, follow @thegtownspdwy on Twitter, e-mail email@example.com or contact Brett Deyo at 845.728.2781 during business hours for more information. A race day information line has been established: 302.563.GTWN (4896).
To learn more about the Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP or BD Motorsports Media LLC, visit www.shorttracksuperseries.com or www.bdmotorsportsmedia.com, call 845.728.2781 during business hours, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, “like” Short Track Super Series on Facebook or follow @ShortTrackSS on Twitter.
COLD QUIPS: Despite the chill, and Friday snow showers, the show went on for the Melvin L. Joseph Memorial. The Modified feature was completed by 4:30 p.m., with the entire program in the books in just over three hours….
Melvin L. Joseph Construction president Ken Adams brought several pieces of equipment for display in the grandstand area….
Pre-race favorite Stewart Friesen suffered a miserable outing, first slowing with a flat right-front tire and later a broken front-end after contact while racing back through the field. Friesen left Georgetown and headed south to a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series test at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway….
Ms. Motorsports 2017 Taylor Albert attended the event and met fans….
A broken drive shaft exiting pit lane for his heat race sent Jordan Watson to the consolation. He carefully advanced 21 positions through the 49-lap main….
A mix of engine combinations were present in the Modified field, with Brett Kressley winning a heat race utilizing a spec engine….
The state of New York was well represented in both the Modified and Crate 602 Sportsman fields….
GEORGETOWN SPEEDWAY MELVIN L. JOSEPH MEMORIAL RACE SUMMARY – MARCH 11, 2017
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP Velocita South Region Event No. 1 Feature Finish (49 laps): JIMMY HORTON, Ryan Watt, Billy Pauch, Duane Howard, David Van Horn, Tyler Dippel, Jordan Watson, Frank Cozze, Brett Kressley, Jamie Mills, Andy Bachetti, Rick Laubach, Ron Roberts, Michael White, Clay Tatman, Billy Pauch Jr., Shawn Ward, Ryan Godown, Richie Pratt Jr., Jeff Brown, Jim Britt, Craig Hanson, Jeremy Smith, Stewart Friesen, Danny Johnson, Dillon Steuer, Scott Van Gorder, Kevin Sockriter, Matt Jester, H.J. Bunting III.
Did Not Qualify: Norman Short, Brian Hitz.
Lucky 7 Lap Money Breakdown ($879): Jimmy Horton ($200); Ryan Watt ($148); David Van Horn Jr. ($119); Duane Howard ($103); Billy Pauch Sr. ($100); Billy Pauch Jr. ($89); Tyler Dippel ($60); Jordan Watson ($40) & Brett Kressley ($20)
American Racer Bonuses (FREE Tires): Frank Cozze (eighth) & Ron Roberts (13th)
ATL Fuel Cell Bonus ($200 Certificate): David Van Horn Jr. (fifth)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 Gift Cards): Duane Howard (fourth) & Brett Kressley (ninth)
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Bonus (24 FREE Team Wear Shirts): Jimmy Horton (winner)
Chesapeake Paving Heat Winners ($49 Each): Rick Laubach, Jeremy Smith, Billy Pauch Jr. & Brett Kressley
Fast Axle Bonus ($50 Certificate): Tyler Dippel (sixth)
Keizer Racing Wheels Bonus (FREE Wheel): Ryan Watt (second)
Melvin L. Joseph Companies Hard Charger ($249): Jordan Watson (28th to seventh)
QA1 Hard Charger ($50 Certificate): Jordan Watson (28th to seventh)
VP Racing Fuels Makin’ Power Positions ($50 Certificates): Ryan Watt (second), Rick Laubach (12th) & Craig Hanson (22nd)
Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (20 laps): SCOTT HITCHENS, Brett Ballard, Matt Stangle, Dwayne Crockett, Tom Tanner, Steven Kemery, Cole Hentschel, Jimmy Johnson, Ryan Riddle, Nick Alberti, Stacy Jackson, Trent Van Vorst, Matt Smith, Adam White, Scott Hulmes, Shayne Spoonhower, Sean Metz, Michael DuBois, Jeremy Harrington, Jordn Justice.
Did Not Start: Christian Bratten, David Jenkins, Jeff Brown.
Little Lincoln Feature Finish (12 laps): JOE TRACY, Ronnie Wilson, Kirk Lawson, Jordan Herbeck, Matt White, Landy Adams, Bunky White, Donald McElvien, Dave White.
Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Car Feature Finish (10 laps): C.J. SCHIRMER, David Schamp, Don Davidson, Mark Williams.
Did Not Start: Todd Miller.
Delaware Super Truck Feature Finish (15 laps): SHANE CLOGG, Matt Esham, Matthew Smith, Jerry Hill, Dale Elliott, Rick Lee, Mike Kennedy, Rocky Whitley, Robert Smith, David Smith.
Delmarva Charger Feature Finish (15 laps): JERRY BARKER, Robert Paczowski, Tanner Marvel, Jay Sipple, Derek Swafford, Ashley Merritt, Ben Knotts, Earl Truitt, Geoff Carey, Randy Merritt, Scott Calhoun.