By KEN BRUCE
In what has become a reoccurring nightmare this season for everyone, especially the promoters. Mother Nature once again prevailed over the weekend. Big Diamond Speedway did manage to get their show in on Friday night but as luck would have it the 358 Modifieds had the night off. Here’s hoping we can catch a break this upcoming weekend so all tracks can get their shows in. The point’s battle for the individual track championships are heating up and it would be a shame to have them decided by the weather and the lack of shows.
Since there is really nothing to go over in the NJ/PA due to the weather. I am going off the track here and just give my feelings and a couple of shout outs to a couple of drivers on the Northeast Modified circuit.
It was really great to the “Aussie” Peter Britten finally get a win on the Super DIRTcar series last Thursday out at The Sharon Speedway. Britten, who originally hails from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia had been on the local scene since 2009 and has run on the SDS since 2011. Britten who has come close on occasion to getting a win on the series has never been able to close the deal. But on Thursday, Britten finally had his dream come true to hold the checkered flag in a series race. Britten did it the hard way having to start 20th in the field, he was able to work his way through the field and pass drivers like Brett Hearn, Matt Sheppard and Billy Decker among others to get the big win. Britten who is running his own car on the series this year after being released from the HBR team during the off-season, really needed this win to help him continue on the circuit. Once again congratulations to Britten and his team on a job well done! It couldn’t have happened to a nicer person.
Another driver on the SDS that needed a big win was Billy Whittaker. If you remember it was the car of Whittaker that was destroyed on the backstretch last October during Super Dirt Week at Oswego. Although Whittaker’s win at Eldora did not come in a series point race, it was a big win nonetheless for the Central Square, NY resident. Whittaker who was out of racing for a while returned three years ago and this year decided to take on the big guns on the SDS. Whittaker who would admit to struggling at times wasn’t even planning on making the trip out west until the last minute but is now glad he did. Whittaker drew the pole for the non-points event and led all 20 laps to take the big win. It wasn’t easy though for the likeable Whittaker who had SDS superstars Brett Hearn and Billy Decker bearing down on him in the closing laps. But Whittaker held his line and kept his composure to take the big win.
Also winning over the weekend at his home track for the first time this season was the “Ravena Rocket” Keith Flach. Flach is one of the nicest guys in our sport and is always a pleasure to chat with when our paths cross at a race track. I always make an effort to stop by the #43 hauler to chat with Keith and his wife Chelsea who are expecting their first child in November. The happy couple just recently held a pretty cool gender reveal party in which Flach’s modified was used as a prop to let everyone know they are having a baby girl which was done with colored smoke coming out of the cars exhaust which as you can guess was pink. The Flach’s did it on Facebook Live so all of their fans could witness it along with their family and friends. Starting 17th in the feature event after having problems in his heat race, Flach drove a strong race to drive through field to take the crowd-pleasing win at his home track, the Lebanon Valley Speedway.
Local NJ/PA modified drivers Jimmy Horton, Frank Cozze and Ryan Watt made the trip out west to take part in the Eldora Dirt Derby SDS race last Tuesday along with the SDS race at Sharon Speedway on Thursday. Horton and Watt also qualified for the SDS invitational race on Wednesday at Eldora. Horton put up a pair of seventh place finishes on both nights at Eldora and decided to skip the SDS at Sharon to get home and get the car prepared for Saturday night big block action at Orange County Speedway where Horton is the current points leader. Watt had finishes of 10th and 13th at Eldora. On Thursday night at Sharon Speedway Watt was forced to pull in when his right rear tire went away. Watt’s finishes do not tell the story of his accomplishments over the three-day SDS excursion. By my count, Watt passed the most cars during the three-race span. On Thursday at Sharon Watt had problems in qualifying and was added to the field as a provisional. When the green flag flew Watt was able to work his way up into the top ten before his tire went away relegating him to a DNF and a 22nd place finish. Watt and the Roberts Racing team then backed up their strong Ohio runs by stopping at Lernerville Speedway on their way home Friday night. Watt had a good night at Lernerville coming home with a strong second place finish. The Boyertown, PA driver had the lead late in the race but was passed with only a few lap to go by the track’s multi-time winner Matt Williamson. Our other local driver who made the trek out west to race, Frank Cozze probably wishes he would’ve stayed home. The trip did not go well for Wind Gap, PA veteran as he dropped out of both shows in the Huttig #35.
A shout out to Billy Pauch Jr and the Danny’s Pizza #51 team on their big win on Friday night at Georgetown Speedway. Pauch Jr and the team had high hopes at the start of the season but a series of mechanical issues have derailed those wishes up until Friday night. The team did have a good run in the last Poker Series race at Bridgeport coming out of the night with a fifth-place finish. This past Friday night at Georgetown, the team finally had some luck go their way drawing a front row starting spot and then going on to lead all 25 laps to take the big win.
After some tough luck, the week prior at both Grandview Speedway on Saturday and at Big Diamond on Sunday for the STSSS race. The “Montgomery Missile” Anthony Perrego returned to victory lane on Saturday night at Orange County Fair Speedway in the 358 Small Block Modified feature. Perrego destroyed the field in the Superior Remodeling #44 Teo to get the team back into victory lane. Click the following link to read the complete story from fellow DTD columnist Jeff Withey. https://www.dirttrackdigest.com/New17/?p=8915
NJ/PA Mod News N Notes:
The Petruska & Sons, Atlas Paving #66 is almost ready to debut a new Bicknell chassis for their driver Ryan Godown. Time and place of the team’s maiden voyage with the car has not been decided as of this writing…
The highest paying race in the STSS South Region takes place this Sunday at the Susquehanna Speedway when the Modifieds invade for the second running of the STSS “York County Nationals”. Last year’s race was no doubt the most competitive STSS race of the year and with $10,000 on the line to win this year, this race is shaping up to be even better. STSS North driver Erick Rudolph has confirmed that he will be in the field on Sunday and I fully expect some of the other North Series drivers to make the trek south to try and steal some of the South region money and take it back home. Ryan Watt currently leads the South series points standing with miniscule seven-point lead over Duane Howard. Watt has one win this year on the series at the Delaware Speedway and although Howard hasn’t won a race yet this season on the STSS he has been a model of consistency to earn his way into the second spot in the title chase…
DRIVER OF THE WEEK: Billy Pauch Jr gets this week’s driver of the week nod. Pauch Jr not only won the modified portion of the show on Friday at Georgetown but also won the SpeedSTR feature on Wednesday night at the Action Track making Pauch Jr the tracks winningest driver in that division passing his father Billy Pauch for that honor. Congratulations Billy!
As always, I can be reached for any comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @dirtracefan25