By KEN BRUCE
It’s been a lot of years since Ryan Godown has raced at the Orange County Fair Speedway, so many in fact that the Ringoes, N.J., native couldn’t remember when it was or how he did. This weekend the multi-time New Egypt Speedway champion is set to head north and participate in the long running Eastern States 200.
Godown will be heading up to the Middletown, N.Y., oval to pilot the immaculate and legendary Dieter Schmidt “LAB” No. 5 Teo machine with power under the hood being supplied by Morgantini Racing Engines. Escape RV of Branchville, N.J., is a major sponsor of the iconic five car and has been a leader in the recreational vehicle industry for over 40 years and is the #1 rated RV dealer in the Tri-State area.
Godown will be strapping into the same car at OCFS that was involved in a huge crash during the running of the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 almost two weeks ago at Oswego Speedway. Looking at the car after the crash the thinking was that there would be no way to get that same car ready for Eastern States. In fact, my thinking was that the car was destroyed and there was no way that car would race again.
“It was probably the hardest hit I have ever had in a race car,” said Godown. “I was very sore the next few days and even at Grandview on Saturday I could feel soreness in my shoulders when I strapped in to race. I really have to thank Bobby Hearn for building such a safe race car.”
After returning back to their shop in New Jersey, the car was sent up to TEO headquarters and, after carefully checking everything over, it was determined that the car was sound and the frame was still straight. The crew has worked hard and put it some long hours over the last week and half to replace all the broken parts. That also installed a new body on the car to make it race ready once again.
The Schmidt/Godown combination will head up to OCFS a day early on Thursday to compete in the Brett Deyo promoted “Hard Clay Finale” as part of the Short Track Super Series North Region.
Although the team is heading up on Thursday with all intentions to win, the race will serve as a test session to prepare the car for the rich $35,000 to win Eastern States 200 on Sunday. Qualifying for Sunday’s 200 takes place on Friday with the running of time trials and qualifying heats.
Instead of heading up to OCFS with the Searock Fabrications #26 to run in the small-block portion of ESW, Godown will head back south on Saturday to run the Petruska & Sons Atlas Paving #66 small-block at his home track of New Egypt Speedway in the tracks 5th Annual running of the All-Star Cup. After having success switching over to a new Bicknell chassis earlier this year for their big-block program, the Petruska team is scheduled to debut another new Bicknell chassis on Saturday outfitted with their 358 engine under the hood.
Ryan will also be returning to action in the Karl Freyer #4 New Egypt Wingless Sprint car on Saturday. Godown has completely dominated this division in 2017 by winning 10 out of the 11 races and in the race Godown didn’t win he finished second by a mere six inches to Lou Cicconi. This will be the last time Godown will get to run the wingless sprint car at New Egypt after a rule change for 2018 not allowing any modified drivers to compete in the division.
After Saturday’s New Egypt action Godown and his crew will head back to OCFS on Sunday hopefully already qualified to prepare the No. 5 for the running of the Eastern States 200. Godown is looking forward to getting back into the ride after the good run the team had going at Oswego until disaster struck late in the race.
“We didn’t start off the week too good at Oswego, but we kept working on the car and by Saturday’s last chance race we had a good handle on it,” mentioned Godown. “In Sunday’s race I thought we were a fifth to tenth place car until we suffered a flat late in the race forcing us to pit. Even after that I thought we could get back up there for a good finish until the accident. The car was working really good at that point.”
After this weekend’s endeavors, the schedule doesn’t get any easier for Godown as they intend to head to Georgetown Speedway the weekend of October 27th and 28th for the Mid-Atlantic Championship Weekend. Godown, who sits fourth in the STSS South standings at present, has an outside chance at the title, but realistically it will take a big stumble by leader Ryan Watt to make that happen. Godown does feel that the team does have a good chance to get to second in points with a strong run. Ryan will compete in the 358 part of the weekend in the Searock Fabrications #26 and will take his own big-block to Georgetown to compete in the STSS South Region finale. The team might also bring the Searock Fabrications #26 outlaw car as well to see if that is the way to go on the Georgetown oval.
Normally Godown would be in the Petruska #66 for the STSS race but the Petruska team has decided to sit this one out and prepare their big-block for Godown to wheel at the World Finals in Charlotte on the weekend of November 2nd thru November 4th.
It’s a busy few weeks ahead for the New Jersey wheelman but Godown wouldn’t have it any other way!
As always I can be reached for questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @dirtracefan25