By KEN BRUCE
In a season that just screams domination at Bridgeport Motorsports Park, the ‘Ringoes’ Rocket,’ Ryan Godown continues to make the south jersey 4/10’s high banked oval his personal bank. Godown with eight wins already in 2022 at Bridgeport added to that total Tuesday night as he won the STSS “South Jersey Shootout” and the $5,000 payday.
“You know, obviously the car was good tonight, but we decided to use our open 360 motor tonight instead of the spec motor we run here weekly, and it just worked out for us,” said Godown after the race. “We set it up the same as we do for a Saturday night and the only difference is the MPH you have going into the corners. I messed up in the heat race and went into turn one about a half a car length deeper than I usually do with a spec, and with the extra weight, it just carried the car up farther than normal and I hit the wall. It’s all about getting into a rhythm here, I knew I had a good car and it fired off well and was able to get the win.”
Godown had to race and hold off the hottest driver in the Northeast, Matt Sheppard to preserve his win. Going back to 2019 when Godown was a rookie on the Super DIRTcar Series tour, the two drivers have become good friends, but when the helmet is strapped on tight the competitive juices begin to take over and the friend turns into foe. Both Godown and Sheppard are aggressive but respective drivers on the track and Godown knew he had to race his friend hard to stay in front.
“When you are good friends with a guy like that, you don’t want to race with for what seemed like ten restarts,” mentioned Godown. “That caused a little bit of cringing on my part, the guy is so good, and I knew he was going to hammer it on one of those restarts. A couple of them, I did see him and I thought he was going to be good, and we gave each other the lane and it was just good racing. Hats off to Matt, we are good buddies and are going to race each other clean. We try to help each other out. I tried to help him out by coming down here and told him what I think he needed, and he will do the same for me when we go to Middletown on Thursday. It is good to have a friend like that to be able to work and be friends with. We are one and two in points, but it goes deeper for me. Yes, we are friends, but we both want to win but we also aren’t going to take each other out. Matt’s had a helluva career and the stuff he’s done is amazing and I am very appreciative to be able to bounce things off of him.”
When talking above, Godown mentioned the number of restarts during the race that found him and Sheppard alongside each other. That led to some very intense racing as the two raced hard.
“It was weird, off of turn four it would get tight, and I just didn’t know if I was clear or not,” explained Godown. “I tried to leave him that lane but with these four coil cars you get tight, and you can’t lift here, or it gets worse so I kept steering left and I think one time I felt him but after that I tried to move down a little bit so as to not block that lane.
“This track is about momentum and keeping that momentum going. You want to keep the same line but sometimes you have to deviate but I only try to deviate a half a lane here, a half a lane there. It’s really all about keeping the car straight. It is really hard not to overdrive the corners here; you want to get into the corners as deep as you can but if you overdrive it you are going to miss it and then you are off. Out of the 50 laps tonight I probably did that four or five times. You have to have that discipline on hitting your marks and when you have a car that has to weigh 2400 instead of 2300 it just felt a little different but once I got out in front, I knew I could control the pace.”
Holding off Sheppard on those many restarts wasn’t the final challenge for Godown as a fast-running Ryan Krachun was able to pass Sheppard for second then having a shot at Godown in the closing laps.
“I saw Krachun get to second on that last restart. I wasn’t sure what to do,” said Godown. “Should I pick the top or stay on the bottom, but I just decided to stay with what was working and that was the bottom. I knew Krachun was going to run me clean, so I wasn’t worried about that. I was seeing the track starting to get black and take rubber and I heard something underneath me and someone told me it was him but I couldn’t see him because of the doors and then on the next lap I went down about a half a car length and that meant everything. Once I moved down, I could feel the rubber and then I knew it must have been him under me. Once I did that, I didn’t hear him anymore and figured I would stay there until I saw or heard something else.”
Fortunately for Godown, Bridgeport had a two week break for the modifieds as unbeknownst to most people, Godown had suffered an injury while at work a couple of weeks ago that might have prevented him from driving. But with a couple weeks to rest, Godown was back in the driver’s seat at Georgetown last Friday night.
“Two weeks ago, I gut hurt at work,” explained Godown. “I was screening topsoil and it started to rain so I was trying to tarp it up and ended up pulling two muscles in my hip. I ended up being out for three days, I couldn’t walk and if I had to get in a racecar at that point, I wouldn’t have been able to race. My guys said to stay home, sit in the house and we’ll take care of the racecars. Georgetown was the first race after I got hurt and it was feeling good but still hurt a little but once I got in the car and strapped in, I couldn’t feel it so that was a good sign. Then by Sunday I felt back to 100%. I worked today before I got here and tonight, I didn’t feel it all, so I am back to normal.”
In addition to winning last night’s STSS using an open 360 motor, Godown has won at Bridgeport this season driving his normal Saturday night spec motor along with winning the SDS race in a big block proving that it doesn’t matter what car or motor combination the team uses, they get it done.
“This is my happy place, and that’s where we are trying to get better,” said Godown. “I am going to Middletown on Thursday and try to get better with our big block on Hoosiers because that program is not where it needs to be and we are working hard at it and we have to keep working hard to keep the advantage we have here at Bridgeport. Guys think that just because you win, you don’t change anything. I can tell you; our cars have changed a lot from what we had here last year to what we are running now. You have to or the competition will catch up to you. We have our spec program down pretty well here, but our big block program is not where we want it to be so that is something we need to continue to work on. A lot of that has to do with the weight, the big block car has to weigh 2500 and the motor is heavier so now you have more weight in front of you so that is what we have to work on and make it better.”
Ryan Krachun charges to a second-place finish
It has been an up and down year for Ryan Krachun. The Neshanic Station, N.J., driver has had some very good runs but has also had some nights the team would like to forget. Finishing second at last nights STSS between two of modified racings best drivers left the young driver feeling pretty good about how their team is coming along.
“Not bad for a car we threw together last night,” commented a happy Krachun afterwards. “This is our Bridgeport car from last year and it was just sitting in the corner, and we put in a different motor and threw a new body on it. I think we had the car to beat tonight, but Godown just out drove me. I thought about just throwing a slider there and probably should have. There are so many things I could look back on and say I should have done this or that differently and at the end of the day I don’t know if it would have changed anything.”
“At the end there I probably showed Ryan (Godown) the lane and once he moved down there, he got better, and I just started to overdrive the car. Once I started to overdrive it, it is just a battle in my own head to think what I can do while he is nice and calm controlling the race.”
For a car that was in pieces and thrown together for this race, Krachun was very pleased with the outcome.
“My dad, myself and (crew chief) Cody Hager worked hard on this car,” explained Krachun. “I am not just saying this, but this car was in pieces two days ago and we worked our asses off to get it here tonight. It was nice to get a good finish and hopefully the fans enjoyed the race.”
Still, finishing in second between Ryan Godown and Matt Sheppard left Krachun feeling pretty good about where he is right now.
“It does feel good, Ryan (Godown) since the 76er last year has been unstoppable,” commented Krachun. “Especially here at Bridgeport where we race with him every weekend. We are getting closer, and I think tonight we were within striking distance, and it was just unfortunate that I couldn’t capitalize on it. Hopefully, next week we can take what we learned from tonight and be even stronger.”
Watt earns hard charger award
It has taken a while but Ryan Watt seems to have his Troyer chassis finally figured out here at Bridgeport as the Boyertown, Pa., driver continued to knock off another top five finish Tuesday night. Watt started the 50-lap feature in 18th place and when the checkered flag was displayed Watt had finished fourth earning him the hard charger award.
“I’ll take that tonight especially with us running our spec motor here,” mentioned Watt while sipping on an adult beverage afterwards. “I guess we were first in class tonight. I thought Godown would go with his spec tonight, but he ended up running a 360. The car was really good tonight, I hope it works that good on Saturday especially on the bottom. At the end there the top started to rubber up and got really fast there so I had to move up. We messed up in the heat race and didn’t put enough gear in it and it just wouldn’t come off the corners, but we changed it for the consi and that brought the car to life. We had a brake issue here and that was causing problems early in the year with this Troyer car but now have that figured out and since then this car has been really good here. Since we figured that out, we won a race here, have a second, third and now a fourth.”
Bridgeport STSS Bites
28 STSS Modifieds signed in on Tuesday night. Matt Sheppard, Brandon Grosso and Ryan Krachun were the heat winners with Ryan Watt winning the last chance qualifier…
Matt Stangle was the first across the line in heat three, but the heat win was awarded to Ryan Krachun when the No. 6 was light going across the scales. Stangle’s night didn’t get any better in the feature when he charged into the top five only to drop out shortly after…
Anthony Perrego qualified through his heat race, but the No. 44 was making a loud noise after the race that sounded like it was coming from the engine department. The team was forced to scratch from the feature…
Jeff Strunk was scheduled to appear as promoter Brett Deyo had someone draw for him at the drivers meeting but the team never arrived…
The top three finishers of Ryan Godown, Ryan Krachun and Matt Sheppard all ran open small blocks with fourth and fifth place finishers Ryan Watt and Danny Bouc both running their spec 358’s…
Billy Pauch Jr’s bad luck on the STSS South series continued. Pauch was up to the fourth spot when he got out of shape and hit the wall hard dropping him back to out of the top ten. Pauch pulled into the pits a few laps later with sheet metal rubbing the right rear tire…
Mike Trautschold was disqualified from the feature after an on-track incident with Alex Yankowski…
Modified rookie Anthony Tramontana was impressive in the feature until being sidelined late in the race..
Jordan Watson was fast early on in second place when something broke on the No. 18 forcing him to the pits…
Billy Osmun had a new TEO Procar at Bridgeport after a couple of hard crashes forced the team to scrap the old car. The frame on the new car was powder coated a cherry red metallic color giving the No. 81 a very nice look…
After the Bridgeport STSS race, Ryan Godown continues to lead the STSS South Region standings by 25 points over Matt Sheppard. Danny Bouc, Mike Gular and Mike Mahaney complete the top five…
Next race on the STSS South Series will take place on Tuesday August 30th with the running of the annual “Beach Blast” at Georgetown Speedway…
If you have any comments or questions, feel free to send me an email at email@example.com or message me on Twitter @dirtracefan25