By KEN BRUCE
Well, you can’t say that Brett Deyo and his Short Track Super Series didn’t give a try when it came to getting in this past weekend’s STSS South region finale at Georgetown Speedway. With a Nor’easter predicted to take place on Friday, Deyo decided to push back the weekend to Saturday and Sunday with favorable weather conditions predicted for both days once the storm had passed. But as we all know, especially when it comes to this season that Mother Nature has her own ideas and she has not been a friend of the northeast racing community all year long.
Deyo and his track crew worked tirelessly all day on Saturday to prepare the dirt surface for competition but the skies above would just not give them a break as rain and mist persisted all day forcing Deyo to once again alter the schedule. With a very favorable forecast showing for overnight and on Sunday, Deyo made the decision to run both shows on the Sunday with a start time of 9:00am. Unfortunately, once again Mother Nature reared her ugly head and dumped heavy rain on the speedway overnight leaving Deyo no choice but to have to cancel the complete weekend.
“I can’t believe the weather forecast was so far off,” explained Deyo. “Weather Underground, Weather Bug and our local forecaster all had the rain out of there by 10:00am on Saturday. They even had the sun peeking out around 5:00pm and I figured with wind and it not raining we could dry it out but then the mist wouldn’t go away and it just made it worse and worse. I turned the lights off at midnight on Saturday and we had the track ready for Sunday. I stayed at the track in a camper and at 2am I woke up and heard it pouring and it rained from 2am to 3am and by then the track couldn’t take any more water.”
With rescheduling the race out of the question, it became apparent what the final outcome was going to be.
“Bridgeport and us have gotten along pretty good when it comes to scheduling and they have that race this weekend with the 360 Sprint Cars and the Sportsman and if the shoe was on the other foot I wouldn’t want them going against me even if the classes are different. Then they race the following weekend again and a lot of our fans came to me and said they had Charlotte tickets that they prepaid for. So not wanting to butt heads with Bridgeport to keep our good relationship going with and with Charlotte I just felt like it would be best to call it a year. It sucks to lose a big one like that, but on the other hand next year if someone rains out a weekend before me I wouldn’t want them to jump on my weekend. We just have to regroup now and get the track ready for the opener in March.”
Watt Named STSS South Series Champion
For the third time in the short four-year history of the STSS South Series, the championship trophy will once again reside in the shop of Boyertown, Pa., driver Ryan Watt.
The very popular driver affectionately known as “The Electric Company” powered his way to two series wins and multiple top five finishes to claim the title and the $10,000 first place prize. Watt and the Ron Roberts No. 14W racing will receive their championship hardware and cash prizes at the annual STSS banquet to be held on January 5th at the Bear Creek Mountain Resort in Allentown, Pa.
The always exciting Watt has had a banner year in 2018 with numerous big wins along with winning the Bridgeport Speedway big block title for the fourth time (three in a row) in his career but the goal for 2018 was to once again with the very lucrative STSS South title.
Watt started off the STSS season with a big win at Georgetown to kick start his drive to the title.
Ironically the next stop was at his home track at Bridgeport Speedway, albeit on the 3/8’s mile track, which Watt is not a big fan of. The Bridgeport race turned out to be Watt’s worst finish of the year when he ended up eleventh at the finish.
From there the series traveled to Delaware International Speedway where Watt earned a podium finish of third. The next race on the schedule was at BAPS Motor Speedway (formerly Susquehanna Speedway) where Watt earned another third-place finish.
The next race was the annual “Beach Blast” at Georgetown Speedway and to me this is where Watt earned the title. Running in the top ten Watt overshot the corner going into turn three when his arm restraint got caught up and ended up going over the banking. Watt’s car dug in and did a slow roll with the car ending up back on all four wheels as the red was displayed. Calmly Watt fired up the car and drove into the pits to have his crew check everything out. Once getting the ok, Watt rejoined the field and made an impressive run through the field to finish fifth when race ended.
Next up on the series was the Modifieds return to Port Royal Speedway. Watt once again came home with the big win after tracking down and passing Brandon Grosso with only two to go. With south series points leader Matt Sheppard unable to attend Port Royal due to a conflict with the Super DIRTcar Series Watt was now your points leader going into the Mid-Atlantic Championship weekend.
With weather cancelling the aforementioned weekend, Watt was named the STSS South Series champion for the third time. Although Watt would have rather won the championship on the track it is a title that was well earned by team.
“It’s always good to win a title,” explained Watt. “We had a decent amount of a lead going into this weekend so basically we just had to have a good run. We always seem to run good here at Georgetown and our goal for the weekend was to go out and win the race. We won earlier here in the year and we were ready to win this one as well. So yeah, it wasn’t the way we wanted to win the championship. It’s always better to win on the track, but Grandview’s championship ended that way this year and New Egypt’s was the same way. It sucks, because it’s not as exciting. It’s definitely more exciting to celebrate on the track with your crew, friends and family.”
Although not won on the track, it is a championship for Watt and his team that was well earned with a lot of sweat and hard work done during the season to allow the team to achieve the title.
“There’s a lot of hard work that goes into this to be competitive in this series,” cited Watt. “With the competition we have in this series now and to be able to win for the third time in fours year is something to be proud of. Even the year we didn’t win, we finished second to (Stewart) Friesen so we haven’t been out of top two each year.”
One of the keys to winning the series for Watt is not only the hard work the team puts in at the shop but for Watt it’s learning how to deal with going to new tracks and being prepared when you get there. This year that track was Port Royal and team was ready when they arrived.
“The traveling the past couple of years has helped me as a driver to be prepared when we take on a new track,” mentioned Watt. “When you get a new track like we did this year with Port Royal, I went out there to watch. I know it was for the Sprints and USAC cars but I at least went out there to check it out and to check out the surface and talk to some guys about it. I even talked to a couple of Late Model guys who run there to try and learn as much as I can before I go to those races. I have a lot of notes to go back on because we’ve run so many different tracks and since Port Royal is similar to Bridgeport and Delaware you look at the notes you have form those tracks and try to find something in between. Traveling to new tracks all the time make you a better driver overall. Look at Mike Gular this season, I know he hasn’t got the wins he has wanted but he has improved so much running both the North and South series and in a couple of year Mike will be winning a bunch of these big races for sure.”
It takes a great owner, family and crew to be able to make this all happen and Watt is blessed to have all three.
“I can’t thank Ronnie (Roberts) and Fay (Lancaster) enough for giving me these cars to fun and for the opportunity to do all of this racing,” mentioned Watt. “If I was on my own, there would be no way for me to do this. I definitely have to thank my wife Lesley and my son Logan for all of their support and my crew. We have a big crew and without all of their hard work I would never be able to race as much as we do and turn these cars around to race like we do. Especially with Logan racing his quarter midgets as well. Everybody on the crew knows what to do and they all have a big part in our success. I want to thank all my fans, we seem to have a big following and we’ve sold a ton of t-shirts this year. We seem to have fans wherever we go from Delaware to New York and it’s been great.”
With only one more weekend of racing left for Watt in 2018 at Bridgeport in two weeks, the team is already looking forward to 2019 as they prepare to defend their STSS South series title once again.
“We’ll be back next year to try and get another title for sure. Still not sure what Bridgeport is going to do yet so we’re waiting on that to see what our schedule will be. I would like to run a few more DIRTcar races, we still have to see what Bridgeport’s schedule will be and hopefully we hit a couple of the series races in the beginning of the year. The more we can do on the Hoosier tires and learn with them will just make us better. We would definitely like to go back to Super DIRT Week again next year. We had a good time up there earlier this month and learned a lot that hopefully will make us better prepared for the next time.”
As always, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or comments and on Twitter @dirtracefan25