By CHRIS MOORE
GEORGETOWN, DE – Following the war of tire attrition that took place Saturday night, many drivers and fans wondered what Sunday afternoon would bring at Georgetown Speedway.
The track crew at Georgetown answered the call and an outstanding daytime racing surface was prepared for the Sunday matinee, which had been postponed by rain from Friday night.
Oley, Pa.’s Duane Howard and the Norm Hansell Motorsports team continued their affinity for the Georgetown oval, topping the 30-lap Sunoco Small-Block Modified event on Day No. 2 of the Melvin L. Joseph Memorial weekend. Howard earned $4,049 for his efforts in front of a healthy Sunday afternoon crowd.
Howard launched off the pole for the main event, but his victory was far from easy.
Howard led the field to the green flag. Fellow Oley, Pa., driver Craig Von Dohren was on the gas early. Von Dohren moved from his fourth starting position to second on the first lap before the yellow flag fell. On the ensuing restart, CVD took the lead from the outside and the chase was on from there.
Von Dohren led a close following duo of Howard and the hard charging Billy Pauch Jr. in the Rick Holsten-owned No. 96. The trio pulled away from the rest of the field and caught the tail end of the field by lap 11. For the next five laps, the top three went high, low, and through the middle to get through lap traffic before a spinning Roger Henion Jr. brought out the yellow.
“Racing through the traffic was really fun,” Howard said of the intense laps on the semi-banked half-mile oval. “We had a really good track to run on today.”
On the ensuing restart attempts got interesting. First, the problems occurred in row two, where Pauch Jr. and the Richie Pratt Jr. made contact, sending Pauch Jr.’s car over the edge of the track and outside the top-10.
Howard and Von Dohren then battled each other hard with Howard losing spots and showing displeasure with longtime rival CVD. However, due a spin in the back of the field, the lap and positions lost were nullified.
Howard powered into the lead on the next restart with 13 laps to go and was never headed for the remainder of the distance.
“It’s nice to get a win early,” Howard said afterward. “This team is poised for a really good year. I have to thank Norm (Hansell) for providing this equipment.”
Von Dohren’s Dick Biever-owned No. 14s, which had shown signs of smoke at times in the second half of the race, held on for second spot followed by Pratt of Woodbury Heights, N.J., in a solid effort for the Daniel Sommeling No. 51 team. Returning to the family owned No. 71 for the day, David Van Horn Jr. of Harmony, N.J., snagged a fourth-place result, with Frank Cozze of Wind Gap, Pa., completing the front five.
Howard, Von Dohren and Demetrios Drellos topped the heat races with 34 Sunoco Small-Block Modifieds on hand.
The RUSH Crate Late Model Weekly Series point battle began Sunday at Georgetown with 19 cars on hand for a 20-lap, $1,049-to-win program.
Michael Duritsky made his long haul from Masonville, Pa., worthwhile leading every lap of the main event. Duritsky made the trip for second weekend in a row, being one of the 72 cars in attendance for last week’s Open Practice day.
Matt Glanden of Denton, Md., didn’t have quite the day he was looking for. Following a spin on lap four, Glanden was coming back through the field when the No. 11F of Ryan Frazee went around in turn four. Glanden hit Frazee nearly head on, and wound up on his roof. Both drivers were uninjured.
Following the only red of the day, and multiple restarts on lap eight, things settled down and the field went the rest of the way caution-free. “I was worried on all those restarts, but I knew if I held my line I’d be alright,” Duritsky would say of his seemingly stress-free race.
Georgetown native Ross Robinson drove the Daniel Hudson-owned car to a second-place finish, besting Mechanicsville, Md., driver Dale Hollidge to the line by three car-lengths. Hollidge now has a RUSH-legal crate engine at his disposal for special events in the area. Amanda Whaley and Tyler Reed completed the front five.
The Delaware Super Trucks were back for the second day in a row. This time it was Robert Smith coming his fifth-place starting position to pick up the win in the 12-lap feature. Saturday night’s winner, Matt Esham was charging hard from his last place starting position to finish second and Jerry Hill rounding out the top three.
The Delmarva Chargers also came out for the second consecutive day with Ashley Merritt getting her first win since a six win-season in 2014. “It feels awesome. This is my favorite track and I’ve been trying and trying to win here again,” she said in Victory Lane.
Derek Swafford and Chris Carroll finished second and third, respectively. Joe Waters ended up fifth after leading the first 10 laps of the 12-lap affair.
GEORGETOWN NOTES: Saturday night’s winner Stewart Friesen was up to fifth from his 12th-place starting position before pulling off with apparent rear end issues on the Halmar International No. 44….
Matt Sheppard, Andy Bachetti, and Wade Hendrickson were the three cars failing to make the green flag after all suffered engine issues in their respective heat races. A field of 31 cars started the main….
The cars of Ryan Watt, Joseph Watson and Brad Roberts all showed signs of smoke at different times during the 30-lap Small-Block event….
Racing resumes at Georgetown Speedway in one month with the ‘Battle of the Bay’ on Thursday, April 18 featuring Sunoco Super Late Models paying $3,026 to win plus the RUSH Late Model Series ($3,000 to win), Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Cars, 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 the speedway hotline at 302.563.GTWN (4896).
MELVIN L. JOSEPH MEMORIAL RESULTS SUMMARY – GEORGETOWN SPEEDWAY MARCH 17, 2019
Small-Block Modified Feature Finish (30 laps): DUANE HOWARD, Craig Von Dohren, Richie Pratt Jr., David Van Horn Jr., Frank Cozze, Michael Maresca, Alex Yankowski, Demetrios Drellos, Cale Ross, Louden Reimert, Brad Roberts, Matt Stangle, Ryan Anderson, Roger Manning, Kevin Sockriter, Norman Short, Michael White, Scott Van Gorder, Jeff Strunk, Billy Pauch Jr., Roger Henion Jr., Stewart Friesen, Mike Gular, Clay Tatman, Dylan Swinehart, Joseph Watson, H.J. Bunting, Ryan Watt, Jordn Justice, John Willman, Brian Hitz.
Did Not Start: Andy Bachetti, Matt Sheppard, Wade Hendrickson.
RUSH Late Model Feature (20 laps): MICHAEL DURITSKY, Ross Robinson, Dale Hollidge, Amanda Whaley, Tyler Reed, Derek Magee, Joe Pete, Wes Clifton, Jonathan Raley, Billy Thompson, Jason Dean, Nick Davis, Zac Weller, Charles Shawver, Ben Scott, Ryan Frazee, Matt Glanden, Mike Wharton.
Did Not Start: Matt Hill.
Delaware Super Truck Feature Finish (12 laps): ROBERT SMITH, Matt Esham, Jerry Hill, David Smith, Dale Elliott, Mike Kennedy, Kurt Miles Sr., Kurt Miles Jr., George Shupp, Bo Beauchamp, Bill Dean.
Delmarva Charger Feature Finish (12 laps): ASHLEY MERRITT, Derek Swafford, Chris Carroll, Randy Merritt, Joe Waters, Brandon Riefler, John Bailey, Robert Paczkowski, Geoff Carey, Chris ‘Tippy’ Martinez, Joe Morrell, Jarett Chandler.