By CHRIS MOORE
GEORGETOWN, DE – It had been since 2015 since Richie Pratt Jr. won at Georgetown Speedway.
On Friday night, Pratt Jr. put that to bed, going wire-to-wire to score the Deron Rust Memorial in the Daniel Sommeling-owned owned Danny’s Pizza Pizzazz No. 51 ride. The Woodbury Heights, N.J., driver took home $3,960 for his efforts from the 30-lap L&J Sheet Metal big-block/small-block Modified event.
Georgetown Speedway hosted the Deron Rust Memorial on Friday night, honoring the former racer and promoter at the southern Delaware racing facility. A huge field flooded the pit gate at the Sussex County half-mile oval, led by 32 L&J Sheet Metal Modifieds and 25 Chesapeake Paving/J.W. Brown Trucking Crate 602 Sportsman.
Pratt Jr. started the 30-lap feature on the pole alongside a former driver of the No. 51 ride: Billy Pauch Jr. For the Deron Rust Memorial, Pauch Jr. was aboard the Rick Holsten No. 96 machine as he and Pratt Jr. led the field to green.
In the early going, the top two were the story, appeared to be fighting a bit of a push on corner entry. Pauch Jr. could only pressure Pratt, but not overtake him.
After a pair of early skirmishes, Middletown, N.Y.’s Anthony Perrego had piloted the Gary Simpson No. 12K into the top-four. Perrego found the outside lane of the semi-banked oval to his liking and swept past both Pauch Jr. and Ryan Watt to take over the runner-up spot.
For the race’s final 10 laps, Perrego stalked Pratt – both following in the leader’s tire tracks and darting to the inside – waiting for a miscue. On the final circuit, Pratt checked up approaching a lapped car into turn three.
Perrego shot the gap to the inside, drawing the large crowd to its feet. Pratt’s outside momentum allowed him to maintain the edge and bested Perrego under the Sunoco Race Fuels checkered flags.
“We needed this,” emphasized Pratt following the victory. “I knew the 12 (Perrego) was right there. Any mistake and he was right on me.”
Perrego made his long drive from the Empire State worthwhile with a $2,000 runner-up finish. Boyertown, Pa.’s Watt finished third in the Ron Roberts No. 14W, followed by Pauch Jr., who got crossed up in turn three momentarily in the final laps, and Craig Von Dohren of Oley, Pa., climbing forward from the sixth row.
Placing sixth through 10th, respectively, were Milford, Del.’s Jordan Watson, who earned $250 as the top First State driver from Ad-Art Sign Company; 14th-starter Jeff Strunk of Boyertown, Pa., who at one time had reached the top five in the Glenn Hyneman No. 126; Oley, Pa.’s Duane Howard; and a pair of Garden State drivers in Ryan Krachun and Matt Stangle.
Stangle received $250 from Kruger Trailers as the race’s Hard Charger.
The Rust family bestowed $50 cash bonuses to the drivers finishing third (Watt), sixth (Watson) and ninth (Krachun) in recognition of Deron Rust’s trademark No. 396.
Joe Toth was a breakthrough winner in the Chesapeake Paving/J.W. Brown Trucking 20 lap Crate 602 Sportsman feature. It was Toth’s first-ever win at Georgetown and he received a hefty $1,396 for his efforts.
Newtown, Pa.’s Toth weathered every restart and challenge from second place runner Matt Peck to grab the win. Peck would ride the outside for the entirety of the 20-lap affair to hold on to the runner-up spot.
Jordan Long grabbed a third-place finish and the $100 Preferred Power Washing Top Delaware driver bonus. Scott Hitchens came from 13th to fourth after struggling in his heat race and Super Late Model star Mark Pettyjohn jumped behind the wheel of Gary Simpson’s 602 Crate ride and brought it home with a top-five finish.
C.J. Schirmer came from sixth starting spot to win his second straight Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Car 12-lap feature. David Tucker was a first-time winner, being honored as the highest-finishing Sportsman finisher in the Vintage Car Feature.
Robert Smith and Matt Esham traded the lead a couple of times in the Delaware Super Truck 12-lap main. Ultimately, it would be Smith to pick up the win by two car lengths over Esham. Dale Elliott, Ryan Efford, and Jerry Hill rounded out the top five.
Eighteen Delmarva Chargers were in attendance, putting on a great show. Robert “Pac-Man” Paczkowski won his first feature of 2019. Geoff Carey came from 17th to finish second, Jerry Barker, Thomas Lecates and Ben Knotts were the top-five.
DERON RUST MEMORIAL NOTES: Tammy Rust, widow of the late Deron and a key employee of the speedway, gave an emotional speech during the pre-race drivers’ meeting recalling her husband’s love for the speedway….
The 116-car count total was 32 L&J Sheet Metal Modifieds, 25 Chesapeake Paving/J.W. Brown Trucking Crate 602 Sportsman, 19 Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Cars, 18 Delmarva Chargers, 12 Delaware Super Trucks and 10 Little Lincolns….
The VAULT Classic Rock broadcast from the speedway for two hours prior to race time. RC2U provided R/C car action for the kids in attendance….
Track conditions were wide and tacky throughout the program with no track prep required during the event….
Racing resumes at the speedway on Friday, June 28 with a $3,500-to-win, 30-lap event for the Sunoco Super Late Models plus RUSH Late Models, Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Cars, Little Lincolns, Delmarva Chargers and Delaware Super Trucks. This ‘Clash for Cash’ is in partnership with Md.’s Potomac Speedway and Va.’s Winchester Speedway.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the speedway hotline at 302.563.GTWN (4896).
DERON RUST MEMORIAL RACE SUMMARY – GEORGETOWN SPEEDWAY MAY 17, 2019
L&J Sheet Metal Modified Feature Finish (30 laps): RICHIE PRATT JR., Anthony Perrego, Ryan Watt, Billy Pauch Jr., Craig Von Dohren, Jordan Watson, Jeff Strunk, Duane Howard, Ryan Krachun, Matt Stangle, Joseph Watson, Bobby Watkins, Ron Roberts, Ryan Riddle, Rick Laubach, Matt Hawkins, Kevin Sockriter, Brandon Grosso, Jimmy Horton, Danny Bouc, Amanda Whaley, Jordn Justice, Brandon Watkins, H..J Bunting, Robbie Emory, Frank Cozze.
Kruger Trailers Hard Charger ($250): Matt Stangle
Ad-Art Sign Company First Delaware Driver ($250): Jordan Watson
Rust Family Bonuses ($50 Each): Ryan Watt (third); Jordan Watson (sixth); Ryan Krachun (ninth)
Did Not Qualify: Kevin Gardner, Norman Short, Shawn Ward, Carson Wright, Michael White, Scott Van Gorder.
Chesapeake Paving/J.W. Brown Trucking Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (20 laps): JOE TOTH, Matt Peck, Jordan Long, Scott Hitchens, Mark Pettyjohn, James Hill, Trent Willey, Michael White, Adam White, David Jenkins, Greg Humlhanz, Jeff Brown, Freddy Massey, Duane Rust, Jeff Marker, Paul Griffin Jr., Robbie Riley, Justin Grosso, Brian Hitz, Justin Riley, Sean Metz, Ethan Simpson, Dwayne Crockett, Samantha Muller, John Stevenson.
Preferred Power Washing First Delaware Driver ($100): Jordan Long
Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Car Feature Finish (12 laps): C.J. SCHIRMER, Kelly Putz, Jamie Eicholz, Robert Paczkowski, Oscar Fields, Andy Cassel, D.J. Cameron, David Tucker, L.J. Walbert, Chris Phillips, Art Workman, Pete Morris, Dave Parsons, Harold Sylvester, Jamie Schirmer, Todd Miller, Charlie Moore, John Burton, Dave Schamp.
Little Lincoln Feature Finish (12 laps): JORDAN HERBERT, Mel Joseph Jr., Matt White, Todd Sammons, A.J. Mitchell, Sean Smith, Ryan Walsen, Bunky White, Wayne Seaton, Bryan Piercy.
Delaware Super Truck Feature (12 laps): ROBERT SMITH, Matt Esham, Dale Elliott, Ryan Efford, Jerry Hill, Kirk Miles, Sr., Cory Sapp, Bill Dean, Dick Beauchamp, George Shupp, Billy Lockwood, Tim Quay.
Delmarva Charger Feature (12 laps): ROBERT PACZKOWSKI, Geoff Carey, Jerry Barker, Thomas Lecates, Ben Knotts, Brandon Riefler, Chris ‘Tippy’ Martinez, Chris Carroll, Greg Nailor, Joe Waters, John Bailey, Hunter Bensel, Ashley Merritt, Roy Whitehead, Randy Merritt, John Chandler
Did Not Start: Derek Swafford, Joe Morell.