GEORGETOWN, DE – The grandstands at historic Georgetown Speedway were jammed to capacity for the first-ever Fan Appreciation Night on Thursday.
And the hometown driver pulled one off.
Ross Robinson, whose race shop is within earshot of the speedway, broke into the 2019 RUSH Late Model win column with a victory in the evening’s $2,000-to-win, 25-lap headliner.
$5 general admission was offered by speedway management on Thursday and the fans responded heavily. New faces, returning attendees from years gone by and loyal followers all flocked to the facility for a quickly run show spun off in just over two-and-a-half-hours.
Georgetown’s own Robinson, piloting the Stockley Materials No. 7, launched into the top spot at the wave of the green in the RUSH Late Model main.
Robinson and Joey Warren held the first two positions while all eyes were on a paint-swapping, back-and-forth battle for third in the event’s mid-portions. Matt Hill and an emerging Amanda Whaley, who was relegated to an 11th-place starting position after a heat-race spin, spearheaded an intense battle for the final podium spot.
Whaley ultimately emerged with the position and set her sights on the leaders.
Meanwhile, Robinson had slowed his pace as he encountered slower traffic. Warren, at one point, closed to within a car-length of the leader, but Robinson remained out front through the wave of the Sunoco Race Fuels checkered flags.
Robinson was very emotional in Victory Lane, recognizing the lifelong support of his parents who were both in attendance on Thursday night.
Warren, like Robinson from Georgetown, finished a stout runner-up worth $1,000, followed by Whaley of Millsboro, Nick Davis of Gumboro and Tyler Reed of Milton.
Scott Hitchens is the all-time leading winner in the Crate 602 Sportsman division at Georgetown Speedway and he added another checkered flag to his resume Thursday in the Chesapeake Paving/J.W. Brown Trucking 20-lap feature.
The Dagsboro native trailed Michael White early in the main event before experimenting with the outside lane. Hitchens swept past White and was on cruise control out front.
All eyes, however, were on Mod Lite graduate James Hill. Hill had missed the redraw during qualifying, but didn’t let the setback deter him. Working the top line through turns one and two, Hill burst into second with less than five laps remaining and was turning lap times quicker than the leader.
Time ran out and Hitchens, who described his No. 65 as an “oldie but a goodie,” romped to a $1,000 payday.
Hill, of Laurel, settled for a hard-earned second-place result.
Michael White of Laurel placed third, with New Jersey invader Tom Sherby and Adam White of Laurel.
A last-lap, last-turn pass landed Josh Smith in Victory Lane for the 12-lap Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Car 12-lap main. Smith swept to the top around Charlie Moore on the final circuit exiting turn four. Todd Miller placed fourth and was declared the Vintage Sportsman winner.
A tacky, racy track played into the hands of Kirk Lawson in the 12-lap Little Lincoln headliner. Lawson went to the top of the banking and swept past the entire field to take the victory. A brief fire was a quick scare before Lawson’s Victory Lane festivities. Jordan Herbert and Matt White finished second and third, respectively.
Robert Smith edged David Smith in a caution-free 12-lap Delaware Super Truck main event as the pair battled side-by-side during the race’s latter laps. Geoff Carey completed the top-three.
The Delmarva Charger 12-lap event went to Joe Waters after he executed a rim-riding outside pass of Brandon Riefler. Like their Super Truck counterparts, the Chargers ran their feature without a single caution flag.
FAN FUN NOTES: A total of 70 race cars took part in the first-ever Fan Appreciation Night at Georgetown Speedway. The event was a late addition to the 2019 schedule but will definitely be back and grow larger for the 2020 season as a total ‘buzz’ overcame the facility….
Third-place finisher Amanda Whaley joined her soon-to-be-husband Ross Robinson in Victory Lane for the celebration. The pair will wed in December….
Despite heavy rain earlier in the week, the Lou Johnson-led track prep team offered a wide and tacky half-mile surface that drew rave reviews from competitors….
Georgetown Speedway and Short Track Super Series head starter Joe Kriss added another role to his resume on Thursday at the speedway. Kriss also performed the evening’s National Anthem….
Next up at Georgetown Speedway is the VAHLCO Wheels ‘Blast at the Beach’ presented by Melon 1 on Tuesday, August 27 featuring the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco Modifieds racing 35 laps for $6,000 to win in a Velocita-USA South Region event. Also on the card are the STSS Crate 602 Sportsman ($1,500 to win for 20 laps), Delaware Super Trucks and Delmarva Chargers.
The event carries a rain date of Wednesday, August 28.
For complete rules, prices, times and race information, visit the following link: http://shorttracksuperseries.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/BlastattheBeachGeneralInfoSheet.pdf
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).
FAN APPRECIATION NIGHT RESULTS SUMMARY – GEORGETOWN SPEEDWAY AUGUST 15, 2019
RUSH Late Model Feature Finish (25 laps): ROSS ROBINSON, Joey Warren, Amanda Whaley, Nick Davis, Tyler Reed, Kerry King, Trevor Collins, Billy Thompson, Joe Pete, Mike Wharton, Nick Love, Mike Raleigh, Matt Hill, Zac Weller, Cody Dawson, Brandon Sturgis.
Chesapeake Paving/J.W. Brown Trucking Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (20 laps): SCOTT HITCHENS, James Hill, Michael White, Tom Sherby, Adam White, Tom Princiotta, Jeff Coffey, Duane Rust, Matt Smith, Trent Van Vorst, Mark Pettyjohn.
Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Car Feature Finish (12 laps): JOSH SMITH, Charlie Moore, Andy Cassel, Todd Miller (Sportsman winner), Dave Schamp, Chris Loveland, Jamie Schirmer, Dustin Shultie
Little Lincoln Feature Finish (12 laps): KIRK LAWSON, Jordan Herbert, Matt White, Bunky White, Wayne Seaton, Sean Smith, Scott Calhoun, A.J. Mitchell, Todd Sammons, John Wothers.
Delaware Super Truck Feature Finish (12 laps): ROBERT SMITH, David Smith, Geoff Carey, Dale Elliott, Jerry Hill, Ryan Efford, Corey Sapp, Ronnie Holloway, Kirk Miles Sr., Michelle Jackson, Thomas Jackson, Danny DiGrazio, Dick Beauchamp.
Delmarva Charger Feature Finish (12 laps): JOE WATERS, Brandon Riefler, Chris Martinez, Robert Paczkowski, Greg Nailor, Ashley Merritt, Thomas LeCates, Hunter Benzel, Randy Merritt, Wayne White Jr., John Bailey, Chris Carroll.