GEORGETOWN, DE – Stewart Friesen kicked off the Northeast racing season with a win at Georgetown Speedway, getting by Ryan Watt in the latter stages of the Short Track Super Series South Region event to score the victory.
“That was a fast paced race,” Friesen said. “I thought (JoJo) Watson was going to be tough to beat, but he had issues. Then I knew Watt was gonna be hard to beat but he got caught up in the cushion in traffic and had issues, but I’m not sure whether that happened before or after that.”
Watson bested Ryan Watt to lead at the start of the 49-lap Melvin Joseph Memorial, with Watt and Friesen in tow. Watson’s high hopes were shot down almost immediately, as he pulled pitside from the lead on lap four with mechanical issues.
Watt inherited the lead, and held a steady gap over Friesen at about a second until the first yellow flag of the event flew on lap 10. Third place Rick Laubach went up in smoke on the restart, with David VanHorn and Danny Bouc lining up behind Watt and Friesen for the next green.
Friesen launched to the inside and momentarily put a nose out front, but Watt throttled down and kept the top spot. It took a few tries to get a consistent green flag run, but Watt and Friesen ran away and hid over the battle for third between Tyler Dippel and Craig Von Dohren. At halfway, Watt still head a steady one-second advantage over defending event winner Friesen.
On lap 31, Friesen took a shot at Watt, but Watt shut the door and instantly gapped Friesen by a second and a half. The see-saw battle tipped towards Friesen again, taking advantage of Watt catching the fluff and darting to the lead. A broken right front shock meant Watt’s fun was done, as Friesen pulled away and Watt now had to fend off Von Dohren.
Watt’s issues got worse, as the front end of his machine started to completely come apart, ultimately falling flat on lap 42 and drawing the caution. With seven laps left, it was Friesen leading Von Dohren, Dippel, and Billy Pauch Jr.
Last season, Friesen had to survive stressful tire wear and a late charge by Matt Sheppard to take the win, but no such pressure was placed on him in the 2020 event, as Friesen cruised to a $10,049 payday in the Melvin L Joseph Memorial 49-lap event.
“It was a good race,” mentioned Friesen. “I didn’t want to dirty him up and I hoped we could go at it in traffic, and that’s what we were able to do.”
Chasing Friesen across the line was a blank white No. 1c, with driver Von Dohren coming up one spot short of his first Short Track Super Series win.
“It wasn’t a night without issues,” Von Dohren noted. “Matt Sheppard loaned us a carburetor just to get us out there tonight, and for a small team this definitely helps out financially. I’m happy, a lot of people are helping this deal so we’ll see how far we can go.”
Dippel plans on his first full season of dirt Modified competition in a few years, and kicked off his campaign with a solid podium.
“That was a really good run for us, especially with such a long break for me in dirt cars,” said Dippel. “Its been about 8 months or so, and it was gnarly out there. I think we might have had a second place car, but Von Dohren got me in lapped traffic near the end of that one.”
Pauch Jr., raced from mid-pack to finish in fourth as Bouc completed the top five.
In the Crate 602 Sportsman feature, Pennsylvania’s Jim Housworth avenged his heartbreak from last November at the Georgetown Speedway. Housworth lost a close battle for the STSS championship in the finale.
This time, Housworth bested a 47-car field to get his first Georgetown win and the $1,490 payday. Scott Hitchens, would follow Housworth closely, but never quite could catch the leader, ending in a runner-up finish.
Joe Toth would kick off his 2020 season with a podium run, while Sammy Martz Jr., and Jeff Brown rounded out the top-five.
Chris “Tippy” Martinez dominated the Delmarva Charger feature, his second consecutive Georgetown win, dating back to November. Ashley Merritt and Chris Carroll would round out the podium.
Andy Cassel won the Modified portion of the Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Car Club in the 12-lap feature. David Tucker I was also a winner, being the highest finishing Sportsman driver and fifth overall.
Dale Elliott finished off opening night, winning a hotly contested Delaware Super Truck Feature. Jerry Hill, and Clay Vincent were the podium finishers.
The fifth Melvin L. Joseph Memorial concludes Sunday with a complete Small-Block Modified program (30 laps, $4,049 to win), RUSH Late Models (20 laps, $1,049 to win), Delmarva Chargers and Delaware Super Trucks.
On Sunday, pit and grandstand gates open at 12:30 p.m. with hot laps at 2:30 p.m. and racing gets underway at 3:30 p.m.
Sunday grandstand admission is $25 (Adults); $20 for Seniors (ages 65 and up) and Students (ages 13-17); $10 Kids (ages 9-12); and Children 8 and under FREE.
Sunday pit admission is $35 (ages 13 and up). Kids (ages 6-12) pay $10. Children 5 and under pay $2.
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).
MELVIN L. JOSEPH MEMORIAL RESULTS SUMMARY – GEORGETOWN SPEEDWAY MARCH 7, 2020
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Velocita-USA South Region Event No. 1 Modified Feature Finish (49 laps): STEWART FRIESEN, Craig Von Dohren, Tyler Dippel, Billy Pauch Jr., Danny Bouc, Larry Wight, Jordan Watson, Jimmy Horton, Richie Pratt Jr., Alex Yankowski, Brandon Grosso, Andy Bachetti, Ryan Watt, H.J. Bunting, Michael Maresca, Matt Sheppard, David Van Horn Jr., Anthony Perrego, Duane Howard, Mike Gular, Kyle Fuller, Kevin Sockriter, Danny Tyler, Danny Hieber, Rick Laubach, Clay Tatman, Billy Dunn, Joseph Watson, Jeff Strunk.
Did Not Qualify: Ryan Godown, Allison Ricci, David Schilling, Matt Stangle, Dylan Swinehart, Brad Trice, Josh Delea, Norman Short, Marshall Hurd, Carson Wright, Ryan Krachun, Billy Shantel Jr., Scott Van Gorder, Ryan Riddle, Jeff Brown.
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Crate 602 Sportsman South Region Event No. 1 Feature Finish (25 laps): JIM HOUSWORTH, Scott Hitchens, Joe Toth, Sammy Martz Jr., Jeff Brown, Tim Hartman Jr., Adam White, Michael White, James Hill, Anthony Tramontana, Cole Stangle, Kevin Chaffee, Payton Talbot, Justin Grosso, Greg Humlhanz, Eric McKinney, Tanner Van Doren, Samantha Muller, Charlie Tibbitts, Craig Whitmoyer, David Jenkins, Ryan Godown Jr., Tom Princiotta, Thomas Van Vorst, Dan Fleming, Grant Hilfiger, Sean Weiss, Tom Moore Jr., Bryan Brobst.
Did Not Start: Bobby Flood
Did Not Qualify: Jeff Coffey, Todd Buckwold, Ray Swinehart, Shawn McPhee, Ryan Higgs, Paul Mancini, Steve Lary, Steve Kemery, Kevin Borden, Vinnie Troia, John Stevenson, Rocky Whitley, Garrett Given, Jordan Long, Ted Reynolds, Greg Nailor, Sean Metz.
Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Car Feature Finish (12 laps): ANDY CASSEL, Jamie Eicholz, Jeff Paulsen, Charlie Moore, David Tucker I (Sportsman Winner), Harold Sylvester, Roscoe Clough, David Schamp, Art Workman, Don Davidson, Terry Chaney, David Tucker II, Glenn Lyon, Jamie Schirmer.
Delaware Super Truck Feature Finish (12 laps): DALE ELLIOTT, Jerry Hill, Clay Vincent, Kirk Miles Sr., Ronnie Holloway, Kirk Miles Jr., J.R. Bergman, Zach Phillips, Trent Marine, Dick Beauchamp, Danny DiGrazio, Bill Dean, Ryan Efford.
Delmarva Charger Feature Finish (12 laps): CHRIS ‘TIPPY’ MARTINEZ, Ashley Merritt, Chris Carroll, Tommy Weese, Paul Gary, Brandon Riefler, Joe Waters, Chris Myers, Randy Merritt.