GEORGETOWN, DE – Afternoon rain, brutal wind and cold didn’t deter Thursday night’s ‘Battle of the Bay’ program at Georgetown Speedway.
And both Stewart Friesen and Ross Robinson were thankful.
Friesen, of Sprakers, N.Y., annexed the Sunoco Modified 30-lap main event while Georgetown, Del.’s own Robinson bested a strong field of RUSH Late Models during the division’s inaugural tour event at the Sussex County half-mile.
A dramatic shift in weather saw off-and-on rain throughout the day followed by high winds and frigid temperatures. Georgetown Speedway management opted to press on with the night’s program and pushed the event through rapidly.
Friesen pocketed a huge $6,111 payday for his Sunoco Modified winning effort aboard the Halmar International No. 44.
“Six grand for 30 laps is awesome,” offered Friesen after earning his fourth career Georgetown victory. “It’s great money to run for.”
Friesen started the event from seventh. Out front, Jordan Watson fired off the outside pole to set the pace. Three-wide racing through the field was prevalent early on as Friesen made a run toward the front.
On lap seven, Watson’s No. 1J drifted wide in turns three and four, allowing Friesen to take over the top spot.
Meanwhile, Craig Von Dohren was making his own spirited drive from 16th on the grid in Dick Biever’s No. 14s.
Von Dohren burst into second on the 12th lap, setting up an epic battle for the lead.
CVD used the extreme outside lane to not only catch Friesen – but pull even with him on the exit of turn two on lap 21. Friesen repelled the advance and Von Dohren swapped lanes looking to the inside.
On lap 23, Von Dohren slipped off the top of turn three and ninth-starter Ryan Watt moved into second. Watt, too, reeled in Friesen before a final yellow slowed the event on lap 26.
Friesen fired off the double-file restart and cruised to the victory.
The 34-year-old driver’s $6,111 payday included a base purse of $3,000 plus an additional $1,000 presented by Taylor & Messick and $2,000 from Stockley Materials for taking the ‘Roll the Dice Challenge’ and posting a $50 “Gambler’s Fee” pre-race.
Bill Lawson presented Friesen with $111 for leading lap 11 in memory of his son, Opie Lawson.
Boyertown, Pa.’s Watt finished a solid second in the Ron Roberts-owned No. 14W, followed by Von Dohren, of Oley, Pa., who settled for third. Milford, Del.’s Watson recorded a fourth-place effort and Anthony Perrego of Montgomery, N.Y., charged from 22nd to finish fifth in Brian Smith’s No. 44. Perrego was forced to qualify through the consolation after MSD issues in his heat race.
Heat winners for the 29 assembled Sunoco Modifieds were Friesen, Jamie Mills and H.J. Bunting. Neal Williams took the consolation. David Van Horn and Matt Sheppard earned redraw positions as the fastest two drivers from hot laps.
Driving the Daniel Hudson-owned No. 11D, Robinson defended his home turf against a field of 40 RUSH Late Models. Robinson pocketed $2,000 from the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Series presented by Pace Performance 30-lap main.
It was an emotional victory for Robinson, who bested his girlfriend, Amanda Whaley, and best friend, Matt Hill, in a First State podium sweep of the talented field.
“It means a lot to win here at home,” Robinson, who lives just miles from the speedway, said. “I’ve got to thank Daniel (Hudson) for letting me run his car in these races.”
Robinson started outside pole and took over a lead he wouldn’t relinquish at the start of the main. Heavy lapped traffic in the race’s final third allowed Whaley to close from roughly a straightaway back when the checkered flew.
Millsboro, Del.’s Whaley continued her RUSH Late Model success at Georgetown by placing runner-up. She won the Season Opener weekly series event on March 16 to kick off the season.
Hill, of Georgetown, Del., finished a solid third with Max Blair of Centreville, Pa., in fourth and Logan Roberson of Waynesboro, Va., completed the front five.
Jason Knowles set fast time for the 40-car field at 19.956 seconds. Heat winners were Knowles, Robinson, Blair and Whaley. Christian Schneider and Cody Dawson won the B-Mains and Matt Glanden topped the Non-Qualifiers Race.
In another down-to-the-wire Delaware Super Truck feature, David Smith edged Jerry Hill at the line to win the 12-lap event over Noah Vincent, Dale Elliott and Mike Kennedy.
The 12-lap Delmarva Charger main went to Scott Calhoun, besting Geoff Carey in a drag race to the checkered flag. Chris Martinez, Ashley Merritt and Derek Swafford trailed.
GEORGETOWN NOTES: A forecast for sun and wind deteriorated quickly, with rain showers moving over the speedway mid-morning and again in the afternoon. Track crews worked to run in the speedway and racing started right on time…
A late-arriving, hearty crowd took in the event which featured the first-ever RUSH Dirt Late Model Series event at Georgetown….
Track conditions remained smooth and wide with passing prevalent throughout all the main events….
Racing resumes at the speedway on Friday, May 4 with the Deron Rust Memorial for the Sunoco Modifieds paying $3,396 to win for 33 laps of racing plus the RUSH Late Models, L&J Sheet Metal Crate 602 Sportsman, Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Cars, Delmarva Chargers and Delaware Super Trucks.
Due to the NASCAR activities at nearby Dover International Speedway, a later start time will be in effect.
Pit gates open at 4 p.m. Grandstand gates are unlocked at 5 p.m. Hot laps hit the track at 7 p.m., with racing at 7:45 p.m.
Adult grandstand admission is $20. Seniors (ages 65 and up) and Students (ages 13-17) pay $16. Kids (ages 9-12) pay $10. Children 8 and under are admitted FREE.
Pit admission is $35 (ages 13 and up). Kids (ages 6-12) pay $10. Children ages five 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).
BATTLE OF THE BAY RESULTS SUMMARY – GEORGETOWN SPEEDWAY APRIL 19, 2018
Sunoco Modified Feature Finish (30 laps): STEWART FRIESEN ($6,111), Ryan Watt, Craig Von Dohren, Jordan Watson, Anthony Perrego, Duane Howard, Jamie Mills, David Van Horn Jr., Frank Cozze, Billy Pauch Jr., Jim Britt, Matt Sheppard, H.J. Bunting, Dillon Steuer, Bobby Watkins, Shawn Ward, Scott Van Gorder, Robert Dutton, Joseph Watson, Neal Williams, Dale Hawkins, Matt Hawkins, Ryan Godown, Michael White, Kevin Gardner, Wade Hendrickson.
Did Not Qualify: Matt Stangle, Brandon Watkins, Ron Roberts.
RUSH Late Model Series Feature Finish (30 laps): ROSS ROBINSON ($2,000), Amanda Whaley, Matt Hill, Max Blair, Logan Roberson, Darrell Bossard, Scott Gunn, Charlie Sandercock, Jeremy Wonderling, Jason Genco, Billy Thompson, Damian Bidwell, Garret Paugh, Christian Schneider, Cody Dawson, Tyler Reed, Jason Knowles, Joey Warren, Cory Lawler, J.J. Mazur, Trevor Collins, Bruce Hordusky Jr., Brady Wonderling, Austin Hubbard, John Waters.
Did Not Qualify: Matt Glanden, Mike Wharton, Chuck Bowie, Jeff Pilkerton, Jimmy Johnson, Bill Kessler, Joe Watson, Darren Alvey, Matt Tarbox, Adam Ferri, Robert Smith, Charles Shawver, Mike Franklin, Beamer Guzzardi, Chace Biron.
Delaware Super Truck Feature Finish (12 laps): DAVID SMITH, Jerry Hill, Noah Vincent, Dale Elliott, Mike Kennedy, Dick Beauchamp, Tim Quay, Matt Esham, Thomas Jackson, Michelle Jackson, Bill Dean, Shane Clogg, Billy Lockwood.
Delmarva Charger Feature Finish (12 laps): SCOTT CALHOUN, Geoff Carey, Chris Martinez, Ashley Merritt, Derek Swafford, Robert Paczkowski, Kevin Taylor, Randy Merritt, John Bailey, Bud Sipple.