GEORGETOWN, DE – A ‘game-day’ decision led Ryan Godown to Victory Lane on Friday night at Georgetown Speedway.
When Pennsylvania’s Big Diamond Speedway canceled its program in the late morning, Godown loaded up Dieter Schmidt’s No. 5 Lincoln Auto Body car and headed south to Delaware. The Ringoes, N.J., driver made his long haul worthwhile with a $3,396 victory in the Deron Rust Memorial Sunoco big-block/small-block Modified event at the Sussex County oval.
Godown outdueled fellow Garden State driver David Van Horn Jr. in a crowd-pleasing battle throughout the 33-lap main event.
The Deron Rust Memorial is run annually to honor a former racer turned promoter and diehard supporter of racing at the Georgetown oval. Rust passed away before his time in March 2013.
Godown picked the pole for the main via a redraw of top qualifiers, but it was a high-running Joseph Watson who took the lead with the wave of Warren Alston’s green flag. Watson held command through lap four when he slid wide on a restart, allowing Godown to take command.
Fifth-starter Van Horn – in the Fred Vahlsing-owned No. 323ov – powered into second position with a three-wide, inside move shortly thereafter setting up a cat-and-mouse duel out front.
Godown found the banked high lane to his liking while Van Horn was glued to the inside groove.
As each lap clicked off the duo raced in tandem while dicing for the lead.
Past the halfway point, Van Horn picked up the pace and drew even with Godown on multiple occasions as lapped traffic came into play.
Slower cars occupying Van Horn’s preferred lane stalled his advances more than once.
A final caution on the 30th circuit set up a three-lap dash to the finish.
Godown couldn’t shake Van Horn, but held him at bay by a car-length to earn his first victory of the 2018 season.
“David might have had a little better car tonight,” Godown said. “I feel really good about this (Lincoln Auto Body) Troyer car. We’re getting a handle on this car. We were watching the weather this week and made a plan to come down here if Diamond rained out. It all ended up working out for us.”
Van Horn, of Harmony, N.J., was a disappointed runner-up after setting fast time during hot laps earlier in the night to earn his way into the redraw.
“So close,” Van Horn said. “Ever since the banking was added over the winter, this place really suits my driving style. We’ve been fast here, but I need to break through and get a win.”
Mike Gular of Boyertown, Pa., drove the Terry Fasnacht-owned No. 2A from sixth to finish a steady third. Gular showed speed on the final restart, working the high lane to challenge the lead pair.
After getting shuffled back early, Milford, Del.’s Jordan Watson rallied to finish fourth. Jeremy Smith of Triangle, N.Y., towed to Georgetown for additional track time when his home speedway – Afton (N.Y.) Motorsports Park – pushed back its opener. Smith charged forward from 14th to finish fifth.
A field of 29 Sunoco Modifieds took part in the event with heat wins going to Neal Williams, Gular and Brandon Grosso. The consolation event was scrapped.
Van Horn (19.279) and Brett Kressley (19.387) had transferred directly to the redraw by turning the quickest two laps in warm-ups.
Georgetown’s own ‘Thrill’ Matt Hill returned to the winner’s circle at his hometown track following the 20-lap RUSH Late Model main. Hill, who has battled bad luck in his starts at Georgetown in recent seasons, turned his fortunes around with a $1,000 top prize.
Hill started second and emerged from an early battle with Kerry King to take the lead. Later, Joey Warren provided a formidable challenger to Hill through a series of restarts before Hill drew away in the final laps.
Warren finished second, with Amanda Whaley advancing to third, continuing her solid efforts in RUSH action. David Pettyjohn and Billy Thompson filled out the front five.
Whaley and Hill split the RUSH Late Model qualifiers.
Brad Roberts of Newport, Del., broke into the Georgetown win column in the 20-lap L&J Sheet Metal Crate 602 Sportsman event, earning a $1,000 payday. Roberts’ first win at the Sussex County oval came in bizarre fashion.
Roberts worked through a three-wide scramble inside the race’s final laps to earn what was ultimately the lead when Jeremy Harrington was penalized to the rear of the lead lap cars for a jump of the final restart.
Roberts rolled into Victory Lane over Dwayne Crockett, who had started ninth and charged toward the front. Completing the top-five were Connor King, Stephen Kemery (with a deflating right-front tire) and Ryan Riddle.
Jason Rush and King were L&J Sheet Metal Crate 602 Sportsman heat winners.
Ross Robinson of Georgetown hopped into the ‘Coot’ Mark Williams No. 26 and won the 12-lap Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Car Club 12-lap main event. Robinson wrestled the lead away from Freddy Brightbill and was never pressed again. Oscar Fields, Andy Casselle, Charlie Moore and Sportsman winner James Brasure trailed.
Geoff Carey fell six inches short of a Delmarva Charger win in his most recent appearance at the track. He didn’t let it happen again. Carey of Georgetown thwarted the repeated advances of Chris ‘Tippy’ Martinez to take the win with Ashley Merritt in third.
From last to first, David Smith of Delmar, Del., won the 12-lap Delaware Super Truck main. Smith, after an extended side-by-side battle, cleared Shane Clogg for the top spot on the final lap with Noah Vincent, Dale Elliott and Kirk Miles Sr. in tow.
DERON RUST NOTES: The Rust family again turned out to support the event. Irene and Duane Rust donated a kids bicycle and tablet which were given away during the program. Several other incentives were distributed to racers during the special evening….
Sunoco Modified attrition was high before the main event. Billy Pauch and Ryan Watt were both eliminated in heat-race incidents, while engine issues sidelined both Danny Bouc and Matt Stangle. Watt’s night was especially trying as his hauler broke down en route to the speedway….
The pit area was extremely full with 29 Sunoco Modifieds, 16 L&J Sheet Metal Crate 602 Sportsman, 16 RUSH Late Models, 14 Southern Delaware Vintage Cars, 14 Delaware Super Trucks and nine Delmarva Chargers for a total of 98 race cars….
Despite a later scheduled start time of 7:45 p.m., the Modified main event took the green just minutes after 10 o’clock….
Keith Hoffman and Jay Baxter led track prep with the absence of longtime speedway employee Lou Johnson, who was recuperating from surgery on Monday….
Racing resumes at the speedway on June 1 with Sunoco Modifieds ($3,000 to win), L&J Sheet Metal Crate 602 Sportsman, Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Cars, Little Lincolns, Delaware Super Trucks and Delmarva Chargers.
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 4, 2018
Sunoco Modified Feature Finish (30 laps): RYAN GODOWN, David Van Horn Jr., Mike Gular, Jordan Watson, Jeremy Smith, Joseph Watson, Brandon Grosso, Brett Kressley, Jim Britt, Brad Trice, H.J. Bunting, Scott Van Gorder, Neal Williams, Jordn Justice, Kevin Gardner, Michael White, Kevin Sockriter, Blaine Bracelin, Carson Wright, Shawn Ward, Ron Roberts, Howard O’Neal, Dillon Steuer, Norman Short, Jamie Mills.
Did Not Start: Matt Stangle, Billy Pauch, Ryan Watt, Danny Bouc.
Woods General Contracting Bonuses ($100): Mike Gular (third), Jim Britt (ninth) & Joseph Watson (sixth)
Boozer Excavating Bonuses ($100): Jordan Watson (third on lap three), Michael White (ninth on lap nine), Joseph Watson (sixth on lap six)
L&J Sheet Metal Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (20 laps): BRAD ROBERTS, Dwayne Crockett, Connor King, Stephen Kemery, Ryan Riddle, Tommy Wilkins, Jon Callaway, John Stevenson, Jeremy Harrington, Jason Rush, Ricky Schafer, Scott Hitchens, Jordan Long, Duane Rust.
Did Not Start: Joe Toth, Sean Metz.
Duane & Irene Rust Bonuses ($50): Connor King (third), Jeremy Harrington (ninth) & Tommy Wilkins (sixth)
RUSH Late Model Feature Finish (20 laps): MATT HILL, Joe Warren, Amanda Whaley, David Pettyjohn, Billy Thompson, Mike Wharton, Cory Lawler, Matt Glanden, Chace Biron, Zac Weller, Robert Smith, Richard Harden, Daniel Hudson, Kerry King, Cody Dawson.
Did Not Start: Robbie Walls.
Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Car Feature Finish (12 laps): ROSS ROBINSON, Oscar Fields, Andy Casselle, Charlie Moore, James Brasure (Sportsman winner), L.J. Walbert, Jamie Schermer, Dave Schamp, Don Davidson, Freddie Brightbill, CJ Schirmer, David Tucker.
Did Not Start: Jon Burton.
Disqualified: Dave Parsons (weight infraction)
Delaware Super Truck Feature Finish (12 laps): DAVID SMITH, Shane Clogg, Noah Vincent, Dale Elliott, Kirk Miles Sr, Tim Quay, Jerry Hill, Billy Lockwood, Thomas Jackson, Dick Beauchamp, Michelle Jackson, Mike Kennedy, Kirk Miles Jr., Bill Dean.
Delmarva Charger Feature Finish (12 laps): GEOFF CAREY, Chris Martinez, Ashley Merritt, Kevin Taylor, Robert Paczkowski, Derek Swafford, Ben Knotts, Randy Merritt, John Bailey.