Duane Howard & Josh Weller Lead Georgetown Speedway Friday Night ‘September Showdown’ Victors; 124 Race Cars Fill Pit Area
Story By: Brett Deyo/Georgetown Speedway
Photos By: Pete MacDonald/RacersGuide.com
GEORGETOWN, DE – With a jam-packed grandstand looking on, Duane Howard (Sunoco Modified) and Josh Weller (Capitol Renegade United Racing Club) headlined Friday night’s ‘September Showdown’ winners at Georgetown Speedway.
Oley, Pa.’s Howard took home $3,000 for his second big-block/small-block Modified triumph of the season in the 30-lap event, while Weller annexed the URC Sprint Car event, run as a 27-lap feature in honor of Sprint Car legend Greg Hodnett, who lost his life in an accident Thursday night in Central Pennsylvania.
The Georgetown Speedway pit area was packed to overflow with a new Friday record of 124 race cars on hand.
Howard, driving Norm Hansell’s No. 357, started from the pole via a redraw of top qualifiers. But it was far from a green-to-checkered romp for the veteran driver.
During the race’s first half, Howard was pressured heavily by Billy Pauch Jr., making his first start in Rick Holsten’s No. 96 open small-block, and Craig Von Dohren aboard the Dick Biever-owned No. 14s.
An intense three-car battle raged as David Van Horn, who started eighth, closed in from fourth and the leaders encountered lapped traffic.
At lap 13, Pauch Jr. found the high line to his liking, as he swept past Howard to take the lead at the line. His time out front was short-lived when Howard battled back on the bottom.
Entering turn three, the race’s complexion changed on lap 14.
A lapped car got sideways and collected both Pauch Jr. and Von Dohren, ending their runs.
Howard now led Van Horn, who was working the speedway’s inner groove with Fred Vahlsing’s No. 323ov.
Through a series of restarts in the final dozen circuits, Van Horn pressured Howard heavily, but couldn’t complete the pass.
Howard kept his wave of momentum rolling after a $25,000-plus victory six days earlier in the Freedom 76 at Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville, Pa.
“I can’t say enough about this team,” Howard said afterward. “We’re on a roll right now. I want to ride the wave as long as we can.”
Van Horn, of Harmony, N.J., earned a $2,000 runner-up finish, continuing his strong performances at the half-mile oval this season.
Brandon Grosso of Montgomery, N.J., rode the rim to a strong third-place finish after starting in 10th position. Grosso made a run at the leaders in the final laps.
After starting 23rd and suffering an early race flat tire, Ryan Krachun of Branchville, N.J., rallied for a Georgetown-best fourth-place finish. Milford, Del.’s H.J. Bunting III started 21st and completed the front five as the highest-finishing First State driver. Bunting ran as high as third in the Jake Marine-owned No. 85 before showing smoke during the final two circuits.
Heat winners were Grosso, Howard and Danny Bouc. Bunting topped the consolation.
Mertztown, Pa.’s Weller entered the night with a single-point edge in the URC Sprint Car point championship battle. After 27 laps, he extended that advantage over rival Curt Michael by winning the main event.
Weller started fifth on the field and moved quickly into third by lap six. On lap eight, he moved into second. One lap later, he utilized a double-file restart to sweep by pole starter Justin Barger to the lead.
Once out front, Weller darted through lapped traffic with relative ease for the win.
In Victory Lane, Weller dedicated the win to Hodnett and his family and friends.
Montrose, N.Y., native Barger made his Georgetown debut a strong one, finishing second, followed by J.J. Grasso, Adam Carberry and Modified star Ryan Watt, who was making his first-ever Sprint Car start in the Tim Hogue-owned No. 39.
Delaware star Curt Michael blew a right-rear tire on lap seven and quietly worked back to seventh in the Bill Gallagher-owned No. 5G.
URC heats went to Michael and Adam Carberry.
In a 20-lap L&J Sheet Metal Crate 602 Sportsman thriller, Dagsboro, Del.’s Scott Hitchens held off invader Joe Toth to take a $1,000 top prize.
Toth, a standout driver at New Egypt (N.J.) Speedway, launched from the pole and led Hitchens past the halfway point. As Toth ran the cushion, Hitchens worked the inside lane, ultimately completing the pass.
It was far from over, however.
In the final two laps, Hitchens slowed his pace in traffic. Toth wound his car up and made a hard charge, falling less than a car-length shy of the win.
Following Hitchens and Toth across the line were Greg Humlhanz, Steve Kemery and teenager Alex Yankowski.
Ryan Macartney, Kemery and Brad Roberts won the heat races.
Georgetown’s own Ross Robinson continued his dominance of the Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Car Club 12-lap main event driving the Mark ‘Coot’ Williams-owned No. 26. Robinson cleared Freddy Brightbill in the early laps and powered away from the field.
Robert Paczkowski finished second, followed by Sportsman winner L.J. Walbert, Jamie Eicholz and David Parsons.
The 12-lap Little Lincoln main event came down to the wire. Joe Tracy narrowly fended off Jordan Herbert in a drag race to starter Warren Alston’s checkered flag. Wayne Seaton, Kirk Lawson (recovering from a skirmish with the frontstretch wall) and Ryan Walsen trailed.
Jerry Hill dominated the 12-lap Delaware Super Truck feature event in a main event that went green-to-checkered without a yellow flag. Robert Smith surged forward for second with Matt Esham, David Smith and Dale Elliott in tow.
Like their Super Truck counterparts, the Delmarva Chargers ran their 12-lap feature without a caution. Jerry Barker got out front and cruised to the victory. Ashley Merritt, Chris ‘Tippy’ Martinez, Robert Paczkowski and Joe Waters.
SHOWDOWN SHORTS: The 124-car turnout included by 32 Sunoco Modifieds, 27 L&J Sheet Metal Crate 602 Sportsman, 18 URC 360 Sprint Cars, 12 Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Cars, 10 Little Lincolns, 16 Delaware Super Trucks and nine Delmarva Chargers….
Rough outing for Danny Bouc who won the third Sunoco Modified heat convincingly and was collected twice in opening lap skirmishes, the second of which caused his Craig and Leslie Pondish-owned No. 6 to overturn….
The URC Sprint Car teams sported ‘Hodnett’ on their wing in memory of the Sprint Car legend….
Ad-Art Sign Company of Georgetown sponsored a $250 Hard Charger Award for the URC event won by Christopher Allen, who started 18th and finished ninth in the 27-lap main….
Track conditions were racy and tacky for the entire night’s racing. The large amount of cars led to a 7:45 p.m. start time. The whole program, however, was completed in two hours and 57 minutes….
Due to the record participation, speedway management opted to start all 27 L&J Sheet Metal Crate 602 Sportsman and an increased field of 26 Modifieds….
Georgetown Speedway is now silent until Friday-Saturday October 26-27 with the Mid-Atlantic Championship Weekend. A huge menu of stock car racing will be offered including Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Modifieds ($5,000-to-win championship event), Super Late Models ($5,000 to win), Small-Block Modifieds ($3,000 to win), STSS Crate 602 Sportsman ($1,000-to-win championship event), RUSH Late Models ($1,000 to win) Mid-Atlantic Sprint Series 305 Sprints, Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Cars, Little Lincolns, Delmarva Chargers and Delaware Super Trucks.
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).
‘SEPTEMBER SHOWDOWN’ RACE SUMMARY – GEORGETOWN SPEEDWAY SEPTEMBER 21, 2018
Sunoco Modified Feature Finish (30 laps): DUANE HOWARD, David Van Horn, Brandon Grosso, Ryan Krachun, H.J. Bunting, Kevin Sockriter, Ryan Watt, Jeff Strunk, Jordn Justice, Brad Trice, Robert Dutton, Dave Shirk, Neal Williams, Carson Wright, Jim Britt, Billy Pauch Jr., Craig Von Dohren, Jamie Mills, Jeremy Harrington, Scott Van Gorder, Jimmy Horton, Jordan Watson, Ryan Godown, Joseph Watson, Danny Bouc, Amanda Whaley.
Did Not Qualify: Ron Roberts, Brian Hitz, Brad Roberts, Bobby Watkins, Brandon Watkins, Kevin Gardner.
Capitol Renegade United Racing Club Feature Finish (27 laps): JOSH WELLER, Justin Barger, J.J. Grasso, Adam Carberry, Ryan Watt, Eddie Strada, Curt Michael, Troy Betts, Chris Allen, Steve Downs, Ryan Quackenbush, Mark Van Vorst, Mark Sasso, Jason Cherry, Jonathan Swanson, Ryan Stillwagon, Bill Unglert, David Swanson.
L&J Sheet Metal Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (20 laps): SCOTT HITCHENS, Joe Toth, Greg Humlhanz, Steve Kemery, Alex Yankowski, Matt Smith, Adam White, Jordan Long, Rodney Cordrey, Corey Cormier, Dwayne Crockett, Trent Van Vorst, Sean Metz, Tom Moore Jr., Ryan Macartney, Duane Rust, Tanner Marvel, Michael White, Jeff Marker, John Stevenson, Tyler White, Paul Griffin Jr., Ricky Schafer, Shawn Ward, Brad Roberts, David Jenkins, Ryan Riddle.
Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Car Club Feature Finish (12 laps): ROSS ROBINSON, Robert Paczkowski, L.J. Walbert (Sportsman winner), Jamie Eicholz, David Parsons, David Tucker II, Robert Blann, Josh Burton, David Schamp, Don Davidson, Josh Smith, Freddie Brightbill.
Little Lincoln Feature Finish (12 laps): JOE TRACY, Jordan Herbert, Wayne Seaton, Kirk Lawson, Ryan Walsen, Brian Piercy, Matt White, Sean Smith, Bunky White, T.J. Henry.
Delaware Super Truck Feature Finish (12 laps): JERRY HILL, Robert Smith, Matt Esham, David Smith, Dale Elliott, Mike Kennedy, Kirk Miles Jr., Bobby Reid, Rocky Whitley, Kirk Miles Sr., Dick Beauchamp, Thomas Jackson, Bill Dean, Tony Bowers, Parks Abrams, George Shupp.
Delmarva Charger Feature Finish (12 laps): JERRY BARKER, Ashley Merritt, Chris Martinez, Robert Paczkowski, Joe Waters, John Bailey, Randy Merritt, Derek Swafford, Joe Morell.