Watson Rules STSS Finale, Sheppard Banks Big Bonus


GEORGETOWN, Del. – On the final night of the Georgetown Speedway season, the hometown kid, Jordan Watson, won his second Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Modified feature event.

Watson survived the war of attrition in the 40-lap Velocita-USA presented Design for Vision/Sunglass Central South Region finale for the Short Track Super Series on Saturday. Watson took home the $5,000 Mid-Atlantic Championship victory, and after posting the $100 Stockley Materials Gambler’s Fee at the beginning of the night, added $2,000 to his winning total.

The two-day event brought 231 race cars through the Georgetown Speedway gates.

After a back-and-forth night for Watson, he took advantage of the misfortune of multiple drivers in front of him to take starter Joe Kriss’ Sunoco checkered flags. Watson earned a total of $7,400 including Taylor & Messick lap money for his efforts in the Brent Hall No. 18.

Watson had previously won the STSS-sanctioned Blast at the Beach at Georgetown Speedway in 2015.

Keystone State drivers Craig Von Dohren of Oley and Mike Gular of Boyertown led a 26-car L&J Sheet Metal Modified starting field to the green flag.

Von Dohren jumped out the lead in his Dick Biever-owned No. 14s, while Gular struggled in the early going. Larry Wight quickly slipped by Gular to take the runner up spot on lap six.

After a couple of yellow flags, Stewart Friesen was the man to watch, going from his seventh starting position into the top-three behind Von Dohren and Wight before a lap-14 yellow.

On the ensuing restart, Friday night’s small-block winner, Billy Pauch Jr., went from sixth to third with a bold move, before relinquishing the third running spot back to Friesen.

At the lap 20, halfway point, the race flipped upside down in the blink of an eye. Pauch’s Rick Holsten No. 96 motor went up in smoke, ending his night.

After a couple attempts the restart, the last one would change the race. Larry Wight and Craig Von Dohren made slight contact, causing both cars to have terminal rear end damage.

At the blink of an eye, Friesen had inherited the lead, and Watson pulled up alongside. Friesen chose the inside lane on the next restart, and Watson took advantage.

Watson would take the lead and began to pull away until the leaders caught lap traffic. Friesen reeled in Watson and made the pass with six laps to go.

It appeared Friesen was on his way to his second Georgetown win of the year, but coming to the two-to-go sign, Friesen came up lame, a result of running out of fuel.

Watson would lead the final two laps and defend the home turf.

“I grew up in the grandstands here and at Delmar… this one means a lot to us,” and elated Watson said in victory lane.

Matt Sheppard needed only to take the green to secure the south region STSS title. After qualifying through the consi, Sheppard would bring his Hurlock Auto & Speed No. 9s home in seventh and $57,500 richer, winning the Insinger Performance Grand Championship consisting of the STSS North and South Region along with the American Racer Cup.

Despite an ill-handling racecar, Mike Gular brought the Terry Fasnacht No. 2A to a runner up finish. Rick Laubach came to life in the late stages of the race, bringing the Ryan Kerr-owned No. 1K home third. Brandon Grosso used the outside to go from sixth to fourth on the last lap and grab a fourth-place finish. Jeff Strunk had another quiet night that resulted in a solid fifth-place finish.

In other action, Ross Robinson won his first Sunoco Super Late Model feature of the year at Georgetown in Saturday’s 40-lap event. Robinson, like Watson, posted the $100 JD Shuckers Georgetown Gambler’s Fee and turned $5,000 into $7,000 for the win.

Scott Hitchens won his 20th career Chesapeake Paving/J.W. Brown Trucking Crate 602 Sportsman feature at Georgetown. After battling for much of the first 10 laps with Brad Trice, Hitchens would ultimately make the pass and take the win, worth $1,500.

The Delaware Auto Exchange Mid-Atlantic Sprint Series (MASS) were at Georgetown for their lone appearance of 2019. Jeff Geiges led all 20 laps to grab his fourth win of the season. Andy Best climbed through the field for a runner up finish.

Sean Smith won a wild Little Lincoln feature for his first victory of 2019. The top five came to the line nose-to-tail in a thrilling ending. Smith made a last-lap pass to take the win. Danny Martin would hold on for second.

The Delmarva Chargers were back for the second night on Mid-Atlantic Championship weekend. This time, it was Brandon Reifler going wire-to-wire to from the front row to grab the 12-lap victory. Ashley Merritt followed Friday night’s win with a runner up on Saturday night. Jarrett Chandler rounded out the top three.

The Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Car Club saw Andy Cassel grab his first win of the season. Cassel was able to unseat Freddie Brightbill and C.J. Schirmer, who had been the two dominant cars all season. Brightbill and Schirmer would round out the top three in the 18-car field.

The finish:

Jordan Watson, Mike Gular, Rick Laubach, Brandon Grosso, Jeff Strunk, David Van Horn, Matt Sheppard, Ryan Watt, Richie Pratt Jr., Stewart Friesen, Erick Rudolph, Jimmy Horton, Andy Bachetti, Kevin Sockriter, Brad Trice, Ron Roberts Jr., H.J. Bunting, Ryan Riddle, Matt Stangle, Craig Von Dohren, Larry Wight, Billy Pauch Jr., Danny Bouc, Shawn Ward, Duane Howard, Ryan Krachun.