Tire Change Lifts Godown At Bridgeport

Ryan Godon (88) leads Rick Laubach Saturday night at Bridgeport (N.J.) Speedway. (Dave Dalesandro photo)
Ryan Godon (88) leads Rick Laubach Saturday night at Bridgeport (N.J.) Speedway. (Dave Dalesandro photo)

BRIDGEPORT, N.J. — Ryan Godown “tired” the Bridgeport Speedway modified field on Saturday.

Godown, who suffered a right-rear flat tire on lap 47 while running in a second place, pitted for fresh rubber and charged through the field to earn the victory in ‘Hand One’ of the Poker Series at the South Jersey clay oval.

The event doubled as the inaugural South Region Race of Champions Dirt Modified Tour visit to Bridgeport.

The Doug and Gena Hoffman era of Bridgeport promotion got underway on a damp and cool Saturday. Morning showers ended shortly after noon and a large crowd turned out for the 41st annual Season Opener. The track’s regular season kicks off Saturday (April 7). Drivers praised the smooth and racy track conditions in place for Saturday’s event and the Friday open practice session.

The Ringoes, N.J., driver earned $4,000 plus lap money in the 60-lap event driving for Rick Clay, who earned his first-ever victory as a car owner.

“That was crazy,” admitted Godown. “Never in a million years did I think it would work out that way.”

Rising star Larry Wight of Phoenix, N.Y., dominated much of the event. Wight raced from third to the lead on the opening circuit and paced the first 51 laps, collecting nearly $1,000 in bonus lap money.

Godown inherited second when Wight’s teammate, Billy Decker, dropped off the pace on lap 26 while pursuing the leader. However, Godown slowed with the aforementioned flat tire to draw the yellow with 13 laps remaining.

Restarting from the back of the field, Godown found the extreme outside lane of the five-eighths-mile clay oval to his liking in turns one and two. Passing cars with ease, Godown had climbed back to second place by the 50-lap mark.

A caution on lap 51 put Godown on the back bumper of race leader Wight. Moments after the green was unfurled, the ‘Ringoes Rocket’ swept by Wight and took a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.

Wight’s run ended with four laps remaining when his right-rear tire went down. Sussex, N.J., star Brett Hearn, who had charged forward from 19th, held second momentarily until his Madsen Motorsports No. 20 suffered the same fate on the final lap.

Rick Laubach of Quakertown, Pa., who started seventh, completed the entire distance without changing right-rear tires and finished second driving the Gary and Lori Herrmann No. 7, followed by 2011 Bridgeport champion Ryan Watt.

Brett Kressley won the sportsman feature.

The finish:

Ryan Godown, Rick Laubach, Ryan Watt, Craig VonDohren, Jimmy Horton, Duane Howard, Brett Harn, Eric Kormann, Larry Wight, Doug Manmiller, Wade Hendrickson, Stewart Friesen, Mike Barone, Pat Ward, Sammy Piazza, Jimmy Blewett, Kevin Hirthler, Brian Kressley, Neal Williams, Jimmy Phelps, Mike Iles, Matt Harrell, Billy Decker, Richie Pratt Jr., Danny Johnson.

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