GEORGETOWN, Del. – Craig Von Dohren used a restart with 18 laps remaining to cruise to a season-opening victory on Friday night’s portion of the Melvin L. Joseph Memorial weekend at Georgetown Speedway.
Von Dohren jumped ahead of Billy Pauch Jr. on lap 12 and secured the lead before the caution flag waved again just two laps later in front of a packed grandstand despite a chilly evening to capture a $4,049-payday.
The pit area was jammed to capacity despite frigid temperatures with a solid crowd on hand.
“It’s really a great feeling to win right off the bat,” Von Dohren said in victory lane. “We found some things at the end of the season last year at Bridgeport, and it seemed to carry over tonight.”
Pauch led from the opening lap, pushing ahead of Jeff Strunk and Von Dohren from his outside pole starting spot. The lead trio joined in a heated scuffle, with Von Dohren and Strunk trading positions on almost every lap. The first 10 laps clicked off without a stoppage until H.J. Bunting brought out the first yellow.
The first caution led to a few more, including a nasty flip for top-five running Jamie Mills. On the restart with 11 laps in, Strunk ran off the top of the banking coming off of turn two, dropping from the runner-up spot to the tail of the field. A lap ticked off before the next yellow on lap 12, sending him outside the top 20 on the next restart.
Von Dohren jumped in front of Pauch on the ensuing restart, using the outside lane to his advantage, and when Danny Bouc sat facing the other way on lap 14, Von Dohren was in control. He led Pauch, Duane Howard, Jared Umbenhauer, Stewart Friesen, Doug Manmiller, Anthony Perrego, Mike Gular, Danny Creeden and Matt Stangle.
“I had to get there first,” Von Dohren said when asking how he took the lead. “When I finally cleared Jeff (Strunk) I was able to work on Billy a little bit.”
“I crossed him up coming off of two and had a good run heading down the backstretch on the next restart,” Von Dohren said. “I was able to slide up in front of him heading into turn three.”
The next 16 laps went out without a hitch, with Von Dohren opening his lead to over half a straightaway. Pauch held on for second, outdueling Howard in a spirited battle for the runner-up position. Howard was third, Umbenhauer took fourth and Friesen concluded the top five.
Amanda Whaley made her move into the RUSH Crate Late Model division a successful one. The Millsboro, Del., driver led the 20-lap main event from start-to-finish, bringing home a $1,049 payday to her family team. Logan Roberson chased Whaley to the finish, diving hard into turn three on the final lap in pursuit. Matt Hill, Ross Robinson and Billy Thompson completed the front five.
A wild, four-car battle for the lead resulted in Tanner Marvel winning the 12-lap Delmarva Charger main event. Marvel cleared “Tippy” Martinez on the final lap of the race. Noah Vincent took the 12-lap Delaware Super Truck headliner.
Craig Von Dohren, Billy Pauch Jr., Duane Howard, Jared Umbenhauer, Stewart Friesen, Mike Gular, Anthony Perrego, Danny Creeden, Doug Manmiller, Matt Stangle, Jeff Strunk, Roger Manning, Danny Bouc, H.J. Bunting, Jack Lehner, Brad Trice, Tyler Boniface, Danny Johnson, Ryan Godown, Mark Byram, Jamie Mills, Andy Bachetti, Carson Wright, Billy Pauch, Ryan Watt, David Van Horn, Frank Cozze, Allison Ricci, Jordn Justice.