GEORGETOWN, DE – Anthony Perrego scored the first victory of the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled by VP Velocita South Region season at the Melvin L. Joseph Memorial for the grand re-opening of Georgetown Speedway.
The triumph was Perrego’s second career STSS victory – he captured the ‘Battle of the Bullring 2’ at New York’s Accord Speedway on August 6, 2014 – and it was worth $5,229 including lap money and bonuses.
The first Georgetown event under the BD Motorsports Media LLC management drew an enthusiastic, capacity crowd. The pit area was filled with 123 race cars.
“I am really happy,” Perrego said with a smile in front of a jam-packed grandstand. “This is my first real big-block win on the road. This is awesome.”
After winning his heat race despite starting ninth, Perrego redrew the number eight starting spot for the 49-lap feature event and slowly began moving through the field.
At the drop of the green it was Andy Bachetti jumping out to the early lead over STSS Velocita South Region defending champion Ryan Watt, H.J. Bunting and Jeff Strunk. Perrego raced into fifth by lap four.
The man on the move, though, was Jeff Strunk aboard the Glenn Hyneman-owned No. 126 machine.
As Bachetti held a substantial advantage, it was Strunk passing one car after another. He started sixth, and by lap six he was passed Bunting for third.
Bachetti neared lapped traffic on lap seven as Strunk continued his assault passing Watt for the runner-up position and quickly closing on the leader. Strunk would assume the lead on lap 15 just before the caution flag was unfurled for the first time on lap 16.
Strunk raced ahead while heavy hand-to-hand combat raged on behind him involving Bunting, Bachetti, Jamie Mills and Perrego. It was Bachetti who emerged in second, and was able to keep the same distance as Strunk approached lapped traffic on lap 25.
“I had a great car,” Bachetti announced. “It just went a little downhill after lap 10, and I just had to stick around.”
After a series of cautions on lap 30, with one of them eliminating Bunting from contention, Strunk was back in front. Perrego battled for second with Mills and Bachetti, and finally took the position on the next lap.
Enter David Van Horn.
Van Horn, the winner of last year’s STSS race at the neighboring Delaware International Speedway (Delmar, Del.), clicked into the top five from his 17th starting position with just less than 10 laps to go.
“I came from deep, and had a really great car to do it in,” Van Horn said. “I have a brand new Teo car, and a new shock program, and it all worked tonight.”
Van Horn advanced to third by lap 35 as Perrego tried to chase down Strunk. The Boyertown, Pa. driver maintained his lead, as he approached 10 to go.
Disaster struck soon after.
While crossing the finish line for 10 to go, Strunk was slowed and forced to pull off with a broken axle ending his night and quest for his first STSS victory.
His misfortune shifted the lead to Perrego, who jumped ahead at the next green flag.
“It was sad for him (Strunk) to break, but we’ll still take it,” Perrego said.
Behind the Montgomery, N.Y. driver, Van Horn, Bachetti and Ryan Godown scrambled down the backstretch three-wide for position number two.
Another caution would fly two laps later. On the next restart Mills was caught sideways and melee ensued involving Mills, Billy Pauch Jr., who was racing in the top ten all night, and a host of others.
Perrego stayed steady, though, and guided his New York Truck Parts No. 55 to the victory.
Harmony, N.J.’s Van Horn notched a second-place finish to start his quest for the Velocita South Region championship after being so close last season.
Bachetti took third back to Sheffield, Mass., and was in contention throughout the event.
Godown, of Ringoes, N.J., finished fourth from 11th on the starting grid. He was still riding in seventh on lap 30, but roared through, and even battled for second on multiple occasions.
Milford, Del.’s Jordan Watson rounded out the top-five at the same track where he captured STSS glory last season at the ‘Blast at the Beach 2.’ Watson recovered from a mid-race spin in turn four to rally late for a fifth-place finish.
Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were Craig Von Dohren, of Oley, Pa. in the Dick Biever-owned No. 14s; Matt Sheppard, of Waterloo, N.Y., from the 20th starting spot; Stewart Friesen, of Sprakers, N.Y., who also came from the deep in the field, starting 19th; the night’s $249 Hard Charger Brett Kressley, of Orefield, Pa., who moved from 30th to ninth in the event; and 22nd-starter Rick Laubach of Hellertown, Pa.
Forty-three drivers from six different states made the trek to Georgetown, Del. for the season-opening event.
Garden State invader Brandon Grosso pocketed a $1,000 payday in the 20-lap Crate 602 Sportsman main. The Montgomery, N.J., teenager took over the lead during the race’s first half from Dylan Betts and survived a slew of late-race restarts for the victory. Grosso plans to compete in many of the special events to be run at Georgetown this season.
Brett Ballard, another New Jersey invader, drove forward from 20th to finish second, with Frank Holmes, Westley Smith and Carson Wright completing the front five.
Melvin Joseph Jr. upheld the family name by winning the 12-lap Little Lincoln feature in convincing fashion. Joseph was honored during Victory Lane ceremonies to earn a checkered flag in the event carrying his father’s name. Joseph held off Bunky White and Bryan Tracy for the win.
Dwayne Heck topped the 12-lap Southern Delaware Vintage main event while Josh Smith, who crossed the line third, was recognized as the Sportsman winner.
The Delmarva Charger and Delaware Super Truck events both went down-to-the-wire. In the Super Truck 12-lap main, Robert Reed led a pack of five trucks across the line for a $200 payday. Jeff Carey, meanwhile, bested Bud Sipple at the stripe for the Delmarva Charger $200 checkered.
Racing resumes at Georgetown on Friday, March 25 with the Deron Rust Memorial for small-block Modifieds paying $3,396 to win and $396 to take the green for 33 laps. Also on the card: Crate 602 Sportsman ($600 to win, $100 to start), Southern Delaware Vintage Racing Club, Delmarva Chargers and Delaware Super Trucks.
Complete race information is on the web at: http://www.thegeorgetownspeedway.com/?page_id=120
The STSS Velocita South Region returns to action on Sunday, April 17 at Bridgeport Speedway in Bridgeport, N.J. The ‘South Jersey Shootout’ is a 40-lap, $5,000-to-win event offering $1,000 for 10th and $400 to take the green flag. Also on the card: Sportsman, Outlaw Stocks and XCel 600 Modifieds racing on the inner quarter-mile. XCel 600 Modifieds will compete for $1,000 to win.
MELVIN L. JOSEPH MEMORIAL RACE SUMMARY – GEORGETOWN SPEEDWAY MARCH 12, 2016
Bob Hilbert Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP Velocita South Region Modified Event. No. 1 Feature Finish (49 laps): ANTHONY PERREGO, David Van Horn Jr., Andy Bachetti, Ryan Godown, Jordan Watson, Craig Von Dohren, Matt Sheppard, Stewart Friesen, Brett Kressley, Rick Laubach, Ryan Watt, Billy Pauch Jr., Shawn Ward, Brad Trice, Danny Creeden, Mike Franz, Jamie Mills, Jimmy Horton, Michael Barone, Billy Pauch, Jeff Strunk, Doug Manmiller, Duane Howard, H.J. Bunting III, Richie Pratt Jr., Corey Anderson, Matt Hawkins, Kevin Sockriter, Craig Hanson, Neal Williams.
Did Not Qualify: Brian Malcolm, Kevin Gardner, Norman Short, Ryan Krachun, Howard O’Neal, Matt Jester, Eric Vent, Clay Tatman, Kyle Merkel, Steve Davis, Kevin Hirthler, Beau Wilkins, Scott Van Gorder.
Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (20 laps): BRANDON GROSSO, Brett Ballard, Frank Holmes, Westley Smith, Carson Wright, Connor King, Matt Stangle, Dwayne Crockett, Shayne Spoonhower, Michael Horton, Dillon Steuer, Trent Van Vorst, Dylan Betts, Brian Hitz, Daniel Hudson, Adam White, Nick Alberts, Scott Hitchens, David Jenkins, Trey Hicks, Kevin Sockriter, Jordn Justice, Matt Smith, Devin Dodson.
Did Not Qualify: Jason Rush, Aaron Wright, Joseph Tracy, Garrie Bostwick, Jeremy Harrington, Trevor Collins, Freddy Massey.
Delmarva Charger Feature Finish (12 laps): JEFF CAREY, Bud Sipple, Derek Swafford, Jay Sipple, Jerry Barker, Scott Calhoun, Ashley Merritt, Tanner Marvel, Ethan Brasure, Charles Hudson, Cheri LaClair, Randy Merritt, Joe Waters, Emory Wright, Brett Sellers.
Delaware Super Truck Feature Finish (12 laps): ROBERT REED, Billy Cooper, Robert Smith, Mattie Long, Brian Meisenholder, David Smith, Dale Elliott, Matthew Smith, Noah Vincent, Action Jackson, Kirk Miles, Karla Klink, Mike Lewis, Robert Paczowski, Rocky Whitley, Shannon Lewis.
Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Car Club Feature Finish (12 laps): DWAYNE HECK, C.J. Schirmer, Josh Smith, Mark Williams, Dave Schamp, Dave Parsons, Dave Davison, Hot Dog & Mustard, John Burton, Vic Thomas, Todd Miller.
Little Lincoln Feature Finish (12 laps): MELVIN JOSEPH JR., Bunky White, Bryan Tracy, Kirk Lawson, Tom Elliott, Landy Adams, Kerry King.
-Short Track Super Series Press Release
-Photo Credit Short Track Super Series