GEORGETOWN, DE – Jordan Watson put his name in the limelight with a career-defining victory on Tuesday night at Georgetown Speedway.
The Milford, Del., driver thrilled his hometown crowd by winning the second annual ‘Blast at the Beach’ at the historic half-mile track. Watson pocketed $5,280 cash for his efforts in the 35-lap Short Track Super Series Fueled By Hi-Tek big-block/small-block Modified main event. Sponsorship support for the program came via Taylor & Messick, Hurlock Auto & Speed Supply, Shore Water Refining and American Portable Mini Storage.
Boyertown, Pa.’s Ryan Watt, meanwhile, made history as the first-ever STSS Pioneer Pole Buildings Inc. South Region presented by Scotty’s Speed & Diesel champion. Watt, who finished fourth in the event, will pocket $7,500 in point fund money for the five-race series at the December 5 Awards Banquet.
A huge crowd took in the special event co-promoted by Brett Deyo of BD Motorsports Media LLC and driver/racing businessman Eric Kormann.
By virtue of a redraw, Watson’s Will Brown-owned No. 1W rolled off the starting grid in fifth position. Jamie Mills, meanwhile, charged from third to the lead in the early going of the main, sweeping past pole starter Neal Williams. Mills, of Milford, Del., appeared to have the car to beat in the race’s first third before abruptly exiting the speedway with mechanical issues on the sixth lap.
Mills’ misfortune handed the lead back to Williams, the Pittsgrove, N.J., pilot of Fred Vahlsing’s No. 323OV. Watson moved in to contend from second position.
The championship battle had its own drama unfolding. David Van Horn Jr., who entered the night as the STSS point leader, showed signs of smoke and slowed. Other title contenders encountered their own issues including Mills, Craig Von Dohren with a broken axle and an overheating Billy Pauch Jr., who powered from 20th to run inside the top-four.
Watson pressured Williams, gaining and losing ground lap after lap. However, Williams had his own troubles developing. His car began to ‘break’ up down the straightaways with 10 laps to go.
Watson ultimately cleared Williams for the lead on lap 27 as Williams’ car dropped off the pace. He led the remainder of the distance for the most prolific victory of his career.
“Wow!” exclaimed Watson, who received a thunderous ovation from the partisan crowd. “I kept gaining on the 323 (Williams) and I could see he was starting to slow down. I was trying to be careful not to get caught behind him and get run over. I knew I needed to go.”
For Watson, now a Bridgeport (N.J.) Speedway regular, the triumph turned the corner on an up-and-down ’15 season.
“This feels good – to win a race like this with such an awesome field,” Watson said. “The whole year has been a struggle for us, which makes it that much sweeter.”
Howard O’Neal of Lincoln, Del., authored a spectacular drive from 10th starting position to finish second, earning well over $3,000 for his efforts in the family fielded No. 09.
Jimmy Horton of Neshanic Station, N.J., drove from 15th on the grid to complete the podium in third, at the controls of his father, Jim’s, No. 43. Horton and Watt spent the final 15 laps racing side-by-side and swapping the third position back-and-forth. Watt’s fourth-place result was enough to clinch the STSS South Region crown and Andy Bachetti of Sheffield, Mass., earned a fifth-place finish in his Georgetown debut after starting seventh.
Completing the top-10 finishers were Anthony Perrego of Montgomery, N.Y., racing for the first time at Georgetown and earning $200 as the top small-block across the line; Joseph ‘Jo Jo’ Watson of Milford, Del., up from 13th starting spot in a second Mills family car; H.J. Bunting III of Milford, Del., who started 22nd in the Jake Marine No. 85; Dominick Buffalino of Morganville, N.J., in the Pat Michael No. 51M; and Rick Laubach of Hellertown, Pa., whose Gary Spotts-owned No. 91 was sidelined with engine issues after hot laps and picked up the ride in Brian Kressley’s No. 19B. Laubach started 21st.
Will Brown’s Truck Repair of Cambridge, Md., heat winners, pocketing $100 each, were O’Neal, Watson, Mills and Bachetti. Laubach and Bunting split the consolations.
Jeremy Harrington of Milford, Del., won the biggest race of his career, topping the 25-lap Crate 602 Sportsman headliner and earning $1,000 cash. Harrington started seventh and avoided a multi-car crash on a restart that collected a number of the top-running cars. Harrington then held off Joseph Tracy during the final stages of the main. Tracy, a rim-riding Scott Hitchens, Carson Wright and Brett Ballard completed the front five.
Robert Smith put his name in the win column as the 15-lap Super Truck victor and Ryan Riddle was the 15-lap Delmarva Charger winner.
The Georgetown event concluded the STSS South Region for 2015. The point fund will be distributed Saturday, December 5 at the Awards Banquet to be held at the Holiday Inn Lehigh Valley Conference Center in Breinigsville, Pa. Banquet order forms will be posted on the STSS website in the near future.
The next STSS Bob Hilbert Sportswear North Region event is planned for Sunday, Sept. 13 at Thunder Mountain Speedway in Center Lisle, N.Y., with the MjH Oilfield Wade Decker Memorial paying $5,000 to win, $1,000 for 10th and $400 to take the green. Also in action: Crate 602 Sportsman under the GRIT Series banner, XCel 600 Modifieds and Street Stocks.
To learn more about the Short Track Super Series or BD Motorsports Media LLC, visit www.bdmotorsportsmedia.com, www.shorttracksuperseries.com or call 845.728.2781 or e-mail [email protected] “Like” Short Track Super Series on Facebook or follow @ShortTrackSS on Twitter.
-BD Motorsports Media Press Release. Photo credit: Rick Sweeter