The Super DIRTcar Series’ return to Bridgeport Speedway and southern New Jersey was touted as a DIRT guys vs. Jersey Boys battle that would pit the best that each side had to offer. Tuesday night’s “Friends of Mike Finale” event did not disappoint with 47 Big-Block Modifieds entered in the show. In the end, it was the hometown kids who showed the most muscle, with home track ace Ryan Watt putting on a performance that made the fans proud.
Though he’s really a Pennsylvania native, Watt has spent as much time racing in New Jersey as he has on the other side of the Delaware River. His record at Bridgeport is a solid one with two championships, but no marquee wins, until Tuesday, which was also his first career ‘W’ in Super DIRTcar competition.
“Big win for us down here against the Super DIRT boys, big win for our whole team. We’ve run well at Bridgeport for the big shows and just had dumb luck. We’ve won the championship twice and a bunch of races, but never the big ones. I don’t know how many DIRT races we’ve run over the years, but this is definitely the biggest win for me. I grew up watching Modifieds and to win one these races is a dream for me,” Watt told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
Watt started strong, winning his heat race and after drawing the eighth starting spot, stormed past the top runners to take the second spot in the first ten laps of the 60-lap event, and eventually assuming the lead when Rich Laubach incurred a flat tire.
From there, the only main challenger Watt had was Billy Pauch, Sr., but Pauch could only hang with Watt in lapped traffic, something which didn’t come around often in a caution-filled event. Watt took full advantage of a tremendous racecar.
“We could go anywhere. We started out running the bottom, the car was a little tight in the beginning, but as the track started going away on the bottom, we were moving up through the middle. Then the middle started going away, so we moved back to the bottom, but the car was on rails,” Watt added.
Pauch, Sr. was also strong early on, but admitted that he needs a little more time to get on par with the competition since returning to a partial schedule in the region.
“He’s got a good setup for here, he’s been running here, I just got back this year and we got some catch up work to do with Ryan and the rest of them. I feel pretty good, we were decent, coming home second,” Pauch said after the race.
Stewart Friesen ended up being the highest finishing Super DIRTcar regular, going up and down the top ten all race long, but finally finding some footing and climbing to the podium. It is a busy week for Friesen after competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this past Friday at Kansas Speedway, and returning to the Truck this coming Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“It was good. Halmar team is working hard on both ends with the Truck deal. There’s a lot of rookie growing pains there and with me too. I’ve got some learning to do with dirty air and stuff like that. We’ll figure it out. The DIRT team has been firing off. Coming down to Bridgeport is awesome. I had a lot of fun tonight,” remarked Friesen.
The Super DIRTcar Series is back in action this coming Monday night, May 22 at Weedsport Speedway (NY), with the Series about to hit the bulk of its busy mid-year schedule.
For a complete race recap visit Trackside Now presented by Troyer Race Cars (Click here)
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
Super DIRTcar Series Friends of Mike Finale Unofficial Results
|2||1||Billy Pauch, Sr.|
|7||15P||Billy Pauch, Jr.|