NEWBERRYTOWN, PA – For the first time since 2009, the rumble of Modifieds returned to Susquehanna Speedway.
And New Jersey’s Ryan Godown etched his name in the record books.
Godown, who hails from the Garden State town of Ringoes, topped a thrilling 50-lap big-block/small-block Modified event on Sunday night, earning $5,000 for his second straight victory with the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By VP. Godown previously won on July 27 at New York’s I-88 Speedway.
A wide, racy four-tenths-mile banked red-clay oval greeted STSS racers at a rejuvenated Susquehanna Speedway under the leadership of Scott Gobrecht and Kolten Gouse for the sixth round of the STSS Velocita South Region.
After 50 lane-swapping, rim-riding laps, it was Godown’s No. 26 that prevailed.
At the outset, New Yorker Anthony Perrego powered the Gary Mann-owned No. 55 to the lead. Perrego had started from outside the front row, outgunning pole starter Craig Von Dohren.
As Perrego led, massive position changes occurred behind him, as Von Dohren fought off a fierce pack of cars running high and low.
Godown had rolled off the grid in 10th position and made a bold, three-wide move into second on the 28th lap, trailing only Perrego, who was making his Susquehanna debut.
Unfortunately for Perrego, his drive for five grand ended on lap 36 when he slowed with a cut right-rear tire.
That handed the lead to Godown over a high-flying Ryan Watt, who originally started 20th and was involved in a skirmish on the sixth lap.
Watt pressured Godown heavily until the race’s final, double-file restart on lap 42. Watt and Godown raced hard into turn one on the green, sliding up the track.
Godown emerged with the lead while Frank Cozze, who was also involved in early race incidents, took over second.
Godown won by just five car-lengths over Cozze in the dash to the finish. Sadly for Cozze and car owner Tom Umbenhauer, their $3,000 second-place finish was nixed when the car came up light on the scales.
Watt, of Boyertown, Pa., finished a spirited second in the Ron Roberts-owned car and received an extra $500 courtesy of Touch of Green Landscaping as the event’s Hard Charger.
Jeff Strunk of Boyertown, Pa., finished third in the Glenn Hyneman-owned No. 126 after running inside the top-five for much of the distance. Strunk was a former Susquehanna regular and Hyneman the former track promoter.
After a heat-race incident damaged the right-side of the Halmar International No. 44, Stewart Friesen of Sprakers, N.Y., won the consolation and rolled off the grid in 19th position. Friesen drove to fourth and maintained his STSS South Region lead entering the finale at Georgetown (Del.) Speedway Aug. 30.
Friesen’s Halmar teammate Jimmy Horton of Neshanic Station, N.J., finished fifth completing a solid 50-lap run.
Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were Billy Pauch Jr. of Milford, N.J., driving the Breitenstein Motorsports No. 14; Brett Kressley of Orefield, Pa., recovering from a flat right-rear tire on lap 30; Duane Howard of Oley, Pa., who ran inside the top-five only to spin on a 38th-lap restart; Tim Buckwalter of Royersford, Pa.; and Richie Pratt Jr. of Sewell, N.J., who finished 10th after starting 25th – dead last – via the Touch of Green Landscaping Last Chance Qualifier.
Heat winners were Perrego, Von Dohren and Cozze. Friesen won the consolation and Pratt the Last Chance Qualifier.
Teenager Brandon Grosso of Montgomery, N.J., continued his dominance of the Penn-Jersey Sportsman division, taking home $1,000 from the 25-lap main.
Grosso started from the outside pole, but this was no easy triumph. Using the outside lane of the speedway, Grosso spent 10 laps running side-by-side with a challenging Craig Whitmoyer before adjusting his lane and holding on for the triumph.
Following Grosso across the line were Whitmoyer, Brian Papiez, Bob Lineman Jr. and Jordan Umbenhauer, who picked up the ride in the Guistwite No. 29G for the special.
Heat winners were Grosso and Ryan Beltz.