Stewart Friesen Scores Melvin L. Joseph Memorial Victory for $10,049-Plus at Georgetown Speedway
Written by Chris Moore
GEORGETOWN, DE - Sprakers, N.Y.’s Stewart Friesen became the first driver to be a repeat champion of the Melvin L. Joseph Memorial at the Georgetown Speedway. The $10,049-plus conquest was Friesen’s 20th Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco win.
Friesen mentioned the word “fast” several times in Victory Lane. He and Boyertown, Pa.’s Ryan Watt set a blistering pace for much of the 49-lap affair in the Northeast Modified 2020 Season Opener.
The 49-lap race began with Ryan Watt and First State driver Joseph ‘Jo Jo’ Watson on the front row in the STSS Velocita-USA presented by Design for Vision South Region opener.
It was Watson, who used the outside to jump out the initial lead. The lead was short-lived however, Watson’s night would end four laps in due to a broken rear end. The beneficiary would be Watt, who inherited the lead.
The first 10 laps went caution-free, as Watt and Friesen battled through lapped traffic while Rick Laubach, of Hellertown, Pa., quickly climbed to the third spot and was beginning to reel in the leaders. Frenchtown, N.J.’s Billy Pauch Jr. was putting on a show as well, coming from 14th to seventh in the short 10 laps.
The ensuing restart however would end Laubach’s charge as his engine expired as well with 11 laps in.
A lap-14 restart would end the night for several top-running cars, including Milford, N.J.’s David Van Horn, Middletown, N.Y.’s Anthony Perrego, and Oley, Pa.’s Duane Howard. Others were involved but returned to action.
Following the multiple restarts between laps 10 and 15, a long green-flag run allowed Watt and Friesen to flex their muscle as the two pulled away from the rest of the field. However, they never left each other, with Friesen staying within five car-lengths of the leader.
Right at the 30-lap mark, things began to change. Watt’s car began to push through the corners, ultimately coming the on lap 35. Watt washed up the track hard in turns three and four, allowing Friesen to drive underneath Watt and drive away.
Watt’s push persisted until the front end, along with Watt’s night, ultimately went by the wayside on lap 42 due to a broken bolt on the Ron Roberts-owned No. 14W.
The remaining seven laps undoubtedly belonged to Friesen, as he pulled away from Oley, Pa.’s Craig Von Dohren, who took a back-and forth night to a runner-up finish in his self-owned No. 1c big-block-powered ride.
Wallkill, N.Y.’s Tyler Dippel, making his first run at a full-time STSS schedule, kicked it off with a third place run. Billy Pauch Jr. continues to be strong at Georgetown after a great 2019 at the speedway, grabbing a fourth-place finish in his Rick Holsten-owned ride. Pipersville, Pa.’s Danny Bouc, in his Craig Pondish-owned No. 6, rounded out the top five.
Phoenix, N.Y.’s Larry Wight rebounded from heat race troubles to a sixth-place finish aboard the Gary Simpson No. 12K. Jordan Watson, of Milford, Del., also had heat-race that he parlayed into a seventh-place run after taking a series provisional and starting 29th. Neshanic Station, N.J.’s Jimmy Horton fought hard for an eighth-place finish. Sewell, N.J.’s Richie Pratt Jr. was involved in a restart pile-up but fought back to a ninth-place run and former Georgetown Speedway Sportsman winner Alex Yankowski rounded out the top-10.
In the Crate 602 Sportsman feature, Pennsylvania’s Jim Housworth avenged his heartbreak from last November at the Georgetown Speedway. Housworth lost a close battle for the STSS championship in the finale.
This time, Housworth bested a 47-car field to get his first Georgetown win and the $1,490 payday. Scott Hitchens, would follow Housworth closely, but never quite could catch the leader, ending in a runner-up finish.
Joe Toth would kick off his 2020 season with a podium run, while Sammy Martz Jr., and Jeff Brown rounded out the top-five.
Chris “Tippy” Martinez dominated the Delmarva Charger feature, his second consecutive Georgetown win, dating back to November. Ashley Merritt and Chris Carroll would round out the podium.
Andy Cassel won the Modified portion of the Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Car Club in the 12-lap feature. David Tucker I was also a winner, being the highest finishing Sportsman driver and fifth overall.
Dale Elliott finished off opening night, winning a hotly contested Delaware Super Truck Feature. Jerry Hill, and Clay Vincent were the podium finishers.
The fifth Melvin L. Joseph Memorial concludes Sunday with a complete Small-Block Modified program (30 laps, $4,049 to win), RUSH Late Models (20 laps, $1,049 to win), Delmarva Chargers and Delaware Super Trucks.
On Sunday, pit and grandstand gates open at 12:30 p.m. with hot laps at 2:30 p.m. and racing gets underway at 3:30 p.m.
Sunday grandstand admission is $25 (Adults); $20 for Seniors (ages 65 and up) and Students (ages 13-17); $10 Kids (ages 9-12); and Children 8 and under FREE.
Sunday pit admission is $35 (ages 13 and up). Kids (ages 6-12) pay $10. Children 5 and under pay $2.
Georgetown Speedway, originally constructed by Melvin L. Joseph in 1949, is located at the intersection of Route 113 and Speedway Road in Georgetown, Del., just miles from the Delaware beaches and less than a 40-minute drive from Ocean City, Md.
A website is live for the speedway at www.thegeorgetownspeedway.com. Like Georgetown Speedway on Facebook, follow @thegtownspdwy on Twitter, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the speedway hotline at 302.563.GTWN (4896).
MELVIN L. JOSEPH MEMORIAL RACE SUMMARY – GEORGETOWN SPEEDWAY MARCH 7, 2020
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Velocita-USA South Region Event No. 1 Modified Feature Finish (49 laps): STEWART FRIESEN, Craig Von Dohren, Tyler Dippel, Billy Pauch Jr., Danny Bouc, Larry Wight, Jordan Watson, Jimmy Horton, Richie Pratt Jr., Alex Yankowski, Brandon Grosso, Andy Bachetti, Ryan Watt, H.J. Bunting, Michael Maresca, Matt Sheppard, David Van Horn Jr., Anthony Perrego, Duane Howard, Mike Gular, Kyle Fuller, Kevin Sockriter, Danny Tyler, Danny Hieber, Rick Laubach, Clay Tatman, Billy Dunn, Joseph Watson, Jeff Strunk.
Did Not Qualify: Ryan Godown, Allison Ricci, David Schilling, Matt Stangle, Dylan Swinehart, Brad Trice, Josh Delea, Norman Short, Marshall Hurd, Carson Wright, Ryan Krachun, Billy Shantel Jr., Scott Van Gorder, Ryan Riddle, Jeff Brown.
Melvin L. Joseph Lap Money ($2,401 Total): Billy Pauch Jr. - $392; Stewart Friesen - $343; Danny Bouc - $343; Craig Von Dohren - $294; Tyler Dippel - $294; Ryan Watt - $294; Larry Wight - $98; Rick Laubach - $98; Jordan Watson - $49; Jimmy Horton - $49; H.J. Bunting - $49; Richie Pratt Jr. - $49; Joseph Watson - $49.
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire Certificate): Alex Yankowski (10th) & H.J. Bunting (14th)
Beyea Custom Headers Hard Charger ($100): Jordan Watson (29th to seventh)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bucks ($50): Tyler Dippel (seventh to first)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 Gift Cards): Billy Pauch Jr. (fourth) & Richie Pratt Jr. (ninth)
Bill Brown & Company Heat-Race Hard Charger ($50):
EIBACH Springs Bonus ($100 Certificate): Larry Wight (sixth)
Henry’s Exhaust Power Position ($50 Certificate): Brandon Grosso (11th)
Racing Optics Bonus (Tear-Off Sleeve): Tyler Dippel (third)
Sunoco Race Fuels/Insinger Performance Bonuses ($50 Certificates): Craig Von Dohren (second), Andy Bachetti (12th) & Kevin Sockriter (22nd)
Wilwood Brakes Bonus ($75): Jordan Watson (seventh)
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Crate 602 Sportsman South Region Event No. 1 Feature Finish (25 laps): JIM HOUSWORTH, Scott Hitchens, Joe Toth, Sammy Martz Jr., Jeff Brown, Tim Hartman Jr., Adam White, Michael White, James Hill, Anthony Tramontana, Cole Stangle, Kevin Chaffee, Payton Talbot, Justin Grosso, Greg Humlhanz, Eric McKinney, Tanner Van Doren, Samantha Muller, Charlie Tibbitts, Craig Whitmoyer, David Jenkins, Ryan Godown Jr., Tom Princiotta, Thomas Van Vorst, Dan Fleming, Grant Hilfiger, Sean Weiss, Tom Moore Jr., Bryan Brobst.
Did Not Start: Bobby Flood
Did Not Qualify: Jeff Coffey, Todd Buckwold, Ray Swinehart, Shawn McPhee, Ryan Higgs, Paul Mancini, Steve Lary, Steve Kemery, Kevin Borden, Vinnie Troia, John Stevenson, Rocky Whitley, Garrett Given, Jordan Long, Ted Reynolds, Greg Nailor, Sean Metz.
Evergreen Fuels Inc. Low Temperature Bonus ($37): Jim Housworth
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonus (FREE Tire Certificate): Michael White (eighth)
Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Car Feature Finish (12 laps): ANDY CASSEL, Jamie Eicholz, Jeff Paulsen, Charlie Moore, David Tucker I (Sportsman Winner), Harold Sylvester, Roscoe Clough, David Schamp, Art Workman, Don Davidson, Terry Chaney, David Tucker II, Glenn Lyon, Jamie Schirmer.
Delaware Super Truck Feature Finish (12 laps): DALE ELLIOTT, Jerry Hill, Clay Vincent, Kirk Miles Sr., Ronnie Holloway, Kirk Miles Jr., J.R. Bergman, Zach Phillips, Trent Marine, Dick Beauchamp, Danny DiGrazio, Bill Dean, Ryan Efford.
Delmarva Charger Feature Finish (12 laps): CHRIS ‘TIPPY’ MARTINEZ, Ashley Merritt, Chris Carroll, Tommy Weese, Paul Gary, Brandon Riefler, Joe Waters, Chris Myers, Randy Merritt.