Matt Sheppard Wins Mid-Atlantic Battle at Georgetown, Friesen Earns $10,000 South Region Title
Written by Chris Moore
GEORGETOWN, DE – Matt Sheppard of Savannah, N.Y., added another track to his lengthy Modified racing resume on Saturday night. For the first time in his career – after several close calls – “Super Matt” finally grabbed his first-career Georgetown Speedway win.
Despite drawing 10th during the Beyea Custom Headers Redraw and getting a flat tire during the 44-lap main event honoring the late Tom Perrego, Sheppard was not going to be denied his first win at the famed half-mile in southern Delaware during Mid-Atlantic Championship Weekend.
“Georgetown has always been a thorn in my side, so what a fitting way to get the first win here than to have to come from the back,” a relieved Sheppard said in Victory Lane with the Hurlock Auto & Speed No. 9s.
The race rounded out the Velocita-USA South Region presented by Design for Vision and Sunglass Central for the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled by Sunoco Modifieds.
Sprakers, N.Y.’s, Stewart Friesen clinched his second-career STSS South Region championship, his first since 2016, and picked up the $10,000 check to go with it. Friesen and the Halmar International team took the title by a mere 10-point margin.
Contrary to Sheppard, Friesen drew the pole, and led the field to green alongside Hellertown, Pa.’s, Rick Laubach. Laubach would use the outside groove to take the lead and set the pace in the early going.
Sewell, N.J.’s, Richie Pratt Jr. began to really move in the early going, climbing to third and consistently pressuring Friesen for second before a yellow on lap six. The yellow was for, among others, Matt Sheppard’s left-rear flat tire.
Pratt’s charge would falter shortly after, as he also fell victim to a left-rear flat tire. A longer green flag run would follow that yellow, and that was where Friesen flexed his muscle on Laubach.
In heavy lapped traffic, Laubach chose the wrong lane, and Friesen used the bottom lane to move ahead of the “Quaker Shaker” on lap number 20. Sheppard’s recovery from the rear of the field became noticeable on a 21st-lap restart when he lined up ninth.
A couple of restarts later Sheppard had climbed to second and the battle was on between the sport’s top competitors again. Sheppard found the top lane off turn two on lap 30 to surpass Friesen.
Sheppard never relinquished the lead in the remaining 14 laps, as he cruised to his 12th career STSS Modified victory and third of the season. Sheppard took the $100 Stockley Materials “Gambler’s Challenge” making the win worth $7,000 total plus $50 as an Ad-Art Sign Company heat winner, $44 from KB’s Racing Photos in memory of Tom Perrego for a cash total of $7,094 and a pair of sunglasses from Design for Vision and Sunglass Central.
Milford, N.J.’s, Billy Pauch Jr., and Middletown, N.Y.’s Anthony Perrego both spent the entirety of the main event in the top-five, finished second and third, respectively. The runner-up finish gave Pauch Jr. and the Rick Holsten team the Georgetown Speedway $2,500 Sunoco track championship and second in the STSS points chase, just 10 points behind Friesen.
Friesen faded to fourth late, but it was enough to hold onto the STSS South Region title while earning a $544 Halfway Leader bonus from Superior Remodeling, a $440 Hurlock Auto & Speed Tom Perrego Memorial Award and a $50 Ad-Art Sign Company heat-race victory.
Wallkill, N.Y.’s Tyler Dippel came from a provisional 27th starting spot to finish fifth and received a $544 Hard Charger Award from Superior Remodeling and an additional $50 from First State Mobile Dustless Blasting.
Danny Creeden of Wurtsboro, N.Y., finished sixth in a rare Georgetown Speedway start, ahead of Rick Laubach rebounded from a left-rear flat for seventh with Ryan Kerr’s No. 1K. Boyertown, Pa.’s, Mike Gular held onto eighth in Terry Fasnacht’s No. 2A with another Boyertown resident – Ryan Watt – following him in ninth. Neshanic Station, N.J.’s Matt Stangle rounded out the top-10.
The Super Late Models made their one and only appearance for 2020 at Georgetown Speedway and Rick Eckert made the tow south from York, Pa., worthwhile as he grabbed the win in the 40-lap feature event.
Eckert’s victory was a breakthrough at Georgetown, where ‘Scrub’ had two near-misses in the track’s Super Late Model events in recent seasons.
Eckert and Max Blair put on a phenomenal show at the mid-race point, changing lanes – and the lead – back-and-forth. Blair took the lead away on a lap-16 restart, using the outside to his advantage.
Following a lap-26 yellow, Eckert regained the lead back for good, driving around Blair through one and two to take the $7,000 payday after taking the $100 JD Shuckers Georgetown “Gambler’s Challenge” prior to the start of heat races.
Kyle Hardy had a back-and-forth night, but he it ended on an upswing, as he drove back from ninth to third, after taking the initial green in third. Michael Maresca challenged the top-two for a short period before the lap-16 restart, and the Potsdam, N.Y., native came home fourth. Georgetown’s own Ross Robinson worked the inside lane to a top-five finish.
The Bob Hilbert Sportswear STSS Crate 602 Sportsman South Region concluded in dramatic fashion in the race for the championship. Belle Mead, N.J.’s, Justin Grosso allowed for little drama up front, as the youngster led all 25 laps for his second Georgetown win of the year, worth $1,500.
The race for the championship was not as simple. Dagsboro, Del.’s Scott Hitchens drove from the rear of the field twice to finish in seventh position. Hitchens’ rally was good enough to win the STSS championship by one point over Niskayuna, N.Y.’s, Tim Hartman Jr., who finished in fourth position.
Newtown, Pa.’s, Joe Toth finished in second position, which was good enough to earn him the 2020 Georgetown Speedway Chesapeake Paving/J.W. Brown Trucking $750 track championship. Whitehouse Station, N.J.’s, Sammy Martz Jr. came from 17th starting position to finish third and take the $100 Dirt Modified Nostalgia Tour Hard Charger. Tim Hartman Jr. grabbed fourth and Vineland, N.J.’s Anthony Tramontana rounded out the top five.
Kerry King won another 12-lap Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Car Club Modified feature, his third since joining the division. D.J. Cameron and John Burton were the top-three.
Andy Cassel won the Sportsman race for the Southern Delaware Vintage Cars with Robert Blann and David Tucker II following him to podium finishes in the 12-lap event.
Matthew Smith, who joined the Delaware Super Trucks halfway through the season, got another Georgetown win in impressive fashion. Matt Esham held onto second over Matthew’s brother, Robert Smith who finished third in the 12-lap event.
Joe Waters won a wire-to-wire 12-lap Delmarva Charger feature, continuing the dominance he and Chris “Tippy” Martinez, have had over the Chargers in 2020. Geoff Carey charged for second and Ashley Merritt rounded out the top-three.
Saturday was ultimately the only day of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Weekend to be run due to weather issues. Persistent rain and flooding forced Friday’s program to be postponed to Sunday. A late weather shift brought rain into the area Sunday and the event was canceled.
Next up for the Short Track Super Series is the inaugural ‘Cajun Swing’ through Louisiana November 11-14 with two nights of racing at Ark-La-Tex Speedway in Vivian, La., (Wednesday, Nov. 11 and Thursday, Nov. 12) and Qualifying Night for the ‘Mods in the Marsh 75’ paying $20,000 to win on Friday, Nov. 13 at Chatham (La.) Speedway followed by the main event on Saturday, Nov. 14.
Georgetown Speedway will play host to Thanksgiving weekend action on Saturday, Nov. 28 including the L&J Sheet Metal Modifieds, Chesapeake Paving/J.W. Brown Trucking Crate 602 Sportsman, RUSH Late Models and 12-lap features for the Delaware Super Trucks, Delmarva Chargers and Little Lincolns. Further information is coming soon.
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 email@example.com or contact the speedway hotline at 302.563.GTWN (4896).
To learn more about the Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco, visit www.shorttracksuperseries.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, check out ‘Short Track Super Series’ on Facebook or @ShortTrackSS on Twitter or Instagram.
The Short Track Super Series is presented by American Racer/Lias Tire, Sunoco Race Fuel, Insinger Performance, Bob Hilbert Sportswear, Halmar International, Velocita-USA, Design for Vision/Sunglass Central, Rob Sherlock Roofing, ATL Racing Fuel Cells, Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, Beyea Custom Headers, Bicknell Racing Products, Dirt Track Digest, EIBACH Springs, Escape RV, Fast Axle, Fox Racing Shocks, Henry’s Exhaust, Hig Fab, HyperCo, Kirkey Racing Fabrication, Land Hoe Maintenance, K&N, MJK Home Maintenance, Precision Hydraulic & Oil, QA1, Racing Optics, Superior Remodeling, Teo-Pro Car, VAHLCO, Velocita, WELD Racing & Wilwood.
MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND RESULTS SUMMARY – GEORGETOWN SPEEDWAY SATURDAY, OCTOBER 31
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Modified Velocita-USA South Region Event No. 8 Feature Finish (44 laps): MATT SHEPPARD, Billy Pauch Jr., Anthony Perrego, Stewart Friesen, Tyler Dippel, Danny Creeden, Rick Laubach, Mike Gular, Ryan Watt, Matt Stangle, David Van Horn, J.R. McGinley, Matt Peck, Joseph Watson, Andy Bachetti, Kevin Sockriter, Ryan Krachun, Michael Maresca, Neal Williams, Richie Pratt, Jr., Scott Hitchens, Tyler Siri, Jordan Watson, Brandon Grosso, H.J. Bunting, Jordn Justice, Carson Wright, Danny Bouc, Jimmy Horton.
Did Not Qualify: Ryan Riddle, Clay Tatman, James Hill, Brett Ballard, Skylar Sheriff, Eric Williams, John Willman, Steve Young, Danny Hieber, Tom Moore Jr.
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Velocita-USA South Region Champion ($10,000): Stewart Friesen
Georgetown Speedway Sunoco Championship Series L&J Sheet Metal Modified Champion ($2,500): Billy Pauch Jr.
Sign Company Heat Winners ($50 Each): Anthony
Perrego, Andy Bachetti, Stewart Friesen & Matt Sheppard
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire Certificate): Mike Gular (eighth) & Matt Peck (13th)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 Gift Cards): Stewart Friesen(fourth) & Ryan Watt (ninth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bucks ($50): Mike Gular (redrew 12th)
Bill Brown & Company Heat-Race Hard Charger ($50): Rick Laubach (gain of seven positions)
Design for Vision/Sunglass Central Winner’s Shades (FREE Sunglasses): Matt Sheppard
EIBACH Springs Bonus ($100 Certificate): Danny Creeden (sixth)
First State Mobile Dustless Blasting Hard Charger Award ($50): Tyler Dippel (27th to fifth)
First State Roof & Exterior Cleaning Top Delaware Driver ($250): Joseph Watson (14th)
Henry’s Exhaust Power Position ($50 Certificate): David Van Horn Jr. (11th)
Holly Hill Farms Tom Perrego Memorial Hard Luck Award ($444.44): Danny Hieber (DNQ, flip in heat race)
Hurlock Auto & Speed Tom Perrego Memorial Bonuses ($440 Each): Stewart Friesen (fourth), Joseph Watson (14th) & Brandon Grosso (24th)
KB’s Racing Photos Tom Perrego Memorial Winner’s Bonus ($44): Matt Sheppard
Loud Pedal Podcast/W.T.F. Consolation Winners ($100 Each): Tyler Siri & Ryan Watt
Stockley Materials “Gambler’s Bonus” ($2,000): Matt Sheppard
Sunoco Race Fuels/Insinger Performance Bonuses ($50 Certificates): Billy Pauch Jr. (second), J.R. McGinley (12th) & Tyler Siri (22nd)
Superior Remodeling Halfway Leader ($544): Stewart Friesen
Superior Remodeling Hard Charger ($544): Tyler Dippel (27th to fifth)
Tom Perrego Memorial Redraw Bonus from Tommy & Kayla Conroy ($44): Anthony Perrego (redrew fourth)
Wilwood Brakes Bonus ($75 Certificate): Rick Laubach (seventh)
Super Late Model Feature Finish (40 laps): RICK ECKERT, Max Blair, Kyle Hardy, Michael Maresca, Ross Robinson, Jason Covert, Amanda Robinson, Gary Stuhler, Danny Snyder, Trevor Collins, Chad Myers, Robert Smith, Robert Paczkowski, Mark Pettyjohn, Mike Wharton, David Dill, Donald Lingo, David Pettyjohn, Derek Magee, Nathan Long, Bryan Bernheisel, Rob Schirmer, Deshawn Gingrich.
Apparel Hard Charger Award ($250): Amanda
Robinson (21st to seventh)
First State Roof & Exterior Cleaning Top Delaware Driver ($250): Ross Robinson (fifth)
JD Shuckers Georgetown “Gambler’s Bonus” ($2,000): Rick Eckert
Kruger Trailers Halfway Leader ($200): Max Blair
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Crate 602 Sportsman South Region Event No. 6 (25 laps): JUSTIN GROSSO, Joe Toth, Sammy Martz Jr., Tim Hartman Jr., Anthony Tramontana, Tanner Van Doren, Scott Hitchens, Adam White, Richie Walls, Nick Sapp, Sean Weiss, John Stevenson, Michael White, Dylan Swinehart, Erik McKinney, Jeff Marker, David Jenkins, Nico Flammer, Rick Wegner Jr., Paul Mancini, Stephen Kemery, Robert Dutton, Ryan Higgs, Greg Reed, Greg Humlhanz, Duane Rust.
Did Not Qualify: Brandon Edgar, Chris Grbac, Brett Kern, Maverick Eldridge, B.J. Joly II, Rocky Whitley, Justin Riley, Sean Metz.
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Crate 602 Sportsman South Region Champion ($1,500): Scott Hitchens
Georgetown Speedway Sunoco Championship Series Chesapeake Paving/J.W. Brown Trucking Crate 602 Sportsman Champion ($750): Joe Toth
Racer/Lias Tire Bonus (FREE Tire Certificate): Adam White (eighth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bucks ($25): Stephen Kemery (redrew 12th)
Dirt Modified Nostalgia Tour Hard Charger Award ($100): Sammy Martz Jr. (17th to third)
ERK Steering Repair 16th at Halfway Award ($100): Nick Sapp
First State Roof & Exterior Cleaning Top Delaware Driver ($100): Scott Hitchens (seventh)
Southern Delaware Vintage Modified Feature Finish (12 laps): KERRY KING, D.J. Cameron, John Burton, C.J. Schirmer, Dave Parsons, Jeff Paulson, Roscoe Clough, Charlie Moore, George O’Neal.
Southern Delaware Vintage Sportsman Feature Finish (12 laps): ANDY CASSEL, Robert Blann, David Tucker II, David Tucker I, Don Davidson, Terry Chaney, Todd Miller, Glenn Lyon, Jamie Eicholz, Chris Killen, Pete Morris, David Schamp.
Delaware Super Truck Feature Finish (12 laps): MATTHEW SMITH, Matt Esham, Robert Smith, Dale Elliott, Jerry Hill, Clay Vincent,, Ryan Efford, Cory Sapp, Bill Dean, Dick Beauchamp, Mark Townsend, Tyler Rodearmel, Michelle Jackson, Thomas Jackson, Tristin Townsend.
Delmarva Charger Feature Finish (12 laps): JOE WATERS, Geoff Carey, Ashley Merritt, Chris Carroll, Chris ‘Tippy’ Martinez, Chris Myers, John Chandler, Randy Merritt, Jay Lowman, John Bailey, Caleb Ball, Paul Carey.