GEORGETOWN, Del. – Jordan Watson defended his home turf on Thursday night, dominating the season opener for the J.W. Brown Logging Modifieds at Georgetown Speedway.
After the postponement of the Melvin L. Joseph Memorial to late October, the Deron Rust Memorial slid into the role of the first big-block/small-block feature of the 2022 season at the historic Sussex County oval.
“There’s nothing like coming to Georgetown and defending our home turf,” said Watson. “There’s a hell of a lot of good drivers that come down here to race.”
The Milford, Del. native’s triumph netted him a $4,356 payday for his efforts – $3,960 for the win and $396 being the highest-finishing Delaware driver in the event. Deron Rust’s No. 396 was featured heavily throughout the night.
Following the redraw, Watson joined Brandon Grosso on the front row of the 33-lap main event. At the drop of the green flag, Watson raced out to the lead from his outside pole starting position.
An early yellow on lap three set the stage for a caution-plagued start to the race. H.J. Bunting first went over the banking in turn three. On the restart, Watson chose the inside lane, contrary to the top where he took the lead on the initial restart.
Grosso took advantage, racing ahead of Watson, but another yellow flew before the lap was complete, giving Watson the lead back. This time the caution was displayed for a tangle in turn three involving Carson Wright and Norman Short.
“I felt like I could fire off the bottom well, I just didn’t do my job on that restart, but after that I knew I needed to be up on the top,” explained Watson of the lesson learned on that restart.
The next attempt at a restart on lap three would only bring more mayhem. Ryan Watt, who restarted third, got turned sideways in front of the field. The pile-up ended the night for several drivers and sent a half-dozen cars to the pits for repairs.
The field finally settled in on the third attempt at the lap-three restart, and Danny Bouc was the man to take advantage. Bouc raced from sixth to third on the restart in his Craig and Leslie Pondish No. 6 car.
Bouc began to chase the top two before another yellow flew on lap nine as Richie Pratt Jr. slowed with a left-rear flat tire. The next yellow would fall just one lap later, as Ryan Riddle’s car broke and got over the turns one and two embankment.
Things settled in from there and the final 23 laps fired off caution-free. Bouc raced by Grosso on lap 11 to take the runner-up spot, setting himself up for a run at Watson at the head of the field.
Ryan Godown was another driver who began to move forward during the green-flag stretch. Godown, who started 11th, challenged Matt Stangle for several laps before taking fourth away on lap 16. Seven laps later, Godown pulled a slide job on Grosso to move into the final podium spot.
Billy Pauch Jr., who entered the night with a five-race win streak at Georgetown, was also moving forward after being involved in the pile-up on lap three. Pauch Jr. had risen to sixth before sliding by Stangle for fifth on lap 29.
Out front, Watson was on cruise control. Watson held on for his first win of the season, outlasting Bouc at the end for the win.
Joe Toth kicked off his Blue Hen Dispose-All Crate 602 Sportsman championship defense with a $1,960 victory, besting a large 35-car field. Toth earned more than $2,000 after adding in his $100 heat race victory as well.
Kerry King won the 12-lap Southern Delaware Vintage Modified feature, using a restart with one lap to go to race around Jamie Eicholz for the win. Nathan Smith held off a hard charging Roscoe Clough, who started last, for the Sportsman win.
Melvin Joseph Jr. raced from his last place starting position to claim the Little Lincoln 12-lap victory.
Jesse West won what he called “one of the most exciting races I’ve ever been in,” in the Delaware Super Truck 12-lap feature.
Geoff Carey won the first feature of the night in the Delmarva Charger division. Carey, who also started last, drove to second but was well behind leader Jay Lowman. Lowman began to lose power, allowing Carey to drive by and ultimately take the 12-lap victory.
Feature (33 Laps): Jordan Watson, Danny Bouc, Ryan Godown, Billy Pauch Jr., Matt Stangle, Brandon Grosso, Joseph Watson, Cale Ross, Louden Reimert, Richie Pratt Jr., James Hill, Austin Hubbard, John Willman, Ryan Watt, Ryan Krachun, Kevin Sockriter, H.J. Bunting, Brad Trice, Kevin Hirthler, Matt Smith, Ryan Riddle, Carson Wright, Rick Laubach, W.B. James, Matt Smith, Norman Short Jr., Trent Van Vorst.