Ryan Godown ‘Tires’ Race of Champions/Poker Series Field At Bridgeport Speedway; Drives Rick Clay No. 88c to Spectacular $4,000-plus Victory; Hoffman Era of Bridgeport Promotion Gets Underway
BRIDGEPORT, NJ – Ryan Godown ‘tired’ the Bridgeport Speedway Modified field on Saturday.
Godown, who suffered a right-rear flat tire on lap 47 while running in a second place, pitted for fresh rubber and charged through the field to earn the victory in ‘Hand One’ of the Poker Series at the South Jersey clay oval. The event doubled as the inaugural South Region Race of Champions Dirt Modified Tour visit to Bridgeport.
March 31, 2012 Video Highlights
Order the complete night of racing on DVD from the GSP Shop
RoC Modifieds/Poker Series Round #1 Feature Highlights
Crate Sportsman and Outlaw Stocks Highlights
The Doug and Gena Hoffman era of Bridgeport promotion got underway on a damp and cool Saturday. Morning showers ended shortly after noon and a large crowd turned out for the 41st annual Season Opener. The track’s regular season kicks off Saturday (April 7). Drivers praised the smooth and racy track conditions in place for Saturday’s event and the Friday open practice session.
The Ringoes, N.J., driver earned $4,000 plus lap money in the 60-lap event driving for Rick Clay, who earned his first-ever victory as a car owner.
“That was crazy,” admitted Godown after exiting Clay’s Wide Open Technologies-powered No. 88C. “Never in a million years did I think it would work out that way.”
Rising star Larry Wight of Phoenix, N.Y., dominated much of the event. Wight raced from third to the lead on the opening circuit and paced the first 51 laps, collecting nearly $1,000 in bonus lap money.
Godown inherited second when Wight’s teammate, Billy Decker, dropped off the pace on lap 26 while pursuing the leader. However, Godown slowed with the aforementioned flat tire to draw the yellow with 13 laps remaining.
Restarting from the back of the field, Godown found the extreme outside lane of the five-eighths-mile clay oval to his liking in turns one and two. Passing cars with ease, Godown had climbed back to second place by the 50-lap mark. A caution on lap 51 put Godown on the back bumper of race leader Wight. Moments after the green was unfurled, the ‘Ringoes Rocket’ swept by Wight and took a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.
Wight’s run ended with four laps remaining when his right-rear tire went down. Sussex, N.J., star Brett Hearn, who had charged forward from 19th, held second momentarily until his Madsen Motorsports No. 20 suffered the same fate on the final lap.
Rick Laubach of Quakertown, Pa., who started seventh, completed the entire distance without changing right-rear tires and finished second driving the Gary and Lori Herrmann No. 7, followed by 2011 Bridgeport champion Ryan Watt of Boyertown, Pa. Watt, like Godown, had pitted for a fresh right-rear on lap 47 with the Ron Roberts-owned No. 14w Troyer. Craig Von Dohren of Boyertown, Pa., nurtured a worn right-rear tire to fourth in Mike Harvey’s No. 1c and Bridgeport all-time leading winner Jimmy Horton of Neshanic Station, N.J., from 16th starting spot in Dieter Schmidt’s Lincoln Auto Body No. 5. Horton was among the last to pit for a tire on lap 51.
Completing the top 10 were Duane Howard of Oley, Pa., in the Craig Pondish No. 6 (after suffering a flat on lap 49), Hearn, Eric Kormann of Vineland, N.J., Wight and Doug Manmiller of Shoemakersville, Pa., in the Dick Biever No. 14. Manmiller, who ran the entire race on one right-rear tire, appeared poised for a top-five finish until being collected by Hearn’s slowing car on the final lap.
Mike Barone of Hillsborough, N.J., received a $100 bonus courtesy of MTL Motorsports for his 13th-place finish.
The top-two drivers had a choice of a guaranteed starting position in the $20,000-to-win Outlaw 200 at Fulton (N.Y.) Speedway Sept. 29 or the $10,000-to-win ‘Hurricane 100’ at Brewerton (N.Y.) Speedway Oct. 4. The third-place driver, Watt, is guaranteed for the RoC Dirt Modified Tour event at Five Mile Point (N.Y.) Speedway April 22.
Heat winners for the 47 assembled RoC Modifieds were Decker, Kevin Hirthler (Boyertown, Pa.), Watt, Von Dohren and Manmiller. Wade Hendrickson and Sammy Piazza, both of Lawrenceville, N.J., won the consolations.
Second-generation driver Brett Kressley of Orefield, Pa., won the accompanying 20-lap event for the Crate Sportsman, while Terry Griffin was the 15-lap Outlaw Stock victor.
The remaining Modified ‘Poker Series’ dates are Sun., May 27, Wed., July 4, Mon., Sept. 3 and Sat., Nov. 10. At each ‘Poker Series’ event, the winner receives an Ace (A), second a King (K), third a Queen (Q) and so on down to the 13th-place finisher receiving a Deuce (2). Following the completion of the five-race series, the driver with the best poker hand receives $2,500, second $1,500 and third $1,000. The driver with the worst hand receives $1,000. Drivers must participate in all five events to be eligible for a points fund.
For further information on Bridgeport Speedway, visit www.bpspeedway.com. Bridgeport Speedway, located just minutes from Pennsylvania and Delaware off I-295 Exit 14, is a state-of-the-art auto racing facility with a five-eighths-mile clay oval and a quarter-mile clay oval embedded in the center.
POKER POINTS: Doug Hoffman personally addressed the drivers and fans to say thank you for their support on a cold and wet day. Hoffman also praised Chip Wingate, who heads the track crew, for his efforts with the surface despite the trying weather conditions and heavy rain Friday night into Saturday morning….
Jeff Strunk’s Norm Hansell No. 357 was sidelined by a vibration after hot laps. Strunk spent the rest of the program working on the No. 66 driven by Jimmy Blewett….
A surprise entrant was Randy Chrysler of Lewiston, N.Y. Chrysler failed to make the main event….
Duane Howard was leading the afternoon’s third heat race comfortably until encountering fuel pressure problems. The issue sent the former Bridgeport regular to a consolation….
Larry Wight was impressive in his first feature event at Bridgeport and third trip to the track….
BRIDGEPORT SPEEDWAY RoC/POKER SERIES HAND ONE MARCH 31, 2012 RACE SUMMARY
Race of Champions Dirt Modified Tour/Poker Series Feature Finish (60-laps): 1. RYAN GODOWN 2. Rick Laubach 3. Ryan Watt 4. Craig Von Dohren 5. Jimmy Horton 6. Duane Howard 7. Brett Hearn 8. Eric Kormann 9. Larry Wight 10. Doug Manmiller 11.Wade Hendrickson 12. Stewart Friesen 13. Mike Barone 14. Pat Ward 15. Sammy Piazza 16. Jimmy Blewett 17. Kevin Hirthler 18. Brian Kressley 19. Neal Williams 20. Jimmy Phelps 21. Mike Iles 22. Matt Harrell 23. Billy Decker 24. Richie Pratt, Jr. 25. Danny Johnson
DNQ: Dominic Buffalino, Danny Bouc, Ray Swinehart, Larry Solomon, Dave Witte, Don Cogdill III, Ron Roberts, Mike Franz, Rob Nixon, Stan Frankenfield, Brett Tonkin, Jesse Hill, Dale Hartz, Bob Sarkisian, Gary Hager, Brett Ballard, Tommy Scheetz, Jr, Randy Chrysler, Jim Bobbitt, Kyle Borror, Jeff Strunk
Crate Sportsman Feature Finish (20-laps): 1. BRETT KRESSLEY 2. Travis Hill 3. Jordan Watson 4. Matt Budd 5. Frank Dorry, Jr. 6. Jeff Brown 7. Mike Cogdill 8. Ricky DiEva 9. Ken Eckert, Jr. 10. John Micek 11. Aleia Geisler 12. Ryan Anderson 13. Andrew Krause 14. Ryan Wozunk 15. Brett Kelly 16. Brad Roberts
DNS: Chuck Buchman
Outlaw Stock Feature Finish (15 laps): 1. TERRY GRIFFIN 2. Tom Princiotta 3. Ron Dirkes 4. Jeff Dirkes 5. Bob Dooley 6. Tom Boehlert 7. Anthony DiBenedetto 8. Art Liedkta 9. Cheri LaClaire 10. Josh Denny