GEORGETOWN, DE – Matt Sheppard continued his otherworldly campaign for 2022, headlining Thursday’s Melon 1 ‘Blast at the Beach’ Presented by Sussex Diesel at Georgetown Speedway with Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco.
“No matter where we’ve been this year, our race car has been so good,” said an elated Sheppard at Victory Lane. “It’s nice to be back in Georgetown, we had a different racing surface tonight, but we had a really good car.
2022 Short Track Super Series at Georgetown Speedway
Sheppard survived a war of tire wear to earn his 28th career STSS win, second on the all-time wins list and now just seven behind Stewart Friesen, the all-time leader in STSS wins. .
Sheppard’s victory was the seventh of the STSS season and the second in the Hurlock Auto & Speed Supply South Region. The Savannah, New York native took home $6,250 for his win in the 35-lap event.
Sheppard also took home the exclusive ‘Surfboard Trophy’ presented to the annual winner of ‘Blast at the Beach’.
“I was thinking about how the winner gets one of those cool surfboards and we don’t have one yet so it’s cool to finally have one,” Sheppard said.
After the redesign of the Beyea Custom Headers, Sheppard shot from fourth starting position. Stewart Friesen of Sprakers, NY and Mike Gular of Boyertown, Pennsylvania filled the front row at series starter Joe Kriss’ green flag drop.
Friesen led the first two laps before Gular, using the outside rut, raced around Friesen and moved into the lead.
A lap later, Sheppard used slide work to knock Friesen out of runner-up position and set his sights on Gular up front.
As Sheppard tried to run over Gular, a three-car battle was heating up for fourth place.
Mike Mahaney of Elizabethtown, New York, and Billy Pauch Jr., of Frenchtown, New Jersey, were eye to eye with Ryan Godown, of Ringoes, New Jersey, just a car’s length behind the brawl between brothers-in-law.
At the eighth circuit, Gular opened the door for Sheppard.
The driver of the No. 2A, owned by Terry Fasnacht, slid wide, almost over the embankment, spoiling his momentum out of the corner and allowing Sheppard to overtake him.
A yellow lap later forced a restart which allowed Friesen to pass Gular as well for second place. Friesen found another gear around the lap 15 mark, when he began to lurch into Sheppard while the leader was working through lap traffic.
Friesen approached Sheppard’s rear bumper numerous times before a caution came out on lap 29 that would set the stage for a dramatic final six laps.
Jordan Watson of Milford, Delaware became the first to suffer a puncture.
A lap later, Friesen, who was running second, and Ryan Godown, who was running fifth, came to a lame stop.
Another yellow flew on lap 32, when Pauch Jr., running fourth, and Alex Yankowski of Covington Township, Pa., running seventh, fell victim to right rear tire punctures.
The last three laps of the ‘Blast at the Beach’ passed without further incident, earning Sheppard the payday of more than $6,000.
Gular came home with the runner-up position.
“I realized right away we weren’t going to make it (with tyres) if I kept running that hard, so I let them go and it paid off with a second.”
Mahaney, the defending South Region champion, completed the podium.
“I got hung up on the outside on a lot of those restarts and that got us back, but I saved the right rear enough for us to get back forward when other guys got punctured.
Ryan Watt of Boyertown, Pennsylvania, came home in fourth place and as the Bintelli of Delmarva Street Legal Carts/Mullins Auto Broker $500 Hard Charger for the second consecutive race in the Southern Region.
Friesen took advantage of his fresh right rear tire to make a late-race charge to complete the top five and win the Bob Hilbert Sportswear $250 Move of the Race award.
Finishing sixth through tenth, respectively, were: Matt Stangle of Neshanic Station, NJ, who drew the first yellow of the race on lap nine with a left rear tire cut; Jeff Strunk of Bechtelsville, Pa., who limped across the line; Ryan Godown, who charged like Friesen after a flat late in the race to salvage a top-10 finish; Joseph Watson of Milford, Del., who came home with a quiet top 10; and Jordan Watson rounded out the top-10.
The series winners, who received $50 each from FloRacing, were Godown, Gular and Sheppard.
Tom Sherby, of Petersburg, NJ, claimed his second career STSS victory in the Crate 602 Sportsman division, both at the ‘Blast at the Beach.’
Sherby, who started from pole, led all 25 laps of the main event.
Sherby took home a $1,500 payday for his efforts, beating out Ryan Simmons, Joe Toth, Eric Kormann and Logan Watt.
Robert Smith topped a thrilling 12-lap Delaware Super Truck performance, edging out brother Matthew Smith for the win. Jerry Hill rounded out the top three.
Jay Lowman captured his second consecutive Delmarva Charger feature, running from last to first Geoff Carey and Garrett Smith.
Next up for the STSS is the ‘New Yorker’ at New York’s Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday, September 4 with a 50-lap STSS Modified event that pays $25,000 to win (Halmar International ‘Elite’ Series Round No. 3 & River Valley Builders North Region Round No. 8).
Georgetown Speedway, originally built by Melvin L. Joseph in 1949, is located at the intersection of Route 113 and Speedway Road in Georgetown, Del., just miles from Delaware beaches and less than a 40-minute drive from Ocean City, Del. Maryland.
There is an active website for the speedway at www.thegeorgetownspeedway.com. Like Georgetown Speedway on Facebook, follow @thegtownspdwy on Twitter, email [email protected] or contact the Speedway hotline at 302.563.GTWN (4896).
For more information on the Short Track Super Series powered by Sunoco, visit www.shorttracksuperseries.com, email [email protected], check out ‘Short Track Super Series’ on Facebook or @ShortTrackSS on Twitter or Instagram.