WATT RACES TO BRIDGEPORT STSS VICTORY
Bridgeport, NJ – Five-time Bridgeport Speedway Champion, Ryan Watt, captured the South Jersey Shootout – the first Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled by Sunoco Short Track Super Series event to be held on the high banks of the Bridgeport Motorsports Park. It was also Watt’s first victory on the track designed by Doug Rose and company. “We’ve been so close here so many times,” Watt explained. “I think we have like six seconds here – we’ve just never been able to seal the deal,” Watt noted from the Weaknecht Archery Victory Lane.
Tuesday night’s event was the fifth STSS race to be run at Bridgeport. Three on the old 5/8th mile track won by Rick Laubach, Wade Hendrickson and Stewart Friesen, one on the 3/8th mile track won by Jeff Strunk and now Watt on the 4/10 mile configuration. Ellery’s Pub & Grill were the sponsors for this historic event.
The Modified feature event ran green to checkered in just under fifteen minutes. This was the sixth non-stop race of the season for the Foley Cat Modifieds and the first non-stop extra distance event of 2021. It was the third consecutive non-stop Modified feature event – that’s 110 non-stop laps of feature action.
“The car was good tonight right out of the box,” the feature winner explained. Watt qualified through his heat race, finishing second and in a redraw spot. Then Watt drew the outside pole.
Polesitter, Rick Laubach grabbed the lead on the start leaving Watt to battle Matt Shepperd for second. Laubach was able to pull away as Watt bested Shepperd for second. Current STSS point leader, Mike Mahaney ran fourth with Stewart Friesen rounding out the top ten through the first five laps.
By lap fifteen, Laubach had caught the back of the field as Watt reeled in the leader. Shepperd and Friesen were door to door, battling for third. The two drivers use slide jobs and crossovers to advance their positions. Friesen grabbed third only to have Shepperd battle back to regain the position on the next lap. Meanwhile, Mahaney rounded out the top five.
Laubach took the crossed flags at halfway but it was Watt who was out in front the next time around. Alex Yankowski was able to take away fifth from Mahaney as he raced in the top five.
Shepperd passed Laubach for second on lap thirty-three. With fifteen laps to go, Laubach,, Friesen and Yankowski were racing three wide for third.
As the laps counted down, Watt’s biggest hurdle was dealing with lapped traffic. With the quality of the cars competing, even the lapped cars were fast and therefore, were not easy to pass. Watt battled throughout the remaining laps to put Frank Cozze down a lap but the veteran driver from Wind Gap, PA was not going quietly. Watt was side by side with Cozze and the Renaldo No 401 but each time, Cozze was able to pull ahead. Danny Bouc played a similar role in the final laps. That allowed Shepperd to close in on the leader with Friesen closing in on Shepperd.
Watt navigated the final laps to perfection and sailed to the checkered flag for the win in the Design for Vision, Sunglass Central Modified fifty lapper. Shepperd trailed Watt to the flag followed by Friesen, Yankowski and Laubach. Mahaney, Anthony Perrego, Ryan Godown, Max McLaughlin and Dominick Buffalino completed the top ten in the running order at the end of fifty laps.
“I thought I had a pretty good shot,” Shepperd explained until the No. 9s developed a push late in the race. “I’m glad to come out of here with a second.” Shepperd added.
Not to be outdone, the Belmont’s Garage 602 Crate Sportsman, ran twenty-five non-stop green flag laps with Ryan Godown, Jr. leading from green to checkered in the non-stop event that was completed in just over seven and a half minutes.
Ryan Godown, Jr. led from the wave of the green to the wave off the checkered. The win gave Godown, Jr. is first “big” check. “I didn’t know where anyone was or where they were running,” Godown, Jr. explained. “I was finally able to get a look at the lap counter and saw twenty-one. I was glad to see that,” the young driver explained.
Brian Krummel raced the Cooney No. 12C to a second place finish over Sammy Martz, Jr., Ajay Potrzebowski, Jr. and Michael White. Ryan Simmons finished sixth followed by Joe Toth, Adam White, Ryan HIggs and Stephen Kemery.
It was a great show – three wide racing throughout the pack. A two division show completed in less than three hours with forty cars in each of the two divisions. The happy race rans left the speedway with a lot to talk about until their next race.
SHORT TRACK SUPER SERIES MODIFIEDS SOUTH REGION PRESENTED BY DESIGN FOR VISION & SUNGLASS CENTRAL (50 laps)
- Ryan Watt, 2. Matt Sheppard, 3. Stewart Friesen, 4. Alex Yankowski, 5. Rick Laubach, 6. Mike Mahaney, 7. Anthony Perrego, 8. Ryan Godown, Sr., 9. Max McLaughlin, 10. Dominick Buffalino, 11. Andy Bachetti, 12. Billy Pauch, Jr., 13. Dillon Steuer, 14. Jeff Strunk, 15. Mike Gular, 16. Joseph Watson, 17. Frank Cozze, 18. Neal Williams, 19. Danny Bouc, 20. Jordan Watson, 21. Brandon Grosso, 22. Sam Martz, Sr., 23. Jim Gallaghers, Jr., 24. Tyler Dippel, 25. Billy Osmun, III, 26. Ryan Krachun, 27. Matt Stangle, 28. John Willman, DNQ – Dakota Kessler, Skyler Sheriff, Tom Moore, Jr., Ryan Riddle, Troy Ale, Rick Wagner, Jr., Mike Franz, Steve Davis, H.J. Bunting, Craig VonDohren, Jimmy Horton, Richie Pratt, Jr.
SHORT TRACK SUPER SERIES BELMONT’S GARAGE CRATE 602 SPORTSMAN (25 laps)
- Ryan Godown, Jr., 2. Brian Krummel, 3. Sammy Martz, Jr., 4. A-Jay Potrzebowski, Jr., 5. Michael White, 6. Ryan Simmons, 7. Joe Toth, 8. Adam White, 9. Ryan Higgs, 10. Steve Kemery, 11. Tom Sherby, 12. Travis Hill, 13. Kyle Smith, 14. Sean Metz, 15. Anthony Tramontana, 16. Ethan Bill, 17. Cole Stangle 18. Justin Grosso, 19. Paul Mancini, 20. Ryan Stangle, 21. Matt Smith, 22. John Stevenson, 23. Billy Chester, 24. Matt Ellery, 25. Scott Hitchens, 26. Sean Weiss, 27. Ian Humphreys, DNQ – Cody Manmiller, Sean Weiss, David Crossman, Jon Meyer, Ryan Conrad, Will Protinick, Kenny Bock, Parker Guldin, David Jenkins, Doug Snyder, Ethan Young, Zac Weller, Logan Watt, Jim Dallett