Fast Start: Craig Von Dohren Opens Northeast Mod Season with $4,049 Georgetown Victory
Written by Chris Moore
GEORGETOWN, DE – Craig Von Dohren raced around Billy Pauch Jr. with 10 laps remaining to claim his third career Georgetown Speedway Small-Block Modified win in the 2022 lid-lifter.
Von Dohren’s victory was worth $4,049 in honor of Melvin L. Joseph, the Delaware business and auto racing icon who constructed the Sussex County oval in 1949 and opened it one year later.
After the weekend honoring Georgetown’s architect was shortened due to a wet and cold Saturday and Sunday forecast, Friday night’s program took center stage. Oley, Pa.’s Von Dohren was the star of the show.
“You work on these cars all winter long and you make no money… it’s good to get some money in my pocket to start the year,” proclaimed a happy Von Dohren in Victory Lane.
Sayreville, N.J.’s Dominick Buffalino and Milford, Del.’s Joseph Watson led the field to green in the 30-lap main event. Buffalino jumped out to the early lead, setting a torrid pace for the rest of the field to maintain.
A lap-six yellow reshuffled the deck and allowed Frenchtown, N.J.’s Billy Pauch Jr. to enter the fray. The “Kid’s Kid” used the outside lane from his sixth restarting position to drive around three cars and into third before the seventh lap was completed.
Pauch Jr.’s charge continued as he swept past Joseph Watson for second as the field completed the 10th circuit around the progressively banked half-mile.
Watson began to fade, as Anthony Perrego, Richie Pratt Jr., and Danny Bouc all followed Pauch Jr. by Watson to round out the top five one-third of the way through the 30-lap main.
A yellow on lap 12 once again reset the field, and Pauch Jr. the restart he was looking for with Buffalino nearly half a straightaway ahead when he got to second.
Pauch Jr. snagged the lead from his fellow Garden State competitor while Von Dohren had crept his way back into the top five on the restart.
Pauch Jr. claimed the $250 Halfway Leader bonus courtesy of Ad-Art Sign Company before a red flag flew for two cars colliding on the backstretch, with Norman Short getting upside down. He was uninjured.
After the ensuing red flag, Von Dohren fully established his presence as a threat to the leaders. Von Dohren moved into fourth just prior to the red, allowing him to restart on the outside in the second row.
Von Dohren drove around Sewell, N.J.’s Richie Pratt Jr. for third and quickly around Buffalino to take the runner-up spot. Von Dohren stalked Pauch Jr. for multiple laps, looking to set up his race-winning pass.
“Billy’s been so good, especially here, I didn’t expect to get around him in that reasonable amount of time,” said Von Dohren of his eventual winning pass.
Von Dohren’s drive around the outside of Pauch Jr. in turns one and two was ultimately the move that won him the race.
Pauch Jr.’s stout run ended on lap 22 with a broken suspension sending him to the pits.
A yellow on lap 24 gave Pratt Jr. a shot alongside Von Dohren and an attempt to steal the win away. Von Dohren would have none of it, driving away from Pratt Jr.
Pratt Jr. ended his night with a runner-up finish in his return behind the wheel of the Dan Sommeling-owned No. 51. Middletown, N.Y.’s Anthony Perrego rounded out the podium finishers in the Vinnie Salerno-owned No. 4* machine.
Boyertown, Pa.’s Mike Gular raced from 15th to finish fourth in the Terry Fasnacht-owned No. 2A and Pipersville, Pa.’s Danny Bouc rounded out the top-five in his self-owned No. 32.
Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were: Buffalino, who faded on the late race restarts; Brad Trice aboard the Jeff Brown-owned No. 9; Jordan Watson who ran in the top-10 for much of the race; Frank Cozze in the Dave Renaldo-owned No. 401; and Joseph Watson.
Masontown, Pa.’s Michael Duritsky concluded a dominant night with a $1,049 payday, winning the 20-lap First State Chevrolet RUSH Late Model feature event.
Duritsky used a lap-nine restart to surpass Gumboro, Del.’s Nick Davis for the lead he would ultimately never relinquish. After starting from the pole and dropping
Kerry King (Modified) and Jason Dean (Sportsman) claimed the Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Car feature events.
Jesse West won a thrilling 12-lap Delaware Super Truck feature, claiming a near three-wide battle at the line over R.J. Robinson and Robert Smith for the win.
After two wins in 2021, Jay Lowman started his 2022 season off on the right foot, dominating the Delmarva Charger feature to pick up the win.
Action resumes at Georgetown Speedway on April 8 & 9 with the Monster Truck Racing League returning to the Sussex County half-mile. Two complete shows make up the weekend, which includes freestyle motocross as well. For advance ticket sales visit the following link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/monster-truck-madness-tickets-261252712897.
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).
MELVIN L. JOSEPH MEMORIAL RESULTS – GEORGETOWN SPEEDWAY MARCH 11, 2022
Small-Block Modified Feature Finish (30 laps): CRAIG VON DOHREN, Richie Pratt Jr., Anthony Perrego, Mike Gular, Danny Bouc, Dominick Buffalino, Brad Trice, Jordan Watson, Frank Cozze, Joseph Watson, Mike Trautschold, Tanner Van Doren, H.J. Bunting, Eric Kormann, Sean Metz, Carson Wright, Doug Snyder, Mark Van Vorst, Matt Smith, John Santolin, Billy Pauch Jr., W.B. James, Eric Biehn, Norman Short Jr., Tom Solderich, Beau Wilkins, John Willman, Ryan Watt, Max McLaughlin, Robert Dutton, Tom Moore Jr.
Ad-Art Sign Company Halfway Leader ($250): Billy Pauch Jr.
Ken Bruce (Dirt Track Digest) Worst Redraw ($50): Richie Pratt Jr.
Rent Equip/Party Central Heat Winners ($50 Each): Max McLaughlin, Dominick Buffalino & Craig Von Dohren
The Four-Wide Podcast Hard Charger ($150): Carson Wright (31st to 16th)
RUSH Late Model Feature Finish (20 laps): MICHAEL DURITSKY, Trevor Collins, Nick Davis, Kerry King, Jr., Kyle Hardy, David Dill, Derek Magee, Ben Scott, Amanda Robinson, David Parsons.
Southern Delaware Vintage Modified Feature Finish (12 laps): KERRY KING, DJ Cameron, Jamie Eicholz, Roscoe Clough, Terry Chaney, Brayden Ritter, Harold Sylvester.
Southern Delaware Vintage Sportsman Feature Finish (12 laps): JASON DEAN, Gavin Baker, Maddie Jefferson, Nathan Austin, Dave Schamp, Chris Killen, David Tucker, Jamie Schirmer.
Delaware Super Truck Feature Finish (12 laps): JESSE WEST, R.J. Robinson, Robert Smith, Andrew Nelson, Tony Guinta, Zack Phillips, Sean Martinez, Chris Carroll, Wayne Gwaltney, JR Bergman, Thomas “Action” Jackson, Bruce Cornelius.
Did Not Start: Dan “String Bean”, Michelle Jackson
Delmarva Charger Feature Finish (12 laps): JAY LOWMAN, Geoff Carey, Ashley Merritt, John Bailey, Ron Falkner, Randy Merritt, Billy Cummings, Robbie Strain
Did Not Start: Scott Dunn