Matt Sheppard “Hauls” to $12,000-Plus Gary Simpson Memorial Victory at Georgetown

Written by Chris Moore

GEORGETOWN, DE – Matt Sheppard made the long haul from his hometown of Savannah, N.Y., to claim the first-ever Gary Simpson Memorial at Georgetown Speedway and the $12,000-plus top prize.

Sheppard came from the inside of the fourth row, taking the lead away on just the third circuit and never relinquished the spot, taking the inaugural Blue Hen Construction-sponsored ’12K for the 12K’ in honor of the late Gary Simpson.

The win for Sheppard was the third of his career with J.W. Brown Logging Modifieds at the Sussex County half-mile oval.

“This was a tough race on our schedule after racing last night,” explained Sheppard in front of a robust Georgetown crowd, “Gary Simpson was huge for racing, especially in this area… thanks to everybody for putting this race on. $12,000 for 32 laps is outstanding.”

Sheppard followed up his Thursday night win in the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco feature event at Utica-Rome Speedway in Vernon, N.Y., with his second win in as many nights – this one nearly doubling his pay from the prior night.

“We’re just glad we were able to get down here and be a part of this race and lady luck was on our side tonight,” continued an overjoyed Sheppard in Victory Lane.

Sheppard took home $12,892 including bonuses for the victory.

Sheppard began his quest from the seventh starting spot while Keystone State drivers Rick Laubach and Ryan Watt occupied the front row starting positions.

On the opening lap, Laubach launched over the embankment and outside the top-10, allowing Watt to lead the opening lap.

After yellow flags fell on each of the first two laps Sheppard was up to the third spot with Watt still leading and Milford, Del.’s Joseph Watson alongside.

Sheppard wasted no time on the ensuing restart, using the inside line to drive by both Watt and Watson to take the lead away.

Joseph’s brother Jordan – who won each of the first two Modified features of the season at Georgetown – was also moving through the field, sliding by Alex Yankowski to claim a podium position and set his sights on brother Joseph for second.

Jordan took the runner-up spot away from Joseph on lap six, with Yankowski following him one lap later to take the runner-up spot.

Watson and Yankowski continued to chase Sheppard for the lead, while Laubach was battling his way back forward after his opening lap excursion over the embankment, and brought Frenchtown, N.J.’s Billy Pauch Jr. with him as the two rounded out the top five at the halfway point.

The top five remained unchanged until a lap-21 yellow for a slowing Danny Hieber reshuffled the deck and brought Ringoes, N.J.’s Ryan Godown into the picture. Godown restarted from the seventh position after starting the main event in 21st.

While Godown was charging, Jordan Watson was throwing caution to the wind trying to get by Sheppard up front. Watson was venturing higher and higher up the racetrack in search of momentum as Sheppard continued to be steady on the bottom groove.

Rick Laubach’s back-and-forth night would come to a conclusion on lap 24, as his Ryan Kerr-owned No. 1K stopped in the third turn and wouldn’t refire.

After Laubach was pushed off the speedway, the final eight laps fired off without a hiccup and Sheppard found another gear, racing away from Watson to take the first Gary Simpson Memorial.

Jordan Watson followed up his two season opening wins with a runner-up, worth more than $5,000 aboard his Brent Hall No. 18. Covington Township, Pa.’s Alex Yankowski – a former driver of Gary Simpson’s No. 12K machine – rounded out the top three.

Ringoes, N.J.’s Ryan Godown was the Rent Equip/Party Central/Clayton Farms Hard Charger, claiming an extra $620 after coming from 21st to finish fourth. Pipersville, Pa.’s Danny Bouc rounded out the top five piloting his Craig and Leslie Pondish owned No. 6 forward from 17th starting position.

Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were: Neshanic Station, N.J.’s Matt Stangle in his family-owned No. 6 car; Boyertown, Pa.’s Mike Gular, piloting his Terry Fasnacht owned No. 2A; Belle Mead, N.J.’s Brandon Grosso; Joseph Watson, running as Jordan’s teammate in the Brent Hall Racing No. 18J; and Milford, Del.’s H.J. Bunting in the Blue Hen Racing No. 30 machine.

Heat winners, receiving $120 each courtesy of Jimmy and Linda Messick were Sheppard, Pauch Jr., and Watt.

Thirty J.W. Brown Logging Modifieds signed in and took the green in the 32-lap Gary Simpson Memorial.

Ryan Godown Jr. of Ringoes, N.J., went wire-to-wire in the Blue Hen Dispose-All Crate 602 Sportsman 22-lap feature. The win garnered Godown Jr. with a $1,212-plus payday for his efforts.

Joe Toth made a late charge, getting alongside Godown Jr. at the white flag, but that was all he could accomplish, settling for second. Steve Kemery, Ryan Simmons, and Jordn Justice rounded out the top five.

Kerry King dominated the Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Car 12-lap feature, topping the Modified portion of the event. Cale Pettyjohn finished third overall and was the highest finish Sportsman Vintage car across the line.

Kirk Lawson returned to his winning ways in the 12-lap Little Lincoln feature. Lawson used his favorite line, tiptoeing around the outside of the speedway to race to the front and claim the victory.

Robert Smith bested brother Matt Smith to take the Delaware Super Truck 12-lap feature event. Zack Phillips rounded out the top three.

Joe Waters dominated all 12 laps of the Delmarva Charger feature, winning the first feature of the Friday night program.

Georgetown Speedway is back in action Tuesday, August 30 as the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco invades the Sussex County half-mile oval as Melon 1 presents the ‘Blast at the Beach.’ The Delaware Super Trucks and Delmarva Chargers join the STSS Modifieds and STSS Crate 602 Sportsman for the late Summer classic.

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 Like Georgetown Speedway on Facebook, follow @thegtownspdwy on Twitter, e-mail or contact the speedway hotline at 302.563.GTWN (4896).


J.W. Brown Logging Modified Feature Finish (32 laps): MATT SHEPPARD, Jordan Watson, Alex Yankowski, Ryan Godown, Danny Bouc, Matt Stangle, Mike Gular, Brandon Grosso, Joseph Watson, HJ Bunting, Billy Pauch Jr., Jeff Strunk, Jimmy Horton, Richie Pratt Jr., Ryan Riddle, John Willman, Carson Wright, Matt Smith, Norman Short Jr., Austin Hubbard, Danny Hieber, Rick Laubach, Wade Hendrickson, Beau Williams, Scott Hitchens, Ron Myers, James Hill, Ryan Watt, Kevin Sockriter, Sean Weiss.

Ad-Art Sign Company Spec Small-Block Bonus ($250): John Willman (16th)
Bob Hilbert Sportswear “Hot Lap Hero” ($300): 
Matt Sheppard
Clayton Farms Hard Charger Bonus ($120): 
Ryan Godown (21st to fourth)
Clayton Farms Hard Luck Award ($120): Wade Hendrickson
Clayton Farms Lap-24 Leader ($120):  
Matt Sheppard
Clayton Farms 12th on Lap 24 Bonus ($120): 
Jeff Strunk
Clayton Farms Halfway Leader Bonus ($120): 
Matt Sheppard
Clayton Farms 12th at Halfway Bonus ($120): 
Ryan Riddle
Clayton Farms 24th at Halfway Bonus ($120): 
Wade Hendrickson
Clayton Farms 12th Driver to Redraw Bonus ($120): 
Wade Hendrickson
Clayton Farms Redrew 12th Bonus ($120):  
Matt Stangle
Jimmy & Linda Messick Pole Starter Bonus ($120): 
Rick Laubach
Jimmy & Linda Messick 2nd-Place Starter Bonus ($120): 
Ryan Watt
Jimmy & Linda Messick Lap-12 Leader Bonus ($120): 
Matt Sheppard
Jimmy & Linda Messick 12th-Place Finisher Bonus ($120): 
Jeff Strunk
Jimmy & Linda Messick Heat Race Winners ($120 each): 
Matt Sheppard, Billy Pauch, Jr. & Ryan Watt
Kruger Trailers “First to the Trailer” Award ($250): Sean Weiss
Michael Maresca Racing Lap-Seven Bonuses ($112 each): 
Matt Sheppard (first on lap seven); Billy Pauch Jr. (seventh on lap seven); Ryan Riddle (12th on lap seven)
Paradise Senior Living Top Delaware Driver ($400): 
Jordan Watson (second)
Rent Equip/Party Central Hard Charger ($500): 
Ryan Godown (21st to fourth)

Blue Hen Dispose-All Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (22 laps): RYAN GODOWN JR., Joe Toth, Steve Kemery, Ryan Simmons, Jordn Justice, Adam White, Eric Kormann, Greg Humlhanz, Tom Sherby, Bobby Watkins, Scott Hitchens, Sean Metz, Nick Van Wickle, Brian Hughes, Shawn Ward, Tom Moore Jr., Jason Musser, Howard Huepfel, Brian Rogers, Brandon Watkins, Aaron Headley, Freddy Massey, Matt Ellery, Chris “Tippy” Martinez, Richie Walls Jr., Jacob King, Jeff Marker

Did Not Qualify: Dakota Kohler, Trey Hicks, Luke Bunting, Michael White, Trent Willey, Steve Yankowski, Tracy Gauger Rodney Cordrey, Ashley Metz, Greg Nailor, Mia Guy, Justin Grosso

Taylor & Messick Pole Starter Bonus ($120): Ryan Godown Jr.
Taylor & Messick 2nd-Place Starter Bonus ($120): 
Ryan Simmons
Taylor & Messick Lap 12 Leader Bonus ($120): 
Ryan Godown Jr.
Taylor & Messick 12th-Place Finisher Bonus ($120): 
Sean Metz
Taylor & Messick 12th (or last) Place Consolation Finisher ($120): Trent Willey
Taylor & Messick 12th (or last) Place Consolation Starter ($120): Jacob King
Taylor & Messick Heat Race Winners ($120 each): Tom Moore Jr., Adam White, Joe Toth & Steve Kemery

Southern Delaware Vintage Modified/ Sportsman Combined Feature Finish (12 laps):  KERRY KING – Modified Winner, DJ Cameron – M, CALE PETTYJOHN – Sportsman Winner, Roscoe Clough, Maddy Jefferson, Terry Chaney, Chris Killen, Dave Schamp, Nathan Austin, Garritt Reagan, Jason Dean  – M, Brayden Ritter – M, Todd Miller, Mike Harmon, Jamie Schirmer, Robert Blann, Glenn Lyon

Little Lincoln Feature Finish (12 laps):  KIRK LAWSON, Dylan Betts, Mel Joseph, Jr., Eric Reed, Matt Jester, Jordan Herbert, Todd Sammons, Wayne Seaton, Scott Calhoun, Bryan Piercy, MJ White, Ryan Walsen, Bunky White, James Harmon

Delaware Super Truck Feature Finish (12 laps): ROBERT SMITH, Matt Smith, Zack Phillips, Tony Guinta, David Smith, DJ, Wayne Gwaltney, Steve Portillo, Troy Hopkins, Bruce Cornelius, Jerry Hill, Dan Streebig, Angel Carroll, Jesse West, Scott Trice, Bill Dean, Cameron Benson.

Delmarva Charger Feature Finish (12 laps): JOE WATERS, Jay Lowman, Ashley Merritt, Garrett Smith, Robert Strain, Jonathan Pitcher, Tyler Hottle, Randy Merritt, Billy Cummings, John Bailey, Paul Gary.