Column By: BOBBY CHALMERS / RPW – SWEDESBORO, NJ – Bridgeport Motorsports Park has had a pretty frequent visitor to victory lane in the Modified division this season…Ryan Godown.
The Ringoes, NJ driver has held the checkered flag a track-leading six times after Modified feature events. Four of those wins have been in-a-row as of late.
Well, on Tuesday night during the Short Track Super Series’ South Jersey Shootout, he made it five in-a-row, and did so quite handily if you were to look at the box score.
Godown took the lead from Danny Bouc on a lap six restart and led the entire way to score the victory in the 50-lap $5,000-to-win South Region feature. However, he had to withstand some serious challenges to grab the win.
The first came from Jordan Watson but he ultimately had a right rear tire go down and then dropped from the event. Then, it was current North Region point leader Matt Sheppard and finally, Bridgeport track rival Ryan Krachun.
Winning on this night was far from easy for the Ringoes Rocket, including having to fend off Sheppard a number of times.
“Can you imagine Matt Sheppard restarting next to you ten times in a row,” Godown said. “You want to get a couple but then times? I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know if I should go late, or in the middle. He’s just so good at what he does.”
No matter what, Godown respects that driver that Sheppard is.
“Matt’s just so good at what he does,” he said. “It’s just so hard to get that little bit of an edge on a restart. He ran me clean and we ran clean the whole way.”
From the drop of the green flag, Godown’s #26 Bicknell was hooked up. He was able to get to second within a handful of laps before getting by Bouc on the lap six restart.
“This car was awesome tonight,” he said. “I can’t thank all of my guys enough. They are just tremendous. The support we’ve got for this program, the hours in the shop and everything.”
It’s that support that’s keep Ryan going through some tough times lately.
“I was a little laid up last week,” he said. “All the guys took over. They got everything done and my girlfriend, Chelsea, took care of me, trying to get back going and it all worked out. We just kept trying to plug away.”
Godown was very happy with how his car ran the entire night. Even with a small hiccup in his heat race, he was able to make up for it and get back into the redraw. That was huge but the fact he had a great piece under him was more important.
“The car fired really well right out of the gate,” he said. “Obviously, you don’t want to get to the front too early. You don’t want to be too good too early, as they say. I was hoping it didn’t go away but the track was pretty good tonight. In the beginning of the race, you could go to the bottom or the top. That’s all you can ask for.”
Late in the 50-lap event, Godown was committed to the top groove. As the circuits clicked off, Ryan Krachun found his way to second and began to challenge the leader. That forced Godown to make adjustments in his line on the track.
“The track started taking rubber and that’s the hard thing with leading,” he said. “I was kind of riding that little bit of a cushion. Then, it started getting black and obviously, Ryan (Krachun) knows on a Saturday night, like we do, what’s going to come next.”
“If I go in the black, and Ryan’s really good on the top here, and he gets a run off of it, it’s a double-edged sword,” he said. “I didn’t want to give it away there either so I kind of looked. Then, I went down lower and it felt really good. I just tried to stay my line there and hold the car straight so we wouldn’t ruin the tire.”
Krachun was ever so close to a Short Track Super Series victory on Tuesday night but came up just one spot short.
“I’ll take it tonight,” Krachun said. “To be up next to Ryan Godown and Matt Sheppard on a Short Track Super Series race, I’ll take that any day.”
The combination that Krachun ran in the event sure came on the longer the race went on and it very nearly helped him get to victory lane.
“We had a very fast Bicknell car here tonight with Morgantini 360 in it,” he said. “It rolled the bottom really nice and I was able to get a lot of positions early on in the race. Later on, we were able to run the top two down. I was able to get by Matt and start to run after Ryan.”
Getting to the leader and getting by him are two totally different things, though.
“I was chasing Ryan and I could see where I was faster than him,” he said. “When I got underneath him, I got tight and it was either put him in the fence or get out of the gas. I chose option number two.”
That move ultimately cost Krachun the win, but he’s okay with that.
“I don’t want to win that way,” he said. “That’s when I figured I’d race him clean and try to get back by him but, unfortunately, his experience showed tonight. Hopefully I can come back and get one of these things soon.”
Matt Sheppard finished third in the South Jersey Shootout. Early on, it looked like he had a car that could easily contend for the win, but the cards just didn’t fall his way.
“We had a good car,” Sheppard said. “We drew a poor number (12th) and I think we were every bit as good as the 26 was. Just was trying to get by him on one of those restarts and hung in on the bottom there and let Ryan (Krachun) get by. He ultimately may have been the best out of all of us.”
When he was in the runner-up position, with a lot of the race left to chase down the leader, did Sheppard feel like he had a shot at the victory?
“I think if I could have gotten by Godown on one of those restarts we had a good enough car to win,” he said. “All in all, Bridgeport’s not one of my better tracks. We start deep and drive up to second, battle for the lead at one point and come out of here with a podium, it’s still a good night for us.”
Ryan Watt drove from 18th starting spot to capture a fine fourth place finish and the event’s Hard Charger award with Danny Bouc completing the top five.
South Region Round No. 5 Modified Feature Finish (50 laps): RYAN GODOWN, Ryan Krachun, Matt Sheppard, Ryan Watt, Danny Bouc, Alex Yankowski, Mike Gular, Cale Ross, Richie Pratt Jr., Davey Sammons, Max McLaughlin, H.J. Bunting, Brandon Grosso, Billy Osmun, Ryan Riddle, Anthony Tramontana, Billy Pauch Jr., Matt Stangle, John Willman, Mike Trautschold, Neal Williams, W.B. James, Mike Mahaney, Jordan Watson, Clay Butler, Sam Martz.
Did Not Start: Anthony Perrego, Jeff Strunk
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire Certificates): Davey Sammons (10th) & Ryan Riddle (15th)
BDR Speed Hard Charger ($200): Ryan Watt (18th to fourth)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 Gift Cards): Ryan Watt (fourth) & Richie Pratt Jr. (ninth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($50): Matt Sheppard (Redrew 12th)
Bill Brown & Company Heat-Race Hard Charger ($50): Ryan Godown (eighth to third)
Danny’s Pizza Pizzazz Halfway Leader ($200): Ryan Godown
Design for Vision/Sunglass Central Winner’s Bonus (FREE Sunglasses): Ryan Godown
EIBACH Springs Bonus ($100 Certificate): Alex Yankowski (sixth)
FloRacing Heat Winner Bonuses ($50 each): Matt Sheppard, Brandon Grosso & Ryan Krachun
Henry’s Exhaust System Power Position ($50 Certificate): Max McLaughlin (11th)
Penske Racing Shocks Bonuses: Ryan Godown (winner – $150 certificate); Ryan Krachun (second – $75 certificate); Matt Sheppard (third – $50 certificate)
Schultz Racing Fuel Cells Bonus ($100 Certificate): Davey Sammons (10th)
Spyder Performance Filters Bonuses: Danny Bouc (fifth – FREE Filter); Ryan Riddle (15th – 50-percent off certificate)
Sunoco Race Fuels/Insinger Performance Bonuses ($50 Certificates): Ryan Krachun (second), H.J. Bunting (12th) & Mike Mahaney (22nd)
Wilwood Brakes ‘Lucky 7’ Award ($75 Certificate): Mike Gular (seventh)