RPW Column: Very Nearly A Podium Night In Ulster Co. For Billy Pauch Jr.; Fifth At Battle Of The Bullring
Column By: DYLAN FRIEBEL / RPW – ACCORD, NY – The 2022 season wasn’t an easy one for Billy Pauch Jr.
A wreck late in the year at Brett Deyo’s Georgetown Speedway left the ‘Kids Kid’ with a broken back. It was the second big wreck Pauch has been involved in during the last three seasons. The other being at Port Royal Speedway in 2020 where he actually broke a hole through the turn three guardrail.
However, Pauch soldered on and on Tuesday night, he ventured up to Accord Speedway, a tight little bullring nestled in the New York’s Catskill Mountains and came home with a fifth place finish.
In years past, you wouldn’t see the Milford, New Jersey driver anywhere up in New York state. With the addition of a new sponsor, Shakelton Auto & Truck Parts, Billy is able to hit a few races up this way this year. Accord was the first of those for 2023.
“We are going to come back here (Accord Speedway) twice more this summer and the DIRT show at Albany (Saratoga) as well,” Pauch said. “George Shakelton came on board this year and has allowed me to come up a few times this year. I can’t do it all the time but we will come up between five and eight times this year. That’s plenty.”
For Pauch Jr., to be able to run up front with the ‘big dogs’ of New York is always an accomplishment, especially when Accord is unlike anything he will run down in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
“Yea, to run up front tonight is a win,” he said. “Our stuff is really better this year. I am so proud of these guys on this team for all the work they put in. The only thing that sucks coming up here is I won’t be home until like three in the morning but I’m proud of these guys.”
It was almost a podium for Pauch on a cool spring evening. However, contact with second place finisher Mat Williamson cut Pauch’s right front tire and he limped home on the final lap to a fifth place finish.
“He (Williamson) ran the same line for 15 to 20 laps,” he said. “I was following him the whole time and when I got alongside him, he switches to the bottom. I don’t know. Maybe he didn’t see me and didn’t know I was alongside him. The difference between third and second is $1,000. I needed to make the move. I just wasn’t ready for him to change lanes.”
When asked about the contact with Pauch, Williamson said he didn’t know he was there.
“I really didn’t know he was there until we made contact,” Williamson said. “With the left side doors we have on these cars now, I can’t see out the left side and Billy knows that. It’s been raised at driver’s meetings before how we can not see out that side when we have sail panels on.”
Back to Pauch. After having such scary wrecks like he’s had at Port Royal and Georgetown, it has to wear on his mind and body every time he straps into a car.
“It’s not easy on me,” Pauch said. “I thought it would be easier coming back from it all. What are you going to do though? You have to survive through it. It took five years off of my career. We are gonna go hard for now. I kind of want my son to get good enough so I can just retire.”
A fifth place run in the North Region of the Short Track Super Series is nothing to scoff at, or to be taken lightly. For Billy Pauch Jr., he’s showing that he’s not lost a step due to injury and will continue to be a force up North when he pulls into the track