Bechtelsville, Pa. ? Last week at Grandview Speedway Ryan Godown destroyed the Johnny Rea-owned No. R1 when he flipped in the third turn during the feature. The ?Ringoes Jet? debated over the week whether or not to prepare the Big Diamond car and compete in the 39th annual Forrest Rogers Memorial 50-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Racing Series modified feature.
The team decided to burn the midnight oil, get the other car ready and return to the 1/3-mile Berks County oval. The choice paid off many times over. Godown overtook Ray Swinehart for the lead, after a 14 lap side-by-side battle, on the 30th lap and went on to capture the victory worth $10,000 for his second win of the season and his first ever in the memorial event broadcast live by RCN-TV.
In victory lane an emotional Godown dedicated the win to long-time friend Greg Spaetzle who recently passed away.
John Tschudy led two laps before Don Norris Jr. spun in the fourth turn that triggered a multi-car accident for the first yellow. Troy Wink charged into the lead on the restart trailed by Tschudy, Jeremy Banos, Cliff Quinn and Mark Kratz.
Mechanical problems plagued Tschudy as he slowed his pace going into the second turn and collected several others as the pack was grouped together. Wink held his own on the restart, but now the order behind him was comprised of Swinehart, Jason Smythe, Godown and Billy Pauch Jr. Swinehart became the third different leader on the fifth lap and was in search of his second win of the season and possibly his fourth win in the event he won in ?88, ?06 and ?05.
Behind Swinehart, Wink, Godown and Pauch Jr., Jeff Strunk and Duane Howard had their own battle for fifth with neither one giving in.
Lap cars were coming onto the scene by the 14th circuit and drivers had to use heads up techniques as some would not give way to the front runners. Godown overtook Wink for second on the 16th lap and set his sights on Swinehart.
The red was out on the 22nd lap when Wink hit the wall with heavy impact. He sustained a shoulder injury. Before the restart Craig Von Dohren, who started 22nd and was running fifth right in the thick of the battle went pitside with tire problems. A quick pit stop and he rejoined the pack. When action resumed Swinehart was still in command with Godown and Howard, a race neither one won; Strunk and Mike Gular, who came through from 26th in pursuit.
The running order at the Dan?s Deli 1/2-way hoagie award still consisted of Swinehart, Godown, Howard, Strunk and Gular.
After 14 laps of trying to pass Swinehart for the lead, Godown powered the Gechter Race Engines machine into the lead on the 30th lap. While Godown showed the way, Swinehart and Howard dueled for second with Strunk and Gular rounding out the top five. By the 37th lap Von Dohren was back in the hunt running fifth and on the move.
Howard took over second on the 43rd lap and took chase after Godown. In the later stages of the event and with the aid of lap cars Howard was closing in on Godown with a full head of steam.
No more cautions were needed once Godown took charge allowing anyone to get on his bumper to challenge him and time ran out for the chasers. At the drop of the checkered Godown pulled into victory lane for a well-deserved crowd-pleasing triumph. Finishing second was Howard, as victory in the memorial race eluded him again; followed by Strunk, Von Dohren and Swinehart. Sixth through tenth were Pauch Jr., Gular, who received the CornerStone Hard Charger award; Meme DeSantis, Smythe and Terry Meitzler, for the third race in a row.