New Egypt, NJ (April 15, 2018) - On Opening Night at New Egypt Speedway, presented by Oliver Communications Group, Billy Pauch, Jr. was victorious in the extra distance 40-lap Modified feature. Pat Wall topped the field in the Hammer Sportsman race. The Street Stock feature was won by Bill Liedtka. Ryan Heim took the checkered flag in the Lyons Construction/Metal Fab Rookie contest.
As the 40-lap double point Modified feature got underway, polesitter Steve Davis sped to the front with JR Fulper and Billy Pauch, Jr. next in line. With three tours completed, Pauch, Jr. had motored into second with Brandon Grosso advancing to third. On lap four, Pauch, Jr. was just about to take command of the race when the yellow flag waved for Brian Papiez. On the ensuing restart, Pauch, Jr. used the outside groove to drive by Davis and into the lead. After several caution periods and ten circuits in the books, Pauch, Jr. was still in control with Danny Bouc, Grosso, Dominick Buffalino, Jimmy Horton and Davis in tow.
Due to the total amount of circuits under green and yellow flag conditions, a fuel stop took place at lap seventeen with Pauch, Jr., Grosso, Bouc, David VanHorn and Kevin Vaclavicek in the top five positions. When racing got back underway, Pauch, Jr. retained his edge with Grosso holding onto second and VanHorn zipping into third. While cleanup of a lap eighteen multi-car tangle was occurring, Grosso went pitside and relinquished second place to VanHorn. Pauch, Jr. repelled a strong bid by Van Horn for the top running spot as action resumed. By the twenty-fifth tour, Pauch, Jr. was beginning to pull away from the pack with Bouc in second and VanHorn in third. As the leader was approaching the back of the field and with only six circuits remaining, the yellow lights illuminated for a slowing Ryan Krachun.
On the ensuing restart, Pauch, Jr. kept his lead with Bouc and VanHorn trying to track him down. Over the final laps, several minor incidents brought out the yellow flag including the final caution of the contest with one circuit to go. During this period, the second place running Bouc went to the pits with a right rear flat.
On the last lap shootout, Pauch, Jr., the 2017 division champion, held off VanHorn to earn the win. With VanHorn taking second, Modified rookie TJ Lilly finished in third place. Grosso rebounded to take fourth and Vaclavicek's strong performance earned him a fifth place finish. The Modified heat winners were Steve Davis, David VanHorn and Brandon Grosso. PJ Oliver was the victor in the consolation race.