(Aug. 31, 2019): 2017 track champion Billy Pauch Jr. of , Frenchtown, NJ won his fifth Vahlco Wheels Modified feature event of the season in the first feature, and 2018 track champ David VanHorn of Harmony, NJ took his fourth win of the season in the nightcap at New Egypt Speedway on Saturday night. For Pauch Jr. it was career win number 26, tying him for 4th on the all-time Modified win list with Keith Hoffman and Frank Cozze. VanHorn’s tenth career victory came in one of the most exciting feature events in track history, as he bested Mike Butler and Brandon Grosso in a torrid three car battle for the win.
In the first event, heat race winner TJ Lilly grabbed the initial lead ahead of PJ Oliver, Rich Rutski and Cale Ross. Lilly looked strong in the early going as Rutski took over the runner-up position. Rutski was persistent and finally wrestled the lead away from Lilly on lap 9, but this was short lived as PJ Oliver roared back to life and raced from 4th to the lead on a restart to lead at the halfway mark. Oliver began to stretch his lead as fifth starting Kevin Vaclavicek raced into second and 13th starting Billy Pauch Jr. was now third. Pauch Jr. wasted no time as he quickly charged into second and reeled in the leader. Lap 13 saw Pauch Jr. grab the lead before the caution flew for a tangle between top five runners Danny Bouc and Vaclavicek. The restart saw Pauch Jr. pull away with ease as he cruised to his third Modified victory this week. Ryan Krachun drove from his 9th starting spot to finish a very solid second, besting David VanHorn, Brandon Grosso and Rutski, who completed the top five. In victory lane, Pauch Jr chose the child holding the inversion number 11, meaning that the top 11 finishers would be inverted for the start of the second Twin 20.
Billy Osmun and Danny Bouc made up the front row for the second feature with Bouc racing out to the lead. Bouc quickly opened up a lead with the rest of the pack virtually on his heels racing 2, 3, and twice 4 wide for the top 12 positions in a wild and crowd pleasing battle. With positions changing radically on each passing lap in the top ten Bouc continued to lead each lap. Finally on lap 9 ground swell behind Bouc caught up to the leader as Mike Butler and three other cars passed him on both sides. Two-time winner Butler now had the lead at the halfway sign, but the pressure was relentless from behind as VanHorn and Brandon Grosso raced side by side on his back bumper. The following lap this duo caught the cushion riding Butler and brought the crowd to their feet as they raced under Butler to make it three-wide for the lead. Unknown to the crowd, they would stay on their feet for the remaining last half of the race, as VanHorn & Grosso would not give each other an inch, racing side by side around the speedway lap after lap, and pulling up under Butler to make it 3-abreast in every corner of the speedway. On lap 16 VanHorn showed that his relentless pounding on the bottom groove was paying off as he finally got the bite he was looking for off turn 2 and nosed ahead into turn three. Just as DVH grabbed the lead he got into a little fluid on the bottom of turn four forcing the car to push up the speedway as if he was diving into the pits directly in front of the leaders. VanHorn made an incredible save on the far outside of the track as Butler shot by with Grosso in tow. VanHorn had not only saved it, but was right on the back bumper of the leader down the frontstretch and tried to swing back under Butler, however Grosso was right there as well with the two making hard contact but immediately recovering and both picking up the chase once again. In one lap it was back to the three-wide battle again and as the white flag flew VanHorn grabbed the lead on the low side of turn 4. The final lap saw Butler and Grosso battling for second as VanHorn went on to capture the exciting 20 lap event. Butler came home second, Grosso third, followed by Billy Pauch Jr. and Cale Ross.
Steve Davis of Jackson, NJ was victorious in the Hammer Sportsman 20 lap feature event. Early race leader and new point leader Jim Housworth came home second. John Criscione, David Burns and last week’s winner Ryan Heim rounded out the top five.