Ryan Godown capped a banner year with another $20,000 payday on Saturday night, capturing the ‘Gunslinger 40’ at the Boothill Speedway, the finale of the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet ‘Cajun Swing’ Presented By Wegner Automotive and the entire Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco 2022 season.
The win was Godown’s second of the week, fifth of the season on the STSS tour and 13th of his career, third all-time. The victory also served as his 20th overall in 2022, the first time the driver from Ringoes, N.J., has hit the milestone.
After heavy rains in the area on Friday night, track crews worked tirelessly to manicure saturated clay on the high-banked oval.
“I thought we might not get 20 (wins) after getting a flat with two to go the other night,” Godown said in Victory Lane. “But, I told my guys before tonight that, no matter what, we were going to get it done.
“Brett (Deyo, STSS promoter) has put up a lot of money this year, and we wanted to support him this week and tonight, no matter what,” Godown added. “The $20,000 makes it that much sweeter,” he said with a laugh.
Craig Whitmoyer and Steve Davis led the field to the green flag, and it was Whitmoyer taking the early lead. The early battle was for third, and it was a heated one, between Godown and David Schilling. Godown took the spot on the second lap, Schilling crossed him and took it back before Godown stole it for good on lap three.
It took just five laps for Whitmoyer and the rest of the frontrunners to reach lapped traffic at the small and tight Boothill Speedway. When Whitmoyer cut under a gaggle of slower cars, he bounced hard entering turn one and hopped on the bike. With Whitmoyer in a lurch, the rest of the top five scrambled to find open space, but Schilling caught the short end of the stick, eventually stopping between turns one and two to bring out the caution.
Whitmoyer and Davis controlled the restart again with Godown, Tyler Siri, Joe Brown, Andy Bachetti and Danny Creeden following them to the green.
Godown pulled next to Davis on the homestretch, but Davis remained steady and held the second spot. On lap 10, just as Whitmoyer again reached lapped traffic, the yellow bunched the field again.
On the next restart, Godown pulled the trigger to take second from Davis, ahead of Siri, Bachetti and Creeden. Another caution flag flew on lap 15 and Godown pounced on the opportunity.
Off of turn four, Godown launched ahead of Whitmoyer and snatched the lead for good. On lap 18, however, disaster struck for the runner up. Whitmoyer grabbed some traction and the car whipped around, with Siri, Davis and Creeden all suffering some damage.
With still 22 laps left, Godown led Siri, Creeden, Bachetti, Brown and Schilling. On the restart, Creeden took second from Siri. At the halfway mark, Schilling took fifth from Brown and began closing on Bachetti.
Down the stretch, it was clear Godown was onboard the best car of the field and cruised to the 40-lap victory, ahead of Creeden and Siri.
“We fired off really good off to bottom and I tried to get the top going again in three and four like I did in the heat race, but it was just too choppy,” Godown said of the race.
“I put my guys through it all year, but I thank them so much for their dedication; it’s time to rebuild and replace and get ready for next season,” he added.
Creeden couldn’t complain about his runner-up result.
“It was a fun week and a long week, especially with fighting our motor problems early,” he said. “Man, this is pretty cool, I want to come back!”
Siri landed on the podium for the first time of the week in the highest-paying event of the Cajun Swing.
“I was trying to save the car for a long week,” Siri said. “But tonight, I told my guys I was going to be more aggressive and the track was fun, you just had to be smart.
“Brett (Deyo) has been putting the hard work – and a lot of money – into building a market down here and we will support him as much as we can,” Siri continued.
Bachetti and Schilling, two mainstays in the top five all week, rounded out the top five.
Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were: Rudolph, who battled back from the mayhem on lap 18 to place sixth; Brown, picking up another respectable finish; Whitmoyer rallied for eighth after leading a bunch of laps in the early going; J.R. Hurlburt snagged a top-10 finish in ninth; and Dale Wester, a Cajun regular, jumped into the upper tier by rounding out the top 10.
Saturday night caps, not only a banner year for Godown, but a historic campaign for the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco with 26 events and the birth of the unprecedented Halmar International STSS Elite Series.