By Charlie Brown, Delmar, DE – In 2010 Billy Pauch of Frenchtown, N.J. swept both the Small Block Modified and the Big Block Modified 50-lap mains in the Delaware State Dirt Track Championships. On Friday night, Pauch returned to defend his title driving the Kevin Bifulco/K&N Excavating/Bicknell. Pauch started in the fourth starting spot and took the lead from Bobby Drayten on lap 17. He then led the rest of the distance for his sixth Fall Championship win in the division.
Drayten brought the 30 car field to the green with Ryan Watt giving chase from second. The yellow was out before the first lap could be completed as Jamie Mills got around in the first turn. On the restart Drayten pulled out front with Watt, Richie Pratt, Jr., Ray Swinehart and Pauch in the top five.
Drayten began to pull away as Pauch worked by Pratt, Jr. into third. By lap five he had cleared Watt for second but Drayten had opened a 2.07 seconds advantage. That advantage was erased on the next circuit when Pratt, Jr. took a nasty flip in turn three landing on his roof. Pratt was able to exit the car quickly as a fire flared up in the rear of the vehicle but he was not injured.
On the restart, Watt made a bid to regain second but Pauch pulled back by to hold the spot. By lap nine he had begun to pressure the leader but Drayten was quick in the high groove. “There was some pretty stiff competition,” said Pauch. I’ll tell you, old Bobby Drayton, I wanted to get by him before it got down to one dominant groove.”
It would be awhile before Pauch was able to achieve that as Drayten consistently held off his challenges. A string of three cautions on laps 12, 13 and 14 kept the field tightly bunched . Back under the green Drayten again maintained the top spot until Pauch slipped by to lead lap 18.
Watt got by Drayten for second at the halfway sign as Jarrad Miller climbed from tenth to fourth dropping Swinehart to fifth. Lap 29 slowed the field once again as Chris Esposito slowed to a stop. On the restart, Jamie Mills, who had restarted in the rear at the beginning of the race, got by Miller to take fifth. With 11 laps to go, Mills worked by Swinehart into third.
With ten to go, Pauch had extended his lead to 5.42 seconds over Watt. This point also marked the end of Mills’ charge as he slowed down the back chute and drove into the pits. Pauch’s only scare came with five to go when he made contact trying to pass a lapped car on the front straight.
“There at the end with the lapped cars, God nobody wanted to move,” said Pauch. “They gave them the move over flag and they ran me harder.”
The final yellow flew on lap 46 when Mike McAleer spun in four. Pauch handled the restart with no problems and drove to the win followed by Watt, Swinehart, Wade Hendrickson and Drayten in the top five.
“Charlie always had a good track down here and that’s why we’re here and not at Middletown,” said Pauch in victory lane. “We can run the tires down here that we run all year. The car felt good but I’ll tell you my modified feels even better.” With the gamblers bonus and lap money Pauch’s win was worth $4905. Heats for the 33 cars were won by Watt, Drayton and Pratt with Duane Rust winning the consolation.
RESULTS: Small Block Modified Championship Finish: 1. Billy Pauch; 2. Ryan Watt; 3. Ray Swinehart; 4. Wade Hendrickson; 5. Bobby Drayten; 6. Jack Swain; 7. Jarrad Miller; 8. Shawn Reimert; 9. Jesse Hill; 10. Sammy Piazza; 11. Larry Solomon; 12. Nate Christman; 13. Neal Williams; 14. Duane Rust; 15. Brad Trice; 16. Mike McAleer; 17. Jamie Mills; 18. Ron Roberts; 19. Chris Esposito; 20. Stan Frankenfield; 21. Billy Briggs; 22. Scott Hulmes; 23. Pete Serra; 24. Ryan Grim; 25. AJ DeSantis; 26. Kevin Hirthler; 27. Bobby Firth; 28. Richie Pratt; 29. HJ Bunting; 30. Chris Hitchens; DNQ: Dwayne Heck; Duane Howard; George Richardson.