Story By: BRETT DEYO / SHORT TRACK SUPER SERIES – WURTSBORO, NY – As the 2017 season looms, longtime car owner Gary Mann is set to begin a new chapter for his New York Truck Parts race team.
When the Northeast Modified campaign gets the green flag in Delaware at Georgetown Speedway on Saturday, March 11, Mann turns over the controls of his potent Modifieds to “the Doctor” Danny Johnson. Mann said the combo’s first ‘17 start together would take place in the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By VP Melvin L. Joseph Memorial lid-lifter at the Georgetown half-mile.
Mann and his Wurtsboro, N.Y.-based team will focus on STSS competition, both in the Halmar International North Region and Velocita USA South Region of the series.
“We’re focusing on the Short Track Super Series races,” Mann said. “We aren’t planning to run the car anywhere on the weekends. It works better as a team owner to race these shows where the payout is good. We’ll be at every North and South race that Danny is able to run without conflicts on his schedule. It looks like we’ll hit about 90 percent of the races.”
Mann has Teo-Pro cars and JPM powerplants ready for Johnson’s STSS bid. The cars will carry Johnson’s trademark No. 27J in lieu of Mann’s 55. Sponsorship comes from Shakelton NAPA Auto Parts and Deckelman Trucking.
The pair made their debut as a team last December at N.Y.’s Accord Speedway for the ‘Gobbler’ finale and showed their form with a heat-race victory. However, a series of early tangles in the main event left them on the sidelines and anxiously awaiting the March opener.
“Danny’s record on the track speaks for itself,” Mann said. “Right now it works for me and for him to do this type of schedule. I’m looking forward to it.”
Mann and Johnson have plenty of reason to be optimistic heading into the Melvin L. Joseph Memorial Georgetown opener. Mann’s car – with Anthony Perrego at the wheel – won last year’s 49-lap event.
Johnson, meanwhile, made the long haul south from his Rochester, N.Y., home last November to run the Georgetown Mid-Atlantic Championship finale and – utilizing a unique line – nearly stole the show, finishing runner-up to Pennsylvania’s Rick Laubach in the 40-lap main.
The Melvin L. Joseph Memorial is the first of eight STSS Velocita South Region events to be contested in 2017 and launches the series’ lucrative championship battle.
Joining the STSS Modifieds on the program are the Crate 602 Sportsman paying $1,000 to win and $100 to start plus Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Cars, Little Lincolns, Delmarva Chargers and Delaware Super Trucks.
On March 11, pit gates will open at noon. Grandstand gates will be unlocked at 1 p.m. Hot laps get underway at 3 p.m., with racing at 4 p.m.
Adult grandstand admission is $20. Seniors (ages 65 and up) and Students (ages 13-17) pay $16. Kids 9-12 pay $10 and Children eight and under are FREE. Pit admission is $35 (ages 13 and up), $10 (ages 6-12) and $2 (five and under).
A rain date of Sunday, March 12 is in place for the Melvin L. Joseph Memorial.
Two practice sessions will precede this event. The first is set for Saturday, March 4. The second takes place on Friday night, March 10.
Overnight camping will be permitted on site and teams may leave their haulers in the pit area from Friday to Saturday.
The recently remodeled Quality Inn (formerly Comfort Inn) just north of the speedway on Route 113 in Georgetown, is offering the following discounted rates for the Melvin L. Joseph Memorial on both Friday and Saturday nights: $98.10 for Double Beds; $89.10 for a King Size bed; $107.10 for a Suite. Call the Quality Inn directly at 302.854.9400 and mention Georgetown Speedway to receive the discount.