By ALISON WATSON
DELMAR, DE – “Flying” Ryan Watt collected the $3,000 to win, 46th Annual Camp Barnes Benefit Stock Car Race for the second time in a row, winning the event in 2017 and 2018. Watt, who has become a fan favorite at the Delaware ½ mile said in victory lane, “Delaware has great fans, great people and it is the home state for my car owner (Ron Roberts). We enjoy coming down here and this is a great cause for Camp Barnes.”
Watt quickly pounced on the pole sitter, Matt Hawkins, from his third place starting position, utilizing the Delaware start technique. Watt drove to the bottom of turns one and two and completed the pass for the lead on lap one. Watt would keep the lead for the remainder of the 25-lap event, utilizing the top of the speedway.
“The track was racy, but the top was the fast way around,” said Watt. “You could get a run on them and then cross them over.”
Watt was not to be unchallenged, as “The Kid’s Kid,” Billy Pauch, Jr., took over the second position, going three-wide with Hawkins and HJ Bunting on lap one. Pauch Jr. remained on Watt’s rear bumper for majority of the race.
On a lap 18 restart, Pauch Jr. showed his muscle, getting underneath Watt for the lead. The top of the racetrack would prove to be the fastest way around the track, as Watt motored off the top of the second corner to maintain the top position.
Pauch Jr. would get one more opportunity with a single lap shootout, but could not overcome Watt. “It came down to the draw. We were just as good as Watt. We are starting to get better on these bigger tracks down here. Last time we came we got lapped.”
Ironically, Pauch Jr. had already provided a donation to the Delaware State Police prior to the Camp Barnes Benefit, when he was pulled over in tow to the event Tuesday night on Delaware roadways. It is safe to say his night got better.
Jordan Watson put on the ultimate duel with “The Sensational One,” Jimmy Horton every lap of the feature event. The two would swap positions and diamond the corners to find the shortest way around the fast track surface. Ultimately Watson passed Horton for the third position on a last lap restart.
“We were not too bad tonight. I wish I could have got Jimmy when we were still double-file so I could have tried Watt and Pauch on the last restart. I just love racing with these guys, I can always learn so much by racing with them,” said Watson in post-race interviews. Watson was the highest finishing Delaware driver for the coveted event.
Pole sitter, Matt Hawkins, rounded out the top five, after falling back to seventh position mid-way through the feature. Hawkins put on a three-wide battle with local drivers, Carson Wright and Robert Dutton for many laps. The track conditions suited Hawkin’s preferred driving style; fast and on the high-side.
Carson Wright was fast and impressive throughout majority of the feature event, for many laps competing with Watson for the fourth position. On lap 17, Wright brushed the front and back stretch wall, ultimately succumbing to a flat right rear tire with one to go.
Notably, Saturday night’s victor, HJ Bunting started in the second position. On lap two, Bunting slowed and was pushed into the infield.
Longtime racer and car owner, Gary Simpson, came out of retirement for the event to experiment with his brand new Teo “Probot.”
With rain circling the area most of the afternoon, the car counts were slightly down as a few anticipated invaders did not risk the tow. A short shower sprinkled on the facilities prior to the driver’s meeting, and a warm, precipitation-free night continued.
Scott Hitchens started on the pole for the 15-lap AC Delco Crate Modified feature event and swatted off many challenges by Greg Humlhanz and Trent Willey.
Hitchens, who had intentions to move into the big block modified division this season has been plagued with motor woes. The team decided last minute to put together the crate modified for the event. “We have hurt two big blocks motors this season, so we came out to have some fun. The toters empty so Brandon (Blades, car owner) said I needed to make some dollars to fill it up tonight. I think this will do it,” said Hitchens in victory lane.
Humlhanz, who won the feature event on Saturday night challenged Hitchens on the bottom of the race track multiple times, nearly completing the pass early in the event, when a caution flag waved for a spinning car.
Trent Willey, who has been absent from dirt track racing for many years, after a successful stint in the crate and big block modified divisions made his second appearance of the season. During the middle of the feature event, Willey appeared to be the strongest car on the track. Willey eventually faded to the third position.
John Calloway was one of the few crate modifieds that consistently got wound up on the top side of the race track. Calloway fought Ryan Riddle for majority of the race for the fourth position. The top-side in the long run won, with Riddle settling for fifth.
To prove how level the playing field was, the top three’s fastest lap times were all identical; only varying by hundredths of a second.
James Hill continued his dominance in the modified lite feature event, leading wire to wire to capture the 15-lap feature event. Jerry Barker, Aaron VanVorst, Curt Miles, Jr., and Ray Gulliver rounded out the top five.
AMANDA WHALEY SWEEPS CAMP BARNES WITH SUPER AND CRATE LATE MODEL VICTORIES
Amanda Whaley went two for two, sweeping the S.R. Pete and Sons Super Late Model and RUSH Crate Late Model feature events, earning more than $3750 with contingency monies.
Patience was of a virtue as Whaley defended multiple challenges to win the 20-lap S.R. Pete and Sons Super Late Model feature event. Whaley redrew the pole position and quickly established that she would be a threat for the victory.
As Whaley developed a blistering pace on the topside of the track, heavy hitters, Ross Robinson, Dale Hollidge, and Austin Hubbard were duking it out, as Ricky Elliott lurked in the fifth position.
By lap 10, Hubbard got underneath Robinson off the second turn and drag raced down the backstretch, securing the second position. Whaley, with nearly a straightway lead was battling dense lap traffic, allowing Hubbard to begin closing the gap.
By halfway, track invader, Hollidge began putting pressure on Robinson and Hubbard for the second and third positions.
On lap 15, the first caution of the event waved, erasing Whaley’s six second advantage over Hubbard, Hollidge, Robinson, and Elliott.
On the restart, everyone would be on their feet, as Hubbard dove to the bottom of turns one and two and put a slide job on Whaley. Whaley would return the favor and drag race Hubbard down the backstretch and slide in front of his nose in turns three and four.
Hubbard would come off turn four towards the start finish line edging out Whaley when the yellow flag waved. A lap was not completed and Whaley would return to the point for the Delaware start.
On the next start, Hollidge wanted to get in on the action. Hubbard would dive to the bottom of Whaley, as Hollidge went to the top of the racetrack. Whaley would maintain the lead with Hollidge filing into second.
Ricky Elliott and last weekend’s winner, Dylan Evans would make contact on the back straightway and spin, bringing out another caution.
Hollidge went to the bottom of Whaley on the next start, with Whaley on the brim of the cushion in turns one and two. As Whaley shot out of turn two, the leader crossed up with second place runner Hollidge, who then collected third place runner, Austin Hubbard. Unfortunately, both cars were done for the night.
With five to go, Whaley continued her lead with Robinson, Elliott, Kevin Scott, and Evans rebounding into the top five. Elliott was one of the few racing the very bottom line of the track.
With two laps remaining, Whaley approached two-deep lap traffic and made contact with one of the lapped cars. The lapped car came to a stop and the caution flag waved.
It was a green, white, checker finish with Whaley holding off Robinson, a hard charging Elliott, Scott, and Evans.
“Austin (Hubbard) can take the water truck out here and win. I shot off of turn two and I did not mean to do all that. I just overdrived,” said Whaley in victory lane in regards to the lap 16 incident.
Second and third place finishers, Robinson and Elliott were complimentary of Whaley’s achievement of the night. “This is her kind of track. She shines on this kind of surface. She deserves it, I’m glad she could win if, I could not,” said Robinson.
Matt Hill had luck on his side, drawing the number one pill to start on the pole of his qualifying event and then redrawing the pole for the feature event.
Hill maintained a consistent pace to lead the field with Amanda Whaley quickly going to work to reel him in. By lap 10, Whaley closed in on the bumper and got under Hill with a drag race off turn two. Whaley completed the pass coming out of turn four with Hill charging to the top in turns one and two trying to regain the top position.
Whaley would maintain the lead over Hill, Matt Glanden, Brandon Sturgis, and Billy Thompson to win the 15-lap feature event.
“Matt (Hill) started to fade a little bit and we were getting better,” said Whaley in victory lane.
Landy Adams captured the Little Lincoln 10-lap feature event, after passing cousin Kirk Lawson and last week’s winner, Joe Tracey.
Joe Tracey took the early lead with Kirk Lawson showing speed on the top groove of the speedway. By lap three, Lawson took over the top spot, with Adams navigating through traffic from the rear of the field.
At halfway, Adams was showing his strength, as he had worked to the third position. On a restart with two laps remaining, Adams dove to the bottom of Tracey and Lawson to take the lead. Lawson would try a last ditch effort, but unable to hold off Adams for the win.
In the Delaware Super Trucks, David Smith went from seventh to first and held on for a dominating win over Noah Vincent, Curt Miles, Jr., Dale Elliott, and Jerry Hill.
Camp Barnes was established in 1947 by the Delaware State Police. Today, through donations, fundraising, and grants, campers can attend the facility for free! The Camp Barnes Benefit Stock Car Race is a significant fundraising event for the camp, and a crown jewel for local racers.
Annually, the Delaware State Police honor a member of the racing community at the event. This year, veteran driver, Hal Browning was the honoree.
The Delaware State Police made the night a spectacle with the mounted patrol unit, aviation, sky divers, and more on hand.
Hurlock Auto and Speed Big Block Modifieds Feature Finish: RYAN WATT, Billy Pauch, Jr., Jordan Watson, Jimmy Horton, Matt Hawkins, Kevin Sockriter, Howard O’Neal, Scott VanGorder, Jordn Justice, Mike White, TJ Williams, Carson Wright, Jim Britt, Robert Dutton, Dale Hawkins, Clay Tatman, Gary Simpson, HJ Bunting
AC Delco Crate Modified Feature Finish: SCOTT HITCHENS, Greg Humlhanz, Trent Willey, John Calloway, Ryan Riddle, Erik Kormann, Trent VanVorst, Matt Smith, Rodney Cordrey, Adam White, Tommy Wilkins, David Jenkins, Nick Alberti, Sean Metz, Jeff Marker, William Adams, Greg Nailor, Sr., Dwayne Crockett
Modified Lite Feature Finish: JAMES HILL, Jerry Barker, Aaron VanVorst Curt Miles, Jr., Ray Gulliver, Curt Miles, Sr., Jake Nelson, Wesley Smack, DNS: Jacob King
S.R. Pete & Sons Super Late Model Feature Finish: AMANDA WHALEY, Ross Robinson, Ricky Elliott, Kevin Scott, Jr., Dylan Evans, Donald Lingo, Jr., Nick Davis, Danny Snyder, Bob Geiger, Kellie Lewis, Dale Hollidge, Austin Hubbard, David Dill, Kerry King, Geoff Carey, Rob Schirmer, DNS: Mark Pettyjohn
RUSH Crate Late Model Feature Finish: AMANDA WHALEY, Matt Hill, Matt Glanden, Brandon Sturgis, Billy Thompson, Trevor Collins, Derek Magee, Cody Dawson, Joe Warren, Sparky White, Zac Weller, Kerry King, Chuck Bowie, Wes Clifton, Charles Shawver, Daniel Hudson, Chace Biron, Joe, Pete, Mike Wharton
Little Lincoln Feature Finish: LANDY ADAMS, Kirk Lawson, Joe Tracey, Jordan Herbert, Matt White, Sean Smith, Wayne Seaton, Ryan Walsen, Bryan Piercy, Brian Brobst, Bunky White
Delaware Super Trucks Feature Finish: DAVID SMITH, Noah Vincent, Curt Miles, Jr., Dale Elliott, Jerry Hill, Dick Beauchamp, Brian Meisenholder, Curt Miles, Sr., Bobby Reed, Coco Sanchez, Thomas Jackson, Bill Dean