By CHARLIE BROWN
LAUREL, DE – A sold out crowd of over 400 packed the Laurel Fire Hall on Saturday night to celebrate the champions in the five weekly divisions from the 2016 season at the Delaware International Speedway. $45,000 in cash plus contingencies were distributed to the top ten drivers in the five weekly divisions.
H.J. Bunting of Milford, Del. successfully defended his 2015 NAPA Big Block Modifed Championship in 2016 for his seventh overall crown in the division tying Bobby Wilkins for all-time championships. The division saw 11 different drivers score wins and Bunting’s four wins and consistent finishes in the Jake Marine owed No. 85 was enough to earn him the crown. Bunting earned 1820 points and $5500 for winning the title over up and coming talent, Matt Hawkins of Hartley, De. Hawkins had two wins and earned 1705 points. Third went to Laurel, Del.’s Scott VanGorder who scored a win and totaled 1469 points.
Rounding out the top ten with their point totals were: 4. Dave Dissinger, 1418; 5. Howard, O’Neal, 1318; 6. Rookie of the Year Brandon Watkins, 1188; 7. Michael White, 1050; 8. Dale Hawkins, 1039; 9. Carson Wright, 986 and 10. Robert Dutton, 961. award. Trophies were presented by NAPA Auto Parts of Delmarva.
In the S.R Pete & Sons Super Late Models, Donald Lingo, Jr. of Millsboro, Del. increased his championship total to seven by successfully defending last year’s crown. Lingo, Jr. drove his Lingo Marine Ford prepared by his father to four wins and battled right down to the final week to earn 1813 points and $5500. Nick Davis of Gumboro, Del. chased Lingo, Jr. to the wire for the second year in a row earning one win and 1658 points for second. Third went to former champion, Ricky Elliott who won three mains plus the modified/late model shootout and earned 1460 points.
Fourth through tenth were: 4. Dylan Evans, 1355; 5. Joe Warren, 1298, 6. Herb Tunis, 1034; 7. Kerry King, Sr. 889; 8. Amanda Whaley, 888; 9. Kellie Lewis, 760 and 10. Mark Pettyjohn, 588. Trophies were presented by S.R. Pete & Sons HVAC.
Earning his first championship in the AC Delco PSC Modifieds was Jordn Justice of Laurel, Del. Justice posted his first win of the season in week two and never looked back earning 4 more wins and 1905 points to clench the title. Dwayne Crockett of Laurel had his best year to date which included winning the Fall Championship for a total o 1690 points. Third would go to defending champion, Devin Dodson of Bishopville, Md. who’s total was 1213 points with two season wins. Justice’s championship was worth $1500.
Finishing fourth through tenth were: 4. Rookie of the Year Adam White, 1053; 5. Jason Rush, 984; 6. David Jenkins, 980; 7. Ryan Riddle, 961; 8. Brian Hitz, 905; 9. Matt Smith, 900 and 10. Ryan Mortimer, 862. Trophies were presented by Ronnie Holloway, Jr. of R.C. Holloway, Co.
Another driver earning his first championship title was Sparky White of Delmar, Del. Sparky became the third generation in his family to win a title at the track posting just two wins but earning a total of 1689 points to win $1500 and the Crate Model title. Former champion, Tyler Reed of Milton, Del. put together another great season posting one win and finishing just 40 points back with 1649. Robbie Walls, Jr. of Georgetown third place finish was his best to date with one win and 1579 points.
Fourth through tenth in the Crate Models were: 4. Charles Shawver, 1550; 5. Mike Wilson, 1499; 6. Zac Weller, 1247; 7. Rookie of the Year Wes Clifton, 1175; 8. Mike Wharton, 1034; 9. Billy Thompson, 1000 and 10. Derek Magee, 898. Trophies were presented by Fred Elliott of Gordon Food Services.
2016 was the break through season in a big way for James Hill of Laurel, Del. in the Mod Lites. Hill had come close to winning the title on several occasions but he was not to be denied this season. Right from the drop of the green Hill strung together seven consecutive wins. He posted 13 wins overall including the Fall Championship earning him 2086 points and $1100. Last year’s champion, Tim White of Salisbury, Md. was the closest to Hill at the end earning a win and 1743 points for second. Returning to action in 2016 was former four time champion, Brandon Dennis who’s two wins and 1599 points netted him third overall.
Finishing fourth through tenth were: 4. Ryan Dryden, 1541; 5. Aaron VanVorst, 1525; 6. James Wood, 1269. 7.Jake Nelson, 1250; 8. Nick Nash, 1122; 9. Curt Miles, Jr., 1096 and 10. Kirk Miles, 1076. Trophies were presented by Pepsi Bottling Ventures.
Mod Lite driver, Aaron VanVorst was the recipient of the “2016 Kyle Dixon Youth Achievement Award.” Jean Powell received a plaque for 20 years of service and Hiram Littleton received a plaque for 10 years of service.
All champions received championship jackets from Lias Tire & American Racer plus Hoosier Tire provided jackets to Donald Lingo, Jr. and James Hill. Other contingencies included custom designed trophies from the Metal Shop and bracelets for a loved one. Big Block driver, Dave Dissinger won a John Deere pressure washer courtesy of Taylor & Messick John Deere of Harrington. All champions received “gold cards” good for free admission in 2017. Bunting, Justice and White received reserved pit parking spots while Lingo, Jr. got a second season pit pass and Hill received a night at the races for his family and friends.
Special thanks and plaques went to the 2016 Delaware International Speedway Money Trail sponsors including: AC Delco and RC Holloway, Co.; American Racer and Lias Tire Racing Division; Delmarva Drivers Club; Delmarva NAPA Auto Parts; Elliott Farms; GFS Marketplace; Hoosier Tire Mid Atlantic; Insinger Performance, Inc. K&B Auto; The Metal Shop; Pepsi Bottling Co. of Salisbury, Md.; Midlantic Machinery of Laurel; Pro Race Cars; S.R. Pete & Sons HVAC; Taylor & Messick John Deere and L&J Sheetmetal and Industrial Maintence of Laurel.
The 2017 schedule is near completion and will be available on the web at www.delawareracing.com in the near future.