By ALISON WATSON
DELMAR, DE – Max Blair captures night one of the inaugural RUSH Crate Late Model “Battle of the Bay” Speedweek event at Delaware International Speedway with the luck of newborn son.
“This is our first-time racing in Delaware and we brought a lot of family. This is the first race my son has been to, being born in January.”
The victory pocketed the Centerville, Pennsylvania native $2,000 and a strong start to contend for the $3,000 “Battle of the Bay” point fund over the next three events (Georgetown, Potomac, and Winchester).
Blair took the early lead from John Waters, who was awarded the pole starting position after winning the K&N Dash, with Amanda Whaley in hot pursuit.
By lap eight the leaders began lapping the field, with Super Late Model hot-shoe, Ross Robinson and Waters creatively splitting the lap cars to keep pace with Blair and Whaley.
A single-car caution directly in-front of the leaders on lap 13 allowed for the first restart of the event.
Blair felt the pressure with Ross Robinson charging to the bottom of Amanda Whaley and Austin Hubbard gaining significant momentum on the top, as the three went three-wide coming out of turn two for the second position.
Hubbard secured the second position, with Blair extending a comfortable lead.
With two laps remaining, the leaders hit heavy lap traffic, with Robinson closing in on the bumper of Hubbard.
Blair would remain unchallenged, taking his first checkered flag in the First State. Crate Late Model moonlighters, Austin Hubbard, Ross Robinson, and Amanda Whaley finished third through fourth, respectively. RUSH Crate Late Model regular and two-time 2018 winner, Logan Roberson completed the top five.
In Victory Graphics victory lane, the top- three all agreed, “This was a stacked field of crate cars,” said Blair.
Heats were won by John Waters, Amanda Whaley, Matt Hill, Max Blair, and Jason Genco. The K&N Dash was won by John Waters to determine the pole position. The two consolation events were won by Darren Alvey and Adam Ferri.
Interestingly, Canadian, Charlie Sandercock was the FK Rod Ends $100 Fast Qualifier, but failed to stage in time for the first heat race and was penalized to the rear of the heat.
A solid field of cars were on hand for the first night of the four-race series (47), spanning from five states and Canada.
Well-known, local race supporter, Elliott Farms, sponsored the RUSH Crate Late Model feature event, rotating through the top five throughout the duration of the event.
Feature event winners praised Charlie Cathell’s track preparation, for a smooth race surface that required minimal maintenance throughout the night.
The RUSH Crate Late Model “Battle of the Bay” Series continues Thursday, April 19th “across the dual” at nearby, Georgetown Speedway.
RUSH Crate Late Model Feature Finish: MAX BLAIR, Austin Hubbard, Ross Robinson, Amanda Whaley, Logan Roberson, John Waters, Jason Genco, Matt Hill, Sparky White, Darrell Bossard, Jeremy Wonderling, Brady Wonderling, Joe Warren, Scott Gunn, Jeff Pilkerton, Cody Dawson, J.J. Mazur, Jason Knowles, Charlie Sandercock, Matt Glanden, Adam Ferri, Brandon Sturgis, Charles Shawver, Bill Kessler, Darren Alvey, Trevor Collins
Did Not Qualify: Chuck Bowie, Matt Tarbox, Garret Paugh, Christian Schneider, Mike Franklin, Chace Biron, Joe Pete, Robert Smith, Joe Watson, Mike Wharton, Damian Bidwell, Beamer Guzzardi, Jakob Piper, Richard Harden, Zac Weller, Kelly Putz, Tyler Reed, Jimmy Johnson, Cory Lawler, Bruce Hordusk Jr., Billy Thompson
Rush Crate Late Model Non-Qualifier Finish: CHUCK BOWIE, Matt Tarbox, Garret Paugh, Christian Schneider, Mike Franklin, Chace Biron, Joe Pete, Robert Smith, Joe Watson