Perennial favorites Mills, Elliott among opening winners at Delaware International Speedway

DELMAR –“City of Delmar Night” kicked off the 2015 season on Saturday night at the Delaware International Speedway and by the end of the night, the seasoned veterans had prevailed.

Jamie Mills of Milford captured the 25-lap NAPA Big Block Modified feature and Seaford’s Ricky Elliott came out on top in the 20-lap S.R. Pete and Son Super Late Model main.

Other winners on the night included Matt Hill of Georgetown in the Crate Models; Scott Hitchens of Gumboro in the AC Delco PSC Modifieds; James Hill of Laurel in the Mod Lites and Scott Calhoun of Milford in the Vintage Stock Cars.

Feature lineups on opening night were heads-up from the qualifying heats putting heat winners, Jordan Watson and Beau Wilkins in the top two slots. Jamie Mills took advantage of his outside starting spot and rode the outside groove past Wilkins into second on the start. Mills immediately pressured Watson and continued his outside charge to take the lead on lap thee.

The only caution in the race took place on lap six when H.J. Bunting nearly tangled with Wilkins and spun at the end of the back straight. Watson made a bid to take the lead on the restart but “Uncle” Jamie was up for the challenge and held him off. Brad Trice, who started in ninth, was up to the third spot with Wilkins and Shawn Ward rounding out the top five at halfway.

Mills was able to increase his lead in traffic and by the checkered flag had a 3.7 second advantage over Watson who finished in second. Trice took the third spot with Wilkins fourth and Bunting returning from the rear after his spin to finish in fifth.

“I looked back over my notes over the winter,” said Mills “and was looking for a little retribution for losing the championship last year here tonight.”

In the S.R. Pete & Son Super Late Models, rookie Dylan Evans started on the pole after winner his heat first night out in the division. Ricky Elliott started inside row two after his second heat race win and “the Wild Child” Amanda Whaley started in third.

Elliott went wheel to wheel with Evans down the back straight and shot to the bottom to take the lead in three. Once out front he would never be headed. Donald Lingo, Jr. knew he could waste no time and charged into the second spot by lap two. Lingo was able to close to within a car length but could not get along side of Elliott. At the halfway sign the top five were Elliott, Lingo, Evans, Whaley and defending champion Andrew Mullins.

The first and only caution of the race came out on lap 11 when rookie Kelly Lewis spun in turn four just as she was about to be overtaken by the leaders. Lingo stayed close on the restart but Elliott was flawless in the remaining half to take the win. Lingo finished in second with rookie Evans putting on a great first night performance to finish in third. Fourth went to Whaley and Nick Davis came out on top of a back and forth battle with Mullins to finish in fifth.

“This new Lazer chassis performed great tonight,” said Elliott. “I’ve been with Rocket for a long time but Jim (Bernheisel) wanted me to come up this winter and take a look at his chassis and I liked what I saw”.

A solid field of 24 AC Delco Modifieds were on hand Saturday night. Heats were won by Scott Hitchens and Tyler Reed. In the 15-lap feature, Hitchens held the lead over Reed with rookie Devin Dodson running a close third. A big tangle in the third turn brought out the yellow on lap four and involved six cars. No one was injured.

Dodson took advantage of Reed who slipped high in the second turn to move into second just before halfway. The final yellow was out on lap 10 for a tangle between Robert Riley, III and Ryann Tarr.

Hitchens had a great restart and was able to open up some daylight over Dodson to take the win. Dodson ended a great first night in second with Joseph Tracy coming on strong in the closing laps to finish in third. Fourth went to Brandon Watkins and Jeremy Harrington rounded out the top five.

In the 15-lap Crate Model feature it was defending champion Matt Hill taking advantage of pole starting spot from winning his heat. Hill held the lead with Tyler Reed (who won the second heat) running tight on his back bumper in the early laps. Steven Baker held the third spot with Sparky White and Jamie Eichholz in the top five.

There were cautions for spins on laps six and seven but at the halfway sign the top five remained unchanged. The top five would change on unlucky lap 13 when Eichholz slowed to a stop while running in fourth. On the restart, Jason Rush got around and the yellow was out again.

Hill made no mistakes as he cruised to the win with Reed second and White third. Fourth went to Baker and Mike Wilson rounded out the top five.

Jimmy Wills and James Hill captured the two Mod Lite heats and started 1-2 in the 15 lap feature. Wills led the first four laps before Hill moved on top on lap five. Jason Musser started in fifth and was up to third by this point with Nick Sapp and Tim White fourth and fifth.

White’s night ended with just two laps to go when the right front suspension broke and he came to a stop and the end of the back straight. On the restart, Hill edged away from Wills on the final two circuits to take the win. Wills finished in second followed by Musser, Sapp and Nick Nash in the top five.

Scott Calhoun thought he had come out on top in a hard fought battle in the 12-lap Vintage feature. Calhoun held off Dwayne Heck for the first seven laps but got caught in traffic and Heck took the lead. Calhoun’s night nearly ended when he got over the rear of John Burton, Jr.’s coupe but both cars were able to continue. Chris Loveland got around avoiding the tangle and spun to bring out the yellow.

On the restart Calhoun regained the lead from Heck and withstood two more restarts to take the checkered but was light as the scale. Mark Williams got by Heck with one to go to finish get the win with Heck hanging on to finish in second. Fourth went to Freddie Brightbill and Snookie Vent, Jr. crossed the finish in fifth but was light at the scales. This moved Vic Thomas to fourth and Dave Schamp to fifth.

A total of 91 cars were in the pits for opening night.

RESULTS

NAPA Big Block Modified Finish: 1. Jamie Mills; 2. Jordan Watson; 3. Brad Trice; 4. Beau Wilkins; 5. HJ Bunting; 6. Shawn Ward; 7. Scott VanGorder; 8. Bobby Watkins; 9. Kyle Fuller; 10. Dale Hawkins; 11. Matt Hawkins; 12. Bryan Breasure; DNS: Michael White.

S.R. Pete & Son Late Model Finish: 1. Ricky Elliott; 2. Donald Lingo Jr; 3. Dylan Evans; 4. Amanda Whaley; 5. Nick Davis; 6. Andrew Mullins; 7. Herb Tunis; 8. Staci Warrington; 9. Kerry King Sr; 10. Joe Warren; 11. Brandon Dennis; 12. Kellie Lewis; 13. Bob Geiger.

AC Delco Modified Finish: 1. Scott Hitchens; 2. Devin Dodson; 3. Joseph Tracy; 4. Brandon Watkins; 5. Jeremy Harrington; 6. Tyler Reed; 7. Wes Smith; 8. Jordn Justice; 9. Carson Wright; 10. Kevin Sockriter; 11. Dylan Betts; 12. Brandon Gallo; 13. Garrie Bostwick; 14. Dwayne Crockett; 15. Ryan Tarr; 16. Robert Riley Jr; 17. Kenneth Peek; 18. Brad Roberts; 19. David Jenkins; 20. Brian Hitz; 21. Matt Smith; DNS: Brian Nailor; David Scarano; Nick Alberti.

Crate Model Finish: 1. Matt Hill; 2. Tyler Reed; 3. Sparky White; 4. Steven Baker; 5. Mike Wilson; 6. Alessa Young; 7. Charles Shawver; 8. Billy Thompson; 9. Jason Rush; 10. Mike Wharton; 11. Jamie Eichholz.

Mod Lite Finish: 1. James Hill; 2. Jimmy Wills; 3. Jason Musser; 4. Nick Sapp; 5. Nick Nash; 6. Jake Nelson; 7. Alan Passwaters; 8. Aaron VanVorst; 9. Kirk Miles Sr; 10. Harry Mears; 11. Tim White; 12. Ryan Dryden; 13. Curt Miles Jr; 14. James Wood; 15. Brian Short.

Vintage Finish: 1. Mark Williams; 2. Dwayne Heck; 3. Freddy Brightbill; 4. Vic Thomas (1st Sportsman); 5. Dave Schamp; 6. David Parsons; 7. Todd Miller; 8. Josh Smith; 9. John Burton; 10. Daylton Stohl; 11. C.J. Schirmer; 12. Chris Loveland; DQ: Scott Calhoun; DQ: Snookie Vent Jr.; DNS: Rob Schirmer.

Editor’s Note: Information in this article was provided by Charlie Brown and Delaware International Speedway.

The Sussex County Post delivers news from Georgetown and southern Delaware. Follow @SussexPost on Twitter.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.