2018 Delaware International Speedway Awards Banquetadmin
Written By: Alison Watson
A capacity crowd filled the Laurel Fire Department to celebrate the accomplishments of Delaware International Speedway’s 2018 champions on Saturday, January 5, 2019 for the annual awards banquet. Track owner, Charles Cathell and grandson, Chad Cathell officiated the event.
Jordan Watson and Ricky Elliott were the headliners, each earning their second championships in their respective divisions, Big Block Modifieds and Super Late Models. Greg Humlhanz scored his first AC Delco PSC Modifieds championship at Delaware International Speedway in the George Tubbs-owned machine. Matt Hill and James Hill continued their successes in the RUSH Crate Models and Modified Lites divisions.
The Hurlock Auto and Speed Big Block Modifieds crowned Jordan Watson for the second time as the track champion, his first championship coming in 2014. Watson’s points battle came down to the wire, with hard pressure from his younger brother, Joseph Watson. The brother’s combined, topped the point’s chart and the win column for the season.
Watson was reflective during his championship speech, most appreciative of his opportunity to race against veterans who he admired growing up and for the proud moment of him and his brother finishing first and second. A special thanks was given to fellow competitors and owners, Dale Hawkins and Jake Marine who collectively secured Watson his second championship by allowing their equipment to be utilized when Watson had blown an engine in late-summer.
Joseph Watson gave a hard-fought challenge, collecting four victories to finish second in the point’s standings. Consistency was key for Brad Trice, as he quietly maneuvered into the top three by the conclusion of the season. HJ Bunting earned a single victory and 845 points to finish fourth, with Howard O’Neal completing the top five. Scott VanGorder, Brandon Watkins, Jordn Justice, Matt Hawkins, and Robert Dutton completed the top ten. Justice was awarded the Big Block Modified Rookie of the Year.
Ricky Elliott celebrated his second S.R. Pete and Sons Super Late Model championship with a large family and fan-base present for the official announcement of his retirement. Elliott who has been a prominent figure in the northeast racing circuit, previously in the Big Block Modifieds and in most recent years in the Super Late Model division. Elliott, who was set to retire at the completion of last season was provided the opportunity with financial support to compete for another season in 2018. With the encouragement from his wife, Cheryl, Ricky and crew set the goal to earn one final championship. The crew accomplished their task, outrunning the strong competition of Donald Lingo, Jr. to win the title. Ricky Elliott will be sorely missed from Delaware competition in the 2019 season.
Donald Lingo appeared to have his operation back on track, collecting marquee event wins and being within striking distance to take the title from Elliott. Mechanical failure during the final point’s event forced Lingo to settle for the second position. Young powerhouses, Dylan Evans, Amanda Whaley, and Nick Davis respectively finished in the top five. Herb Tunis, Rob Schirmer, Mark Pettyjohn, Kevin Scott, Jr., and Bob Geiger rounded out the top ten. David Dill, Jr. earned the Rookie of the Year award.
Greg Humlhanz of Chalfont, Pennsylvania, piloted the George Tubb’s-owned AC Delco PSC Modified to his first championship at the Delaware 1/2 mile. Humlhanz, who had taken a hiatus from behind the wheel for many years to support his son’s racing career, never missed a beat. Humlhanz comfortably secured the championship title with six wins on the season. Ryan Riddle, who will be advancing to the Big Block Modifieds in the 2019 season, finished a solid second in the point’s standings. Adam White, David Jenkins, and Dwayne Crockett completed the top five. Jason Rush, Sean Metz, Danny Smack, John Stevenson, and Trent VanVorst were the top ten points finishers. Tommy Wilkins was awarded Rookie of the Year.
Matt Hill continued his successful RUSH Crate Model campaign throughout the Mid-Atlantic in 2018, obtaining four of his six wins at Delaware International. Hill piloted the Courtland Manor Nursing Home No. 84 to another championship over Billy Thompson’s career-best points finish of second. Sparky White, Joe Warren, and Brandon Sturgis were the top five. Chace Biron finished in the sixth position, also earning the Rookie of the Year honors. Joe Pete, Derek Magee, Charles Shawver, and Trevor Collins completed the top ten.
James Hill dominated the Modified Lites division, earning a total of nine wins during the season. Jerry Barker, Tim White, Aaron VanVorst, and Jake Nelson were the top-five contenders. The top ten was completed with Wesley Smack, Curt Miles, Sr., Curt Miles, Jr., Jason Musser, and Ray Gulliver.
In addition to celebrating the champions, many milestone employees were recognized during the event, including track official, Rex Lilley, who was honored for 40 years of service and track videographer, Gary Conaway, who was honored for 30 years of service. Charlie Cathell and family commemorated the completion of their 55th year operating the Delaware Motorsports Complex.
A full schedule is anticipated to be released in the coming weeks for the 2019 season at Delaware International Speedway. Racers and fans can expect traditional Saturday night racing events, a Short Track Super Series event, and the popular Camp Barnes Benefit Race.