Story By: CHARLIE BROWN / DELAWARE INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY – DELMAR, DE – The much awaited first event of the seven event Full Throttle racing Series took place Sunday night at the Delaware International Speedway. A hefty purse and mild Spring weather attracted a solid field of 32 Modifieds and 21 AC Delco 602 Sportsman for the “Messick Family 40” night.
Rick Laubach of Hellertown, Pa. came into the event as a fan favorite, and Laubach certainly didn’t disappoint his fans. Laubach would go on to demonstrate just how powerful his Kerr all-aluminum small block car was when he shattered the track record in hot laps with a lap of 17.850 on the new clay half mile surface.
Jordan Watson, Jimmy Horton, Craig VonDohren and Laubach would capture the four heats and Mike Gular picked up the win in the consolation. The top three from each heat drew for the ASI Sportswear Pole Position with Duane Howard pulling the No. 1 starting spot.
The caution was out before the first lap was complete when Ryan Godown, Matt Jester and Danny Johnson stacked it up in turn four. Howard would lead the first lap but Laubach came blasting from fourth to lead lap three. Jamie Mills was on the move from fifth and took second from Howard.
The yellow was out on lap eight when David VanHorn came to a stop. On the restart, Howard left early and was put to the rear. VonDohren was now riding in third and searching all over the track for a way around Mills. At the halfway sign it was Lauback out front with Mills getting back by VonDohren for second Jordan Watson who started in ninth was up to fourth and H.J. Bunting, who started in eight was riding the high side in fifth.
VonDohren finally won the battle for Mills for second one lap later and started to reel in the leader. With nine to go he was trying both the high and low side to find a way past Laubach. That challenge would go right up to the white flag when the right rear would let go on VonDohren’s car. He would limp around the final lap to finish a disappointing seventh.
Laubach had no problems on the final circuit, taking the checkered and heading to the Victory Graphics Victory lane. “I’ve been racing for 23 years,” smiled Laubach following the win. “This is the best car I have ever driven. I could tell the VonDohren was right there.” The win was worth $4000 plus lap money courtesy of Jeff Brown and Chesapeake Paving.
Mills ended a great drive in second with Watson third. Fourth went to the veteran Horton and Bunting ended a good run in fifth.
A good crowd was on hand and during intermission the Messick family was recognized for the major roll they have played in local racing for more than a half century. A section of the reserved grandstand was dedicated to the memory of Walt and Marie Messick who became involved in local racing when it first started on Delmarva. Taylor & Messick John Deere also gave away a D105 John Deere lawn tractor to a lucky fan and a commerical air compressor to a lucky driver. The feature event was in the books by 9:25 pm.
Dwayne Crockett of Laurel, Del. was in record breaking form on Sunday night in the AC Delco PSC 602 Sportman portion of the program. Crockett started off the night by lowering the track record in the division to a 20.005 around the new tacky surface.
Crockett started on the pole and would drive a flawless 20-laps. Jason Rush gave chase in the early stages before Tom Tannertook up the chase of Crockett on lap three. Matt Stangle followed in the third spot holding off defending point champ, Jordn Justice and former champion Scott Hitchens.
The race went caution free until five to go when Trent VanVorst came to a stop on the inside edge of the front straight. Tanner continued to apply the pressure on Crockett while Justice moved into third. The yellow would be out for a final time as Jeremy Harrington tangled with Stangle in the fourth turn with two laps to go.
Crockett had a perfect restart and held off a good challenge from Tanner to end up in the Victory Graphics Victory Lane and to collect $1000 for the win. Crockett received an additional $100 in lap money courtesy of L&J Sheet Metal of Laurel. Tanner made the three and a half hour tow from Ivyland, Pa. worth while as he finished in second and former track champion, Scott Hitchens made a late race charge to finish in third. Heat winners were Hitchens; David Jenkins & Justice.
When James Hill qualified on the pole in the 15-lap Mod Lite feature there was little doubt what the end result would be. Hill shot out to the early lead with Brandon Dennis trying to keep him within striking distance. Hill was able to pull away and post the Full Throttle Night win in his new James Hill Motorsports/Peterman Construction/Horn’s Machine mount. Dennis finished second with Jake Nelson third fourth went to Kirk Miles, Sr. and Harry Mears rounded out the top five. Heats were won by Hill and Nash.
A good field of Super Trucks were on hand for their 12-lap race. Brian Meisenholder looked strong holding off Jerry Hill who started in seventh through the first eight laps. With four laps to go Hill moved by Meisenholder to take the lead and drive to his first win.
The 12-lap Delmarva Charger feature got of to a rocky start when pole sitter Ben Knotts and Derek Swafford tangled before a lap was in. On the restart Jay Sipple set the pace with Ashley Merritt challenging from second. Scott Calhoun wasted no time making a charge from seventh to take second from Merritt by lap three. One lap later, Calhoun moved by Sipple for the lead. Jay Sipple would end his night two laps later going up in smoke on lap eight and bringing out the final yellow. Calhoun was able to pull away from Merritt in the final laps to take his first win at the track in the Delmarva Charger division. Barker came from last to finish in third with Bud Sipple fourth and “Pacman” fifth.
FULL THROTTLE SERIES BIG BLOCK RACE #1 “THE MESSICK FAMILY 40” FINISH:
1. Rick Laubach; 2. Jamie Mills; 3. Jordan Watson; 4. Jimmy Horton; 5. H.J. Bunting; 6. Ryan Godown; 7. Craig VonDohren; 8. Billy Pauch, Jr.; 9. Billy Pauch, Sr.; 10. Scott VanGorder; 11. Ryan Watt; 12. Matt Jester; 13. Duane Howard; 14. Danny Johnson; 15. Shawn Ward; 16. Brad Trice; 17. Kevin Sockriter; 18. Clay Tatman; 19. Mike Gular; 20. Dillion Steuer; 21. Howard O’Neal; 22. Bobby Watkins; 23. Dale Hawkins; 24. David Van Horn; DNS: Ron Roberts; DNQ: Jeff Brown; Brian Hitz; Brandon Watkins; Kevin Gardner; Mike White; Matt Hawkins; Carson Wright; Kevin Gardner.
20 LAP AC DELCO PSC 602 SPORTSMAN FINISH: 1. Dwayne Crockett; 2. Tom Tanner; 3. Scott Hitchens; 4. Jordn Justice; 5. Brett Ballard; 6. David Jenkins; 7. Adam White; 8. Matt Smith; 9. Trent VanVorst; 10. Ryan Riddle; 11. Jason Rush; 12. Nick Alberti; 13. Duane Rust; 14. Dwayne Heck; 15. Freddy Massey; 16. Joe Tracy; 17. Matt Stangle; 18. Jeremy Harrington; 19. Sean Metz; 20. Danny Johnson, Jr.; 21. Robert Riley, III.
15 LAP MOD LITE FINISH: 1. James Hill; 2. Brandon Dennis; 3. Jake Nelson; 4. Kirk Miles, Sr.; 5. Harry Mears; 6. Jason Musser; 7. James Wood; 8. Brian Short; 9. Nick Nash.
SUPER TRUCK FINISH: 1. Jerry Hill; 2. Brian Meisenholder; 3. Matt Esham; 4. David Smith; 5. Matthew Smith; 6. Mike Kennedy; 7. Bobby Reed; 8. Robert Smith; 9. Thomas “Action” Jackson; 10. Dick Beauchamp; 11. Billy Lockwood; 12. Dale Elliott; 13. Cory Sapp; 14. Noah Vincent; 15. Rocky Whitley; 16. Dylan Reed; 17. Kirk Miles.
DELMARVA CHARGER FINISH: 1. Scott Calhoun; 2. Ashley Merritt; 3. Jerry Barker; 4. Bud Sipple; 5. Robert “Pacman” Paczkowski; 6. Ben Knotts; 7. Randy Merritt; 8. Tanner Marvel; 9. Jay Sipple; 10. Earl Truitt; 11. Derek Swafford; 12. Tippy Martinez.