By Ryan Dyson
April 28th, 2017
The 2017 Spring Nationals at Delaware Speedway opened up on Friday, April 28th as the local cars and stars took to the speedway to officially kick-off the season after a long winter. With a stacked card both days, drivers were hungry to capture to first win of the season and start the campaign on the right note. All of the weekly divisions were on hand, including the Case N’ Drum Oil Late Models which ran double features, and the Fire & Iron Custom Metalwork Bone Stocks which ran a full event program including a feature. All the other divisions ran qualifying races to prepare for Saturday’s main events.
The evening kicked off with group qualifying for the Case N’ Drum Oil Late Models. The session saw Branden Verhoeven set quick time with a 19.899 over Shae Gemmell and Lloyd Rawlings. The qualifying session would set the starting lineup for the first feature race. Following the first round of heat races the Late Models took to the track for their first 25-lap feature of the evening. Brady Smith started pole after the dice roll with Jamie Cox starting second. Jamie Cox jumped to the early lead and would stay in front of Smith and Shae Gemmell. The first caution came out on lap 7 as Wayne Pilkey was turned off of turn 4. Pilkey was able to keep it out of trouble and return to the race. On the restart, Shae Gemmel was able to advance into the second position with Smith third and Lloyd Rawlings and Doug Stewart racing for 4th and 5th respectively. Jamie Cox would take the trip to victory lane with Gemmel second, Smith 3rd, Doerr 4th and Stewart 5th.
The second feature race for the Case N’ Drum Oil Late Models was the second last event on the evening and began with Mike Hryniuk on pole alongside Jay Doerr. Doerr jumped to the early lead until the caution came out on lap one as Verhoeven and Rawlings went around in turn 3 and 4. Hryniuk led lap two but could not clear for the lead. On lap five Doug Stewart began pressuring Doerr for the race lead but it was Jay Doerr maintaining the top position. The caution came out on lap 13 when Wayne Pilkey was turned in turn 4. On the ensuing restart Jamie Cox rook the race lead with Brady Smith following through for second as Doerr was shuffled back to third. Jamie Cox would double down on the night and sweep both feature races with Brady Smith finishing second, Jay Doerr third, Shae Gemmel fourth and Doug Stewart rounding out the top five.
The Fire & Iron Custom Metalwork Bone Stocks hit the track for their opening heat race. Tim Ingram started on pole for the race with Matt Langford to his high side. Shane Saker made a bold move early to get to the front of the field as the rest of the field chased behind. Chris Cambridge moved into the second spot by the halfway point, however he would fall short to Saker who would win the opening heat race. The second heat race for the series saw Shauna Beak start on pole beside Cole Howard. Beak would lead the opening lap but it was Steve Lovie tearing through to the lead on lap 2 after starting in the rear of the field. At the finish of the heat race it would be Steve Lovie up front, winning over Brekelmans and Moesker.
The 35-lap main event for the Fire & Iron Custom Metalwork Bone Stocks saw a full field of 30+ take the green flag and the event was just as exciting as always. Shane Saker started pole beside Steve Lovie. Lovie quickly moved to the race lead and checked out on the field while they battled 3 and 4 wide behind. The caution flag came out on lap 14 when Chris Cambridge went around in turn 1 after contact with Silver Geiger. On the restart Lovie slipped away again as Bill Brekelmans ran second ahead of Derek Moesker. The battle for second raged on by lap 23 as Moekser began pressuring from behind. The pass was made for second on lap 27 after Moesker advanced and distanced himself. The drivers in the series ran a smooth and clean race that saw just the one caution flag. In the end it would be Steve Lovie scoring the feature race win with Moesker second, Brekelmans third, David Rockwood fourth and Ben Davey rounding out the top five.
The Trucks took to the speedway for the first of two full-field heat races with Rob Windis starting up front alongside Rick Verberne. Verberne jumped out to an early lead while the field battled hard behind him. On lap 7 the caution flag came out for the first time as Rob Windis was sent around off the front bumper of Kevin Lay, who was penalized and sent to the rear. The caution flag came out once again on lap 8 as Connor Van Steensel spun off of turn 2. On the restart, Tom Zagorodny moved into second as he would finish there behind Rick Verberne. Heat race two saw Tom Zagorodny start pole with Mickey Brydges on the high side. Brydges took the lead on lap 3, however it was short lived as Verberne took the top spot just two laps later. Verberne would sweep the night, winning both heat races. Brydges finished second and Zagorodny third.
The TransAxle V8 Stocks lined up for their opening heat race of the season with Cody Payne starting up front beside Nathan Taback. Barry Watson moved into second early in the race and began pressuring Payne for the race lead as Taback raced behind. Watson took the top spot on lap 7 as Taback moved into second shortly after. Defending series champion Barry Watson took the win with taback on his rear bumper and Cody Payne would hold on for third. Heat race number two began with Manuel Ferreira on pole, alongside Kyle Mezenburg. Barry Watson led lap 4 and took sole possession of the spot on the back straightaway as Nathan Taback followed through. At the white flag Taback through it to the outside and stuck it, however he fell just inches short. Watson would hold on to sweep the evening’s heat races with Ferreira third.
The Super Stocks were the last cars to hit the track on the rotation and rolled off with Geoff Chant up front beside Ken McNicol. Due to the high car count the field was split in half for the series. Chant led the race early until a caution came out on lap 3 as Jason Lidster lost control off of turn 4 and was hit hard by Brittany Beatty, causing significant damage to both cars. Lidster was able to make repairs and continue while Beatty went off on the Whitworth tow hook. On the restart McNicol jumped to the lead as the field raced 3-wide behind. The yellow flag flew once again on lap 6 as Shawn Hewitt spun in turn 1 while racing in the top 5. McNicol would win the opening heat race over Paul Fothergill and Kris Lawrence. Super Stock heat race two, the race for the drivers faster in final practice, began with Trevor Collver on pole position beside Jake Sheridan. Sheridan used the outside to take the race lead on the opening lap, and he immediately stretched his legs on the field. By halfway Darrell Lake had moved to second and Kenny McNicol Jr. had moved into third. Sheridan would win the race as Lake and McNicol Jr. fight hard off of turn four for the runner up position. Lake would ultimately beat McNicol for second as Matt Robblee finished fourth.
The next event at Delaware Speedway is tomorrow afternoon and will feature feature races for the Super Stocks, Trucks, TransAxle V8 Stocks, and Fire & Iron Custom Metalwork Bone Stocks. The Open Wheel Modifieds will join the lineup running a full event program including qualifying, heat races and a feature. Tomorrow’s event gets started at 3:00pm and advance tickets can be purchased on http://www.delawarespeedway.com