By Charlie Brown, Delmar, DE – It was a difficult season at best for Milford, Del.’s Jamie Mills. Mills spent the majority of the season on the sidelines recuperating from back surgery in late winter and helping his nephew Joseph Watson who was subbing for Mills. When he returned in the final weeks he was on a mission. Driving the Will Brown modified, Mills quickly returned to his old form picking up a win. On Friday night in qualifying for the Delaware State Dirt Track Championships he put his Big Block Modified on the pole in winning his heat. Saturday night he headed the 30 car field for the entire distance to record his first ever Fall Championship win.
The first three laps of the 50-lap main were caution filled with Kevin Hirthler, Sam Wescott, Kyle Fuller, Dave Gerhart, Steve Downs, Dale Hawkins, Wade Hendrickson, and Robert Dutton all involved in altercations and Billy Pauch ending his reign of wins when he headed to the pits never to return with mechanical problems.
On the fourth restart, the field was put in single file with Mills setting sail and Matt Jester getting by Howard O’Neal for second. As Mills pulled away, H.J. Bunting climbed from eighth to fifth behind Brad Trice for fifth.
The order remained unchanged through the halfway sign. Bunting’s charge ended on lap 33 when he pulled to the infield moving Ryan Watt into the top five. Mills was working heavy traffic with Jester trying to find some bite on the high side. Mills made a nice save on lap 39 when he got out of shape trying to stay out of the back of a lapped car.
Four cautions in the last ten laps gave the challengers a shot. Trice got by Jester for second on the lap 46 restart but Jester returned the favor on a restart with two laps to go. It was obvious that Mills was nursing his worn out tires but so was everyone else in the chase. Mills was able to hold on for the final two laps to take the win. Jester finished out a great season in second with Trice third. Ryan Watt finished fourth with David VanHorn, Jr. crossing the line fifth but was light at the scale moving Dominick Buffalino to the fifth spot.
Mills received a great reception from the crowd in victory lane acknowledging his comeback. The veteran driver was obviously emotional about the win and thanked owner Will Brown for the opportunity to drive such a well prepared car. Mills did not participate in the gambler’s fees so he earned $4500 for his win and an additional $863 in lap money for a total of $5363.
Heats were won by Howard O’Neal, Mills, and Mike McAleer with Sam Wescott and Kyle Fuller winning the consolations.
Big Block Championship Finish: 1. Jamie Mills; 2. Matt Jester; 3. Brad Trice; 4. Ryan Watt; 5. Dominick Buffalino; 6. Richie Pratt Jr; 7. Mike McAleer; 8. Jimmy Chester; 9. Shawn Ward; 10. Eric Kormann; 11. Brett Ballard; 12. Steven Downs; 13. Howard ONeal; 14. Larry Solomon; 15. Sam Wescott; 16. Kyle Fuller; 17. Michael White; 18. HJ Bunting; 19. Beau Wilkins; 20. Scott Van Gorder; 21. Kevin Hirthler; 22. Ron Roberts; 23. Robert Dutton; 24. Wade Hendrickson; 25. Ray Swinehart; 26. Dale Hawkins; 27. Billy Pauch Sr; 28. Dave Gerhart; 29. Tim Trimble; DQ: David VanHorn Jr; Did Not Qualify: George Richardson; Stan Frankenfield; Chris Hitchens; Duane Rust; Pete Serra; Joseph Watson; Chad James; Billy Briggs; Neal Williams; Shawn Gunther; Jesse Hill; Scott Hulmes.