By Charlie Brown, Delmar, DE (5/19/12) – H.J. Bunting has hit his stride early in the 2012 season. In Saturday night’s 25-lap NAPA Big Block Modified feature Bunting wasted no time getting to the front and avoided a near tangle with lapped traffic on the final lap to post his third win of the year.
Robert Dutton led the first two laps of the Big Block main before Bunting charged to the front. Beau Wilkins was running in the third spot with Matt Jester jumping from seventh to fourth by lap two and Matt Hawkins running in fifth.
Jester worked his way by Wilkins and went to work on Dutton for second. He was able to secure the spot on lap 11 as Jamie Mills, who started in eighth, followed into third. At the halfway sign the top five were Bunting, Jester, Mills, Wilkins and Dutton.
The race would be all green from lap ten on and Bunting was able to maintain a comfortable advantage. Jester and Mills locked into a good wheel to wheel battle for the second spot. Mills edged Jester at the line for second on lap 21 but Jester regained the spot one lap later.
The lead pack got into lapped traffic with three to go. On the final lap the trio was bumper to bumper. Down the back straight Bunting started to go on the outside on a lapped car but the car drifted to the outside nearly pinning Bunting to the wall. He was able to recover however and held off Jester by a car length to take the win. Mills finished in third with Wilkins fourth and Howard O’Neal coming on strong in the closing stages to finish in fifth.
“I thought he was going to stay down and he didn’t”, commented Bunting referring to the lapped car. “We got lucky there with the starting spot because we – not we – I ran off the top there in the heat.” Heats were won by Mills and Jester.
NAPA Big Block Modified Finish: 1. H.J. Bunting; 2. Matt Jester; 3. Jamie Mills; 4. Beau Wilkins; 5. Howard O’Neal; 6. Robert Dutton; 7. Dale Hawkins; 8. Dana Walker; 9. Michael White; 10. Matt Hawkins; 11. Tim Trimble; 12. Shawn Ward; 13. Scott VanGorder; 14. Brad Trice; 15. Kyle Fuller; 16. Donny Radd.