By Charlie Brown, Delmar, DE – It could not have turned out any better if it had been scripted. In the 30-lap Elk Mooneyham Memorial and Tribute to Hal Browning Late Model feature Saturday night at Delaware International, Kenny Pettyjohn collected his first win of the season and the 110th of his career there. Pettyjohn was driving Brian Donley late model that had been painted in a retro paint scheme to match the car that Hal Browning had driven for Mooneyham in 1985.
Pettyjohn would set the pace from the drop of the green with Dale Lingo applying the pressure from second. Andrew Mullins was fast running in the third spot just ahead of Mark Byram and defending race winner, Richard Jarvis, Jr.
Jarvis slowed to a stop on lap 11 and Ricky Elliott was now on the move in fifth. Elliott took fourth from Byram just past halfway and two laps later climbed to third. Elliott was smooth and not flashy as he moved under Lingo for second.
Pettyjohn had built a sizable lead but Elliott began to close in as they worked traffic. Staci Warrington was making gound taking the fifth spot. With five to go, Elliott had closed on Pettyjohn but made contact with a lapped car in the first turn and spun bringing out the final yellow.
Byram was now running in second but Pettyjohn was able to pull away in the final laps to take the win and the $1750 bonus. Byram ended a good run in second and collected a $1000 bonus for being the highest finishing regular running on the American Racer track tire. Warrington got by Lingo with three to go to finish in third with David Hill following into fourth and Dale Lingo fifth.
“To win a race tonight was a pretty big deal for me,” said Pettyjohn. “But Brian Donley has made this all possible for myself and Hal and he really he needs a lot of thanks from all the racers, fans and everyone and he really has done a lot for this sport. Mike Wharton and us winning tonight in 100 (number) cars could not have gone any better for Hal.” Heats were won by Kenny Pettyjohn and Dale Lingo.
Hal Browning was recognized with a plaque thanking him for his years of support of the speedway. He also received a checkered flag signed by all the racers in the pits and a beautiful cake. A tribute video of Hal’s career was played for the fans and following his interview Browning became the honorary pace car driver to the Late Model main.
30-Lap Elk Mooneyham Memorial Late Model Finish: 1. Kenny Pettyjohn; 2. Mark Byram; 3. Staci Warrington; 4. David Hilll 5. Dale Lingo; 6. Andrew Mullins; 7. David Pettyjohn; 8. Donald Lingo Jr; 9. Kerry King Jrl 10, Rob Schirmer; 11. Nick Davis; 12. Kerry King; 13. Ricky Elliott; 14. Stacy Roberts; 15. Richard Jarvis Jr; 16. Mark Pettyjohn; 17. Lou Johnson; 18. Bob Geiger.