By CHARLIE BROWN, DELMAR, DE – H.J. Bunting’s night started off badly as his car developed engine problems during hot laps forcing him to start the heat with his backup small block powered Teo chassis car. With no laps of practice the car was a handful but qualified third in the heat. This would prove to turn his luck around in the Mar-Del Watermelon Association 30-lap Fall Championship Qualifier for the NAPA Big Block Modifieds Saturday night at the Delaware International Speedway.
The six car inversion draw from the heat races would put Bunting inside the second row for the start. Scott VanGorder took control at the green from the pole with Matt Jester racing into second. Point leader Jamie Mills had dropped out of his heat and started in the rear of the main but was cutting through the field like a hot knife through butter. By lap five he was up to fifth.
Jester got by VanGorder to take the lead on lap six as Bunting began to challenge for second. The run for Mills would end on lap 11 as problems struck again forcing him to the infield. Bunting got by VanGorder for second at the halfway sign but Jester had established a large lead. Beau Wilkins climbed into third on lap 16 with Howard O’Neal and Dana Walker rounding out the top five.
Jester appeared to be headed for back to back wins but slowed with a flat rear tire bringing out the yellow with six laps to go. Bunting inherited the lead and would hold off Wilkins to post his fifth win of the season.
“We had problems with our primary car again,” said Bunting. “We put a new motor in and it has been nothing but trouble. We were able to drag the backup car out and all the guys from different cars back in the pits and I would like to thank them.” Wilkins finished in second with O’Neal third. Fourth went to Walker and Brad Trice rounded out the top five. Heats were won by Wilkins and Trice. With the win Bunting moves back into the points lead for the division.
30-Lap NAPA Big Block Modified Finish: 1. HJ Bunting; 2. Beau Wilkins; 3. Howard O’Neal; 4. Dana Walker; 5. Brad Trice; 6. Scott VanGorder; 7. Kyle Fuller; 8. Shawn Ward; 9. Drew Simmons; 10. Matt Jester; 11. Dale Hawkins; 12. Jamie Mills; 13. Matt Hawkins; 14. Art Valdesere Jr; 15. Michael White.